When to Hire a New Albany Wrongful Death Lawyer
Facing the death of a loved one is always a terrible thing to do, especially if that death was caused by someone else's negligence and could have been somehow avoided. This is why wrongful death cases are so difficult to deal with. Families deserve to be able to grieve the loss of their loved ones without worrying about legal procedures and settlements.
That's why wrongful death and personal injury lawyers are so important, as they take a massive weight off the family's shoulders by taking care of all legal aspects of the case.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
Although wrongful death claims refer to the death of someone, they aren't criminal prosecutions. Therefore, no one should go to jail for these types of claims. Instead, they are civil lawsuits that should result in financial compensation.
They are usually caused by negligent actions that breach a duty of care between two parties. However, the at-fault party may sometimes have insurance coverage, and in those cases, the victim's family is going to have to deal with the legal team of the insurance company.
How Does a Wrongful Death Claim Work?
Legal regulations vary in each state, but personal injury claims generally tend to work the same way everywhere. Only certain relatives have the right to file these claims, so the first thing that needs to be done is to identify the plaintiff for the claim.
Then, the investigation can begin for the lawyer to determine the liable party. In order to do this, there must be direct evidence that ties the defendant with the cause of the death. Once this is done, the plaintiff can issue a lawsuit against the liable party and demand compensation.
In the best-case scenario, the claim may settle outside of court, but the case must be taken to a jury trial if this isn't possible.
Who Has the Right to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Personal injury claims can't be filed by anyone who's not directly related to the victim. Some of the most common plaintiffs are the following.
Spouses of the deceased.
Children can only file the claim if the deceased's spouse cannot do it.
Siblings and parents usually can't file wrongful death or personal injury claims, but they may be allowed if no one else is available.
Finally, an estate representative may be selected to file the claim in states where relatives can't do it themselves. However, the earnings from the settling may still go to the victim's family and heirs.
How Hard Is It to Prove Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death cases are pretty complicated, so hiring a reliable lawyer is crucial for winning the case. However, proving the negligence that caused the victim's death is pretty straightforward, as lawyers must provide evidence for the following elements.
There must have been a duty of care between the defendant and the victim, such as the drivers' duty to be safe on the road.
Moreover, there must have been a breach of that duty, which happens when the defendant doesn't act as they should to honor said duty.
It is crucial to determine causation, which is the principle that implies that the only one responsible for the death of the victim was the defendant.
Finally, there must be tangible proof of the damages caused by the negligent acts.
What Is a Deposition in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A deposition is a recorded under-oath testimony that both parties give to be used as evidence if the case happens to go to court. Both attorneys and the court reporter must be present during the recordings to ensure complete transparency.
During this procedure, both parties may be able to ask as many questions as they want, which are usually used to understand the testimonies of the witnesses before a trial. This can also be used when the witnesses may not be able to attend the trial.
Attorneys have the right to object to any questions, but they must sort them out by themselves, as there isn't going to be any judge present during the procedure.
How Long Does It Take to Settle Wrongful Death Claims?
Wrongful death and personal injury claims can take months or even years to settle. It depends on the complexity of the case and the overall situation. In the best-case scenario, it could take a few months to settle the claim, and it may not be necessary to go to court. In these cases, most of the time is usually spent deciding how much money is fair to give for settling the claim.
However, cases in which liability isn't clear and both parties agree to go to court may take several years to settle. Therefore, hiring an experienced attorney who can settle the claim as fast as possible is vital.
Are There Different Types of Wrongful Death Lawsuits?
Yes, any death caused by a negligent act can constitute a wrongful death claim. However, there are several situations in which this could happen. Some of the most common are the following.
Car accidents caused by negligent o reckless driving cause thousands of wrongful deaths every year. Moreover, they are much more common if the driver happens to be intoxicated.
Medical errors also tend to cause several wrongful death suits every year. The most common are wrong diagnoses, surgical mistakes, and negligent care.
Finally, the third most common cause of wrongful death suits is product defects, especially children's toys that tend to be swallowed and cause asphyxiation.
What Is the Difference Between Medical Malpractice and Wrongful Death?
Medical malpractice tends to be confused with wrongful death, but those are two different terms. Medical malpractice is a type of negligence, and wrongful death is a legal claim resulting from negligence. Moreover, medical malpractice can cause wrongful death, and it is usually one of the most common causes of these cases.
However, not all medical malpractice cases kill the victim, but they usually cause harm, which is why many people file claims against doctors who act negligently. Moreover, if the negligent act causes the victim's death, the family is entitled to seek financial compensation by filing a wrongful death claim.
In most cases, doctors' insurance covers these cases, making it more plausible for the family to get compensated for all damages caused.
What Damages Are Awarded in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Two types of damages can be awarded in wrongful death lawsuits.
The first type involves all the money that would have been awarded to the victim if they had survived. This includes all hospital bills, pain and suffering compensation, and psychological damage.
Then, the family member may be eligible for the second type of compensation, which involves all financial and emotional losses they may have experienced due to the death of their loved one, such as funeral and burial expenses, lost wages, and loss of companionship.
Is There a Cap on Wrongful Death?
Yes, most states have a cap on how much money can be given in a wrongful death compensation, but they vary from state to state. Some states, such as Missouri, have a cap of $350,000 for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering and loss of companionship. Moreover, other states have a $500,000 cap for all medical malpractice cases. Still, some exceptions are made depending on the complexity of each case, so the best thing to do is to speak to a Columbus wrongful death attorney about the available options.
What Is the Average Settlement for Wrongful Death Lawsuits?
There's no national average of wrongful death settlements because they vary from case to case depending on several factors. However, an experienced personal injury lawyer knows how to calculate fair compensation for the victim's family member. Some of the factors that determine the final price are the victim's age, the direct financial losses, lost wages, funeral and burial expenses, and the insurance company's limitations.
Nonetheless, wrongful death settlements tend to be highly substantial because they are meant to compensate for the entirety of the possible future earnings of the victim.
Who Pays for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Multiple parties could pay for wrongful death settlements, but the most common source of compensation is the individual who committed the negligent act and their insurance company. In most cases, the party at fault is lucky enough to be insured, but sometimes the insurance may not cover the settlement, so they may have to pay it out-of-pocket. This tends to happen in violent wrongful deaths.
What Does a Wrongful Death Lawyer Do?
Hiring a personal injury attorney can have several benefits, as they can help their clients get the compensation they deserve by taking care of all legal procedures. Some of their most common duties include.
Doing the investigation to determine the cause of the death and the negligent action of the liable party.
Filing the lawsuit and taking care of all paperwork related to it.
Giving legal advice and negotiating with the other party.
Representing their client in court.
Other New Albany Practice Areas
Wrongful death cases are highly complicated for everyone involved, but The Keating Firm LTD has a team of highly trained lawyers ready to help their clients seek justice for the death of their loved ones.
Anyone can get a free consultation by simply calling the number at the bottom of this page.