Wrongful death cases are complex, and grieving family members should not handle them alone. A qualified injury attorney can focus on the case details while helping families obtain justice.
A good lawyer can help families prove financial damages, such as lost income and medical bills. They can also help the survivors find credible witnesses and gather evidence like pay stubs and receipts.
Statute of Limitations
The legal system has strict time limits for filing lawsuits, called statutes of limitations. Please file within these periods to avoid losing the right to pursue your claim.
A wrongful death attorney such as the Fuicelli & Lee wrongful death lawyers can help you determine your case’s applicable statute of limitations. This statute will vary by state and may be different for cases involving government entities.
In addition, a knowledgeable attorney can explain exceptions to the normal statute of limitations. For example, suppose the liable party fraudulently conceals or misrepresents facts, or you were unaware of the cause of your loved one’s death until after the deadline. In that case, you might be eligible to extend the statute of limitations.
Other exceptions include if the sole beneficiary is a minor, which allows the statute of limitations to be tolled until they reach age 18. The attorney will help you understand specific statutes that apply to your case.
Wrongful death settlements are intended to compensate surviving family members for losing their loved ones. An award may cover a victim’s lost health insurance coverage, retirement savings and pension plans, expected earnings over their lifetime, funeral expenses, and more. A wrongful death attorney can use pay stubs, receipts, and expert testimony to help you prove your economic losses.
Non-economic damages include pain and suffering a victim suffered before their death. They might also include pre-impact terror, the fear a victim likely felt before a fatal accident.
Wrongful death lawsuits can be filed by certain survivors of a deceased person or the personal representative of their estate. The personal representative is typically appointed in a person’s will or through court proceedings. The personal representative does not benefit from the money awarded for wrongful death damages but holds it in trust on behalf of other family members and beneficiaries. Punitive damages may be awarded in especially egregious negligence and gross recklessness cases.
In most wrongful death lawsuits, the plaintiff must prove that the negligence (the breach of duty of care) caused the damage that ultimately led to the victim’s death. For example, if someone died in a car accident because the physician failed to treat an obvious condition, that would be considered medical malpractice.
The relatives of the dead victim must also demonstrate that they experienced monetary damages as a result of the death, such as burial costs, lost income, and pain and suffering. Punitive damages may be granted in specific circumstances to punish the offender and deter future offenders from disregarding safety regulations or endangering others.
It is also important for survivors to gather all the necessary evidence, including documents such as pay stubs and tax returns, photos or videos of the incident, and other information. Survivors should talk to an experienced attorney about preserving this evidence. Unlike normal settlements, wrongful death payments are generally not taxable.
Choosing a Lawyer
Despite their complexity, wrongful death lawsuits may provide families with much-needed financial comfort. While money cannot replace the loss of a loved one, it can assist in covering funeral and hospital expenses as well as offer some mental comfort.
You can better grasp your legal choices and negotiate the challenges of claiming with the assistance of an attorney skilled in wrongful death cases. They can examine your case to identify potential defendants and inform you of any statute of limitations exceptions.
They can also help you gather the necessary documents and evidence, including witness testimony and medical records. They can also assist you in determining the types of damages you might be entitled to, such as loss of income, pain and suffering, and funeral expenses.