Deaths are never a positive event to deal with. Leaving the world at an all too soon moment in time is something that tugs on everyone’s hearts and weighs down everyone involved. What makes it even worse is when the death was caused by someone else who refuses to take responsibility for their actions. Sadly, this is the reality for many people who lose a family member. With things such as car crashes or on-site accidents during a job, wrongful deaths are absolutely awful. It can feel like the other parties just do not see themselves at fault, instead just attempting to cover their own backs. With the frequency that the above example occurs, here are some tips for where to start when attempting to pursue a wrongful death claim.
Identify Where You Stand
Although this seems extremely rude and insensitive during a time of horror, one must figure out the connection to the victim before pursuing a wrongful death claim. Different states have different criteria, but all states generally follow the same required line of connection to the deceased – the filing party must be defined as a “real party in interest.” This generally means that the party must have a direct connection to the decedent. In general, this connection is seen with immediate family members, life partners, and distant family members. This rule does get lax in some states, even going as far as to allow anyone that has suffered financially due to the death to be able to file a claim, although this is not the majority rule. To be on the safe side, always check with your state laws to make sure you are within your rights to sue for a wrongful death.
Identify the Party at Fault
Identifying the party at fault follows the same general rules as a majority of other civil cases. Finding negligence may be possible grounds for a lawsuit against said person. For instance, if one were to be involved in a drunk driving incident and killed someone, the possible people who could be sued include the drunk driver, the designer or builder of the roadway, and sometimes the people who served the alcohol. Although they may all be at fault to some degree, not all parties may be held liable in the particular case at hand. Speaking with a local attorney with expertise in this area can help you grasp a better understanding of which party to pursue in a claim.
Preparing for Battle
Once both of the above requirements have been met, it’s time to start compiling your information. This includes all the evidence that has been gathered, as well as finding the proper attorney to represent your party in court. When gathering information and collecting it, make sure to keep time logs of all the evidence, including statements and hard, physical evidence that may be useful in the case. Second, find the proper attorney to represent your party. This means not finding just anyone, but instead finding a lawyer who is directly specialized in your state’s wrongful death laws. Each state is a bit different and may have variations from the laws of a neighboring state. As such, ensure that you find the proper guidance to solidify your case. Our attorneys are able to assist you at this step and every step to follow.
What Can I Sue for?
When suing another party in a wrongful death action, you cannot just sue for any and all amounts. Generally speaking, a wrongful death claim can ask for compensation equal to the survivor’s losses. This can include such things as lost wages and payment for medical and funeral expenses. However, what you can sue for will also vary among states. When deciding what to ask for in your case, make sure the reasons are sound and valid and that you have consulted a local attorney for guidance. Our firm is experienced in this field of law and can assist you in your time of need.