Dealing with the death of a loved one is painful and overwhelming. In addition to handling the grief associated with the loss of a loved one, if this family member was a breadwinner, there could be additional anxiety as to the uncertainty of the future. It’s imperative, even in this difficult time, to protect your financial interests.
WHAT IS WRONGFUL DEATH: Wrongful death is a civil action that can be described as a claim against a person or a company who can be held liable for a death. A claim for wrongful death may be applicable in deaths caused by auto accidents, medical malpractice or intentional acts.
A wrongful death suit is typically brought by close family members. Each state has a statute of limitations, or time limit, a person has to file a wrongful death claim. The length of time to act on the case typically is between 6 months and three years, although in certain circumstances it could be shorter or longer and it is important not to delay at all in pursuing the matter with an attorney.
If you have suffered the loss of a family member that could be attributable to the misconduct or negligence of others, the following are the first steps involved in filing a wrongful death claim.
- Wrongful Death Possibility. If you believe you that your loss of a loved one is due to wrongful death than contact an attorney immediately. Even if you are a friend that may not have a legal standing, you can assist in locating family members who do, so seeking legal guidance is crucial.
- Gather Documents. When a wrongful death occurs, family members may be able to seek damages for medical and funeral costs, pain and suffering, loss of financial support, future earning potential, companionship and parental guidance. It’s important to determine if something was done incorrectly and gathering this information including incident reports, photos of the incident, videos of the incident, coroners reports and any other information that might indicate wrongdoing. Claims for damages will need to be supported by documents. Important documents to gather include the following:
- Office of the Medical Investigator Report
- Birth Certificate
- Death Certificate
- Incident Reports
- Pay Stubs/Tax Records
- Seek the counsel of a Wrongful Death Attorney. The other party may dispute liability and the amount of damages sought, so it’s important to seek the assistance of an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible to fight for your maximum financial benefit.
- Don’t settle with insurance companies. Insurance companies are businesses and likely want to settle the claim for the lowest cost to them. It’s advisable not to settle with the insurance company until you have a trusted legal professional working for you.
It’s advisable to follow the above steps in the unfortunate case of the unforeseen loss of a loved one possibly due to the negligence of misconduct of others. In addition, you should always, without question, seek the counsel of an attorney to protect your rights in these situations.
If you have lost a loved one and would like to speak to an attorney experienced in wrongful death cases, contact Hinman and Peck, P.C. for a FREE consultation to see if we can help.
We take most cases on a contingency fee basis, which means we only get paid when you win.
Contact Hinman and Peck, P.C. at (877) 462-9732 for a FREE consultation.