The loss of a loved one is a sensitive and painful occasion. It’s difficult enough when you lose someone to natural causes. Even then, you need to be ready to say goodbyes and make final preparations. However, the pain and sorrow can be much deeper when the death is untimely, without warning and the result of negligence or wrongdoing. When another person unnecessarily endangered your loved one through carelessness or recklessness, it can be much harder to cope with. In such a case, it is important for you to know how to protect your rights, seek justice, and create financial security for your family.
The law on wrongful death can be an extremely technical, complex mine field where any missteps can lead to expensive and unwanted complications. This is where a qualified wrongful death lawyer can assist.
When You Might Need a Wrongful Death Attorney
You should hire a wrongful death lawyer when you need to prove that negligence or misconduct was the cause of the death of a family member, especially if you were a dependent or beneficiary of that person. Certainly, no amount of money can rectify the loss of a loved one, but it can give you the financial stability to deal with a difficult situation. Here are a few examples of common wrongful death cases:
- Medical Malpractice – Death as a result of negligence in the emergency room, surgical errors, misdiagnosis or a hasty discharge can mean you have a wrongful death claim. You may also have a claim if a patient is administered an overdose of anesthesia.
- Faulty Products – If a product, such as an automobile, malfunctions in a way that leads to the death of the user or people nearby, the company or manufacturer may be liable.
- Commercial Vehicle Accidents – Trucking companies, couriers and corporations with commercial vehicles on the roads may be liable if a driver’s negligence or break of regulation results in a fatal accident.
If you think you might have a case that is similar to these examples, an attorney might be able to help you explore your options.
What We Do
A wrongful death claim requires careful investigation and attention to detail. The process is similar to one that would take place in other kinds of personal injury claims. However, the law in this area is complicated and can vary between states. Here are some reasons why you might need help from a wrongful death attorney:
- Insurance companies can be extremely difficult to deal with. The insurance company may cover some of the bills associated with an unexpected death but they may not cover everything. When you consider hospital bills, funeral arrangements and any other costs, you may be left with a large co-pay or even the full bill. A wrongful death attorney can help you sort out these complicated insurance policies.
- A wrongful death attorney can help you determine if you have a case and where your efforts should be focused. When you know where to obtain compensation from those liable for a wrongful death, you can start to build a case. However, a qualified wrongful death attorney knows where to find the liable party and how you can obtain the funds required to be financially secure in difficult times.
- Wrongful death attorneys are able to build a solid case by researching what occurred through an initial investigation which includes collecting evidence such as witness statements, obtaining police reports and obtaining photos or videos of the accident. They can also speak with relevant specialists, such as medical experts or accident reconstruction specialists.
- Most importantly, a wrongful death lawyer can conduct in-depth legal research of laws, codes and regulations to determine who is liable in your case.
What You Should do if You Believe You Have a Case
If you strongly believe that someone is responsible for the death of a loved one and you’ve decide to pursue a wrongful death claim, contact Steinberg Law’s offices in Palm Beach Gardens or Delray Beach for a free consultation. Though the wake of a tragedy is a difficult time, it is important that you act quickly so you can begin building a case.
Wrongful Death FAQs
What if my deceased family member is partial to blame for the accident?
In a lawsuit, the defense can utilize a premise known as comparative negligence to reduce their liability. In most cases, if the deceased played a part in the accident, the at-fault’s liability is reduced by a percentage equal to their fault. However, a qualified wrongful death attorney will work to reduce the negligence percentage of the deceased.
How can you choose an attorney?
Find and read client testimonials. If there are satisfied clients, you will certainly want to work with them. Schedule a free consultation and ask any questions you may have about your potential case.
Who determines how a wrongful death settlement or verdict is distributed?
This is the role of the probate judge. This simplifies the work of the family’s personal representative and avoids corruption cases.
Can you sue for pain and suffering?
Yes. If you have a wrongful death case, you may also be able to sue for pain and suffering.
Do I have to be a dependent of the decedent? Can I sue for the death of a child or an elderly person?
You can sue for the deaths of children and elderly even if you aren’t financially dependent on them. Unfortunately, damages awarded for these types of cases are typically lower.
What if a person dies before bringing their personal injury claim?
If the person dies because of injuries sustained in an accident related to their personal injury case, their family may be able to bring a wrongful death case. However, if the person dies from unrelated causes, the personal injury claim can still be brought by a personal representative pursuant to a survivorship claim.