Did you know that almost 200,000 people die of a wrongful death every year? A person’s untimely death could result from medical malpractice, car accidents, injuries at work, and more. If you believe you may have a wrongful death lawsuit on your hand, time is ticking.
Keep reading to learn how to pursue legal actions and how a wrongful death attorney can help you.
Table of Contents
What Defines a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim is a lawsuit made on behalf of a deceased person who died an untimely death due to another’s actions. These cases could be brought forth if the person died due to:
- Negligence from a person or entity (medical malpractice, car accident, breach of duty of care)
- Exposure to toxic elements (a dangerous work environment)
- Unwarranted, excess force by a police officer
Many factors are considered when evaluating these cases, including the cost of medical bills, funeral expenses, emotional and mental distress, income loss, and so on.
Understand the Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is a law putting limits on the time a person, or entity, has to bring forth a lawsuit after the date of the initial crime or offense. This is what bars people from suing about incidents that occurred many years ago. When it comes to wrongful death lawsuits, the statutes of limitation vary state by state.
For example, in Maine, family members can sue up to six years after the initial incident. In Tennesee, plaintiffs have only one year. After this time is up, the case is no longer valid.
Locate the Will
The deceased person’s will gives valuable information you need to move forward. It will outline beneficiaries or fiduciaries and a personal representative or executor. The representative is the one who will initiate legal actions.
Get Legal Help
Similar to the time limits, each state has different rules on who can bring forth this type of lawsuit. So, depending on where you live, you’ll only be able to file a wrongful deal suit if you’re the designated representative or executor of the deceased person’s estate.
Other states only allow surviving family members, such as children, spouses, or parents, to file. There are many steps in a wrongful death lawsuit that are difficult to process and figure out yourself.
You’re not alone dealing with this terrible loss. If you’re not sure if you’re authorized to bring forth this type of case where you live, a lawyer can help you.
Compensation and What to Expect
It could take months to a couple of years to resolve a wrongful death claim. The amount of time from the case opening to closing depends on how much investigation needs to be done. If by the end, the defendant in your suit has been found guilty, you’ll receive compensation for multiple things.
You may get financial compensation for medical expenses, lost wages/loss of financial support, pain and suffering, etc. Damages are also paid to any dependant family members. This money may or may not be subject to taxes.
Take Legal Action Now
One of the most critical steps in this guide is to find out the statute of limitations in your state. Some areas only allow wrongful death claims fillings within one year of the person’s untimely demise. Don’t hesitate to take legal action; hire a wrongful death lawyer now.
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