Accidents and other unintentional injuries are some of the highest leading causes of death throughout the US. Some of these unintentional injuries were the direct result of either an organization’s or individual’s negligence. Causes for these deaths included everything from workplace accidents to medical malpractice.
Have you recently lost a family member in a similar situation? If this is the case, you can petition the justice system to help you recover damages. Read this helpful guide on filing a wrongful death lawsuit to start this process.
What’s a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Wrongful death lawsuits identify a defendant responsible for causing someone’s death through either reckless conditions or negligence. A deceased person’s heirs or estate becomes the accuser (plaintiff) in the case who can file a legal claim.
How to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
There are many factors that make filing wrongful death lawsuits an overwhelming experience. Master the necessary steps here so that you and your family can concentrate on the long journey of grieving your loss.
Organize Your Evidence
Keep your copies of all doctor’s bills or medical receipts for equipment. Record your family member’s medical details so that you can preserve the events that took place.
Call a Wrongful Death Attorney
A wrongful death attorney can help guide your suit through the legal system and help you fully recover any damages.
When you look for these professionals, find an attorney with litigation experience. If you can’t negotiate an alternative outcome with the defendant, your suit will move forward to trial. Learn more about claiming damages here and how to find the right legal professional that can represent your interests.
Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations identifies the federal time limit you have to file a lawsuit after your family member’s death. Although each state has its own deadlines, legal claims must generally be filed before two years of the victim’s death.
If you are filing suit against a government agency, you submit an “administrative claim” within six months after the victim’s date of death. A government agency will respond within one month.
Law Suit for Damages
If the defendant disagrees with your claim, then you are allowed to file a wrongful death suit against them. When you file suit, the party at-fault must respond. If the party at-fault disagrees with you, your case moves toward the trial process.
Negotiating Wrongful Death Settlements
Many court systems require that both parties must attend a settlement session to help reach a settlement. If both parties agree to negotiate the matter, the lawsuit can be dropped. Attorneys for both sides then create settlement documentation to outline final expectations for both parties.
Wrongful Death Trial
If you and the at-fault party can’t reach a settlement, then your lawsuit goes forward to trial. A hearing is scheduled before a jury or judge to reach a final verdict on whether the plaintiff can receive damages and how much. Both parties in the case can appeal any final decision or award amount they disagree with.
If you’re ready to build your wrongful death lawsuit, start organizing your own evidence that outlines the events preceding your family member’s death. Contact a wrongful death law firm and request time to interview their legal team. Don’t forget to ask about their litigation experience with you.
Check our website for even more insights on wrongful death cases. We can help grow your knowledge of this difficult process.