We all know that loss is part of the human condition, but losing a loved one is always sorrowful and tragic. When you lose a loved one due to the fault or negligence of another, the sting can hurt even worse because you know the loss could have been avoided. “If only.”
In situations where someone dies unexpectedly due to the carelessness of another, a wrongful death settlement may be permitted. Most people never wish to need the information for how to file a wrongful death lawsuit. And when mourning a loss, it can be challenging to focus on the necessary steps for wrongful death action.
Therefore, we at Strickland and Kendall have put together a quick guide for you to help determine if you have a wrongful death case and give you the next steps of how you should proceed.
What is a wrongful death case?
A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action brought on behalf of a deceased person. In most cases, if this person had just cause to file a personal injury lawsuit, had they lived, then a wrongful death case applies.
Common law defines wrongful death as an action “by wrongful act, neglect or default.” This means the defendant failed to uphold their duties of care and caused your loved one’s death.
For instance, drivers are expected to drive safely to avoid car accidents, and doctors must prescribe the correct medications. Criminal cases where the killer had malicious intent do not count as wrongful death claims.
An experienced attorney can help collect evidence and witness testimony to prove you and other family members deserve compensation. When one person dies, everyone suffers.
Who can file a wrongful death claim?
Laws involving who can file a wrongful death claim vary by state. While Alabama and Georgia have a 2-year timeline for the statute of limitations, they allow different parties to proceed in court.
You must be an executor, for example, to begin a wrongful death claim in Alabama and have the right to the victim’s finances after their death.
But even if a state gives a family member the right to file, they may not receive compensation. Instate succession laws often dictate who gets paid and who deserves money from your loved one’s death.
What damages do judges award in a wrongful death?
Damages is the word for the amount of money that is awarded from a lawsuit. In a wrongful death lawsuit, several different types of damages may be granted. All of these types involve money spent or lost due to the incident that caused the death.
Common wrongful death damages include funeral expenses, medical and hospital bills, lost wages. However, a judge can also award compensation for the surviving members’ pain and suffering.
They can receive money for the loss of consortium, or the death of a significant relationship between one or more people. These include marriages or children losing their fathers and mothers to an unexpected accident.
In extreme cases of intentional harm or recklessness, punitive damages may also be awarded to punish the wrongdoer. These sometimes apply in cases involving criminal activity or medical malpractice suits where doctors intentionally withheld care.
Punitive damages are usually intended to deter the same type of behavior in the future.
Finding a Wrongful Death Lawyer
If you have lost a close family member due to someone else’s carelessness, we are terribly sorry for your loss, Our team is committed to helping you recover damages the defendant owes you and your family. You shouldn’t have to tank financially because someone else wasn’t paying attention.
Navigating a wrongful death lawsuit and learning how they work can be extremely challenging while dealing with a loss. We believe you should not have to do it on your own.
Our wrongful death lawyers do all the demanding and tedious work so you can focus on healing and recovering. Then, we can fight on your behalf in the probate court with a team of results-driven attorneys.
We are available to assess all the facts of the case, track down the necessary information and persons, file all paperwork and notifications, and formulate the number of damages you are owed. To begin your wrongful death case, the first step is to contact us within the statute of limitations so that we can start a conversation.
Gathering evidence as close to death as possible is crucial for building a strong argument in your favor. Give us a call at (334).269.3230 and start a free consultation with our wrongful death lawyers.