Personal Injury Lawyer
A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit filed against a person or entity who wrongfully caused someone’s death. The goal is to seek compensation for the survivor’s loss of a family member. Wrongful death suits can be complicated and require a lot of proof that the survivor is entitled to compensation. Read on below to learn about the actions taken in filing a wrongful death suit.
Action 1: Determine if a Wrongful Death has Occurred
The first challenge is to establish that the death was wrongful. “Wrongful” in this context usually means recklessly, or negligently, but it can also include intentional criminal acts such as murder. Some of the most common wrongful death causes are:
- Automobile and Motorcycle Accidents
- Medical Malpractice
- Faulty Manufacturing
- Criminal Acts
- Elder Abuse
Action 2: Determine Eligibility to File a Lawsuit
Next, it must be determined if the person filing the lawsuit is eligible to do so. The deceased cannot bring forth the lawsuit themselves, so it is often filed on their behalf by their estate, or by immediate family members who have been directly impacted by the wrongful death. Who qualifies to bring a wrongful death suit varies in each state, but in general, wrongful death claims can be brought by:
- Immediate Family Members, including children and parents
- Distant Family Members (if there are not immediate family members), including grandparents, siblings, aunts/uncles.
- The Surviving Spouse
- Personal Representative of the deceased’s Estate
Action 3: Hire an Attorney
As daunting as it might seem, hiring an experienced attorney is an important action to take. There are a lot of details that go into filing a wrongful death claim, including deadlines, fees, and negotiations. A good attorney should, at a minimum:
- Investigate the accident themselves
- Prove liability
- Negotiate a settlement
- File your claim
- Maintain a calendar of important dates and deadlines
- Litigate your claim
- Instill confidence
- Provide you with the comfort of knowing a professional is helping you
You could file the claim on your own but are more likely to have success if you hire an experienced attorney to represent you.
A wrongful death claims can be difficult on those who just lost a loved one. It can also be extremely complicated and confusing. Sometimes it may even necessitate opening a probate case, which is a whole other area of law. Also, keep in mind that many states place statutes of limitation on wrongful death lawsuits, which means you may only have a certain window of time to file. When looking for an attorney to represent you in a wrongful death claim, look for an experienced wrongful death lawyer Phoenix, AZ offers who has your rights and well-being in mind.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at the law offices of Kamper Estrada, LLP for their insight into personal injuries and wrongful death claims.