How Do I Sue for Wrongful Death?
Filing for a wrongful death lawsuit is a difficult process best left to your lawyer to handle. It is hard to understand the proceedings and the requirements without the assistance of a wrongful death attorney. That applies especially to people who have never been involved in such a case before. However, it's your constitutional right to sue a person or an entity for the wrongful death of a family member.
Such a lawsuit requires you to follow some careful steps. Here is a list of steps to follow to build a strong case.
1.Find Out If You Are Eligible To Sue
Only the legally recognized heirs and immediate relatives of the deceased person can sue for a wrongful death case. Some states ban common-law spouses and adopted children from filing such a lawsuit. Your lawyer is responsible for finding the eligibility criteria and the grounds for your case. Then he may propose the right legal actions to take or pursue an out-of-court settlement with the liable parties.
2.Take Your Lawyer's Advice About Wrongful Death
Having a sincere and in-depth discussion with your lawyer would give you all the necessary information about the wrongful death litigation process. Your beloved family member could have lost his life in a car accident or during a fight. Both cases may seem similar but require different legal approaches.
Your attorney's legal team and private investigators will collect all the necessary evidence. After the evidence collection is complete, the firm, through consultation with you, advises on how to proceed next. Only if there is a direct link between the accused party being negligent to the death of your loved one can you proceed with the case.
3.Bring Evidence of Gross Negligence and Criminal Intent
The court would require you to present feasible evidence that gross negligence or criminal intent was the primary cause of death. At the same time, you need to prove that the deceased person's loss will create an unexpected financial and emotional burden.
The combination of criminal intent, negligence, and potential damages from the loss of your deceased relative (loss of consortium) could become the necessary tools to persuade the jurors and the judge.
4.Meet the Statute of Limitations for Paperwork Filing
Filing the right paperwork in district courts could be hard for anyone who hasn't been involved with such cases before. It would be better to leave all these papers to your lawyer and his legal team to handle. However, another difficult task to maneuver with paper filing and petitions for wrongful death trials would be the Statute of Limitations.
States have laws to protect people from being prosecuted indefinitely in the future. It would be better to know the timeframe you have to file the lawsuit before losing that right. For that reason, your lawyer could immediately start gathering evidence and filing papers to courts before the deadline expires, provided you have enough reasons to support such a case.
5.Precisely State Your Damages
Damages incurred from a wrongful death are hard to prove in court. This is because the case is partly based on the assumption of what financial support the deceased gave the immediate family and what they would have provided if they did not die. It is difficult to estimate the exact salary losses, especially when the deceased person is a freelancer or an entrepreneur.
Your attorney has the right training to gather the required financial documents from the family and present them to the court. The emotional damage could also get estimated according to the caps the state poses for such cases. By any means, it would be necessary to have a clear and precise strategy in how to approach the case. The more accurate and documented it is, the higher the chances to get a positive outcome in court.
Wrongful death lawsuits are common in many fatal accidents, especially with people with big families. The necessity to have a lawyer to guide you through the whole process is undeniable. Fatal accidents can take away a beloved person and leave you in grief and despair. The court's primary concern is to ensure that justice is found for all parties involved, making it a long and grueling period.
Even though it can be difficult, it is important to have a precise plan for presenting your evidence to the court. Having a lawyer by your side may help you navigate these trying times as they will put emotions away and focus on getting you justice.