I Lost a Spouse Due to Negligence. Can I Sue for Wrongful Death?

Rohan Mathew

Updated on:

Did your spouse suffer a wrongful death? Are you uncertain about the future?

If your spouse perished due to someone else’s negligence, you have a right to compensation.

Under the law, everyone (including entities) must care for the safety and wellbeing of others. Those who breach safety obligations and cause a person’s death are liable under the law. However, you may still lose your case, even if you deserve compensation.

That’s why wrongful death lawyers are immense assets, as they can guide you along the way. They can advocate your case in court or during insurance negotiations.

This article will explain why you need an experienced lawyer. Let’s explore.

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Filing Deadlines

File a wrongful death case as soon as possible to stay within statutes. Moreover, file while your memory is fresh, as you may fail to remember vital events as time goes by. Additionally, you may lose access to compelling evidence and documentation over time.

A judge could dismiss your claim if you take too long to file. The statute of limitations depends on state parameters.

  • Example: In Alabama and Massachusetts, you have two years to file the claim. In medical malpractice cases, some states may give you three years.

Overall, two years is the most common limit throughout the nation. The start date begins the day your loved one dies.

With that, you may live in a state with a shorter time limit. If you sue a government agency, you have one year to file a claim.

Judges rarely grant extensions, but they will in the following instances:

  • Criminal Cases: If your loved died from acts of criminality, the court may grant an extension until the criminal trial concludes. After, the civil trial will begin after the criminal case. Then, you have two years to file on the day the criminal proceedings end.
  • Probate Cases: If the victim’s estate doesn’t go to probate courts, you may get an additional five years to file.

Regardless of your circumstance, a wrongful death lawyer can help you file on time. They can also help you gather documentation in a timely fashion.

Legal representation can also tell you about the extension guidelines in your state and help you obtain an extension if necessary.

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The Civil Trial Process

Your trial will take place in civil court, and financial compensation is the only form of justice you can receive.

Prosecutors take the lead during criminal cases, and survivors don’t play a key role in criminal proceedings. However, survivor testimonies and input can influence the trial. In civil trials, plaintiffs have a lower burden of proof than prosecutors.

As a result, many people make the mistake of representing themselves in civil court, thinking they can win handily. Statistically, those with a competent attorney stand a higher chance of winning compensation. Additionally, a wrongful death attorney knows the inner-workings of the legal system.

Legal representation spares you the hassle of learning the complex legal jargon. Overall, a wrongful death law firm can help you in the following ways:

  • Law firms have more resources to handle your case effectively.
  • Law firms offer additional lawyers and/or legal professionals.
  • Law firms handle all legal matters, allowing you to mourn in peace.

Lawyers are important during the trial process, but they’re also crucial assets before the trial begins.

The Settlement Phase

Before your case goes to civil court, the opposite party may decide to enter a settlement agreement. Wrongful death settlement negotiations are tricky because the defense usually offers the lowest payouts possible to save money.

  • Example: The defense has an insurance policy that will pay the settlement. Insurance companies are notorious for low-balling settlements and payouts to minimize losses.

This is where an attorney can be helpful, as they can convey to you an appropriate sum. If necessary, they can negotiate on your behalf until reaching a satisfactory figure.

Attorneys have enough legal savvy and negotiating prowess to maximize the settlement amount. If both parties fail to reach an agreement, your case will proceed to civil court.

Compensation Amounts

When it comes to civil trials, the award sum depends on the nature of your loved one’s death. However, you should gather as much evidence as possible to receive a higher award sum. The compensation model breaks down as follows:

  • Direct Financial Losses: You can recover wages that your loved one would have generated. This also includes retirement benefits and medical benefits.
  • Property Damage: You can also claim property damage if applicable. To document property damage, take as many clear photos as you can. You can also gather witnesses.
  • Medical Expenses: You can obtain compensation if your spouse spent time in the hospital before passing. Medical expenses include hospital stays, treatment methods, and ongoing care.
  • Funeral Expenses: The at-fault party will cover all funeral costs, as long as the costs are within reason.
  • Pain and Suffering: This is additional money that measures the amount of suffering the victim endured. Pain and suffering can also include mental anguish. Pain and suffering damages are hard to calculate and measure, but an attorney can help you.

If you’re dealing with a wrongful death case, visit www.veronbice.com.

How to Deal with a Wrongful Death

Wrongful death can be hard to prove in court, but you can increase your chances exponentially with legal counsel. Lawfirms have the experience and manpower to handle your case if things get tricky.

Wrongful death lawyers can help you file on time and according to the court’s instructions. Failure to follow instructions or file on time can result in dismissal.

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