A wrongful death lawsuit is a common case presented to the court by the grieving family left behind by someone who died because of someone’s negligence. While it is a fairly common type of case, it is one of the most exhausting ones to battle out. The stakes are often high and those who file such lawsuits need to be prepared to make sure that they can see the case through until a verdict is passed down. If you are planning to file a wrongful death case, keep these things in mind to give yourself a better chance of a successful case.
Hire an Experienced Lawyer
The key to winning a wrongful death claim is to have a good lawyer represent your case. When you work with a lawyer who has experience with such cases, they know the proper procedures and intricacies that it takes to be successful. The first thing to do is to connect with the bar association in your area and get a list of the attorneys who have notable experience in similar cases.
You should also research the attorneys and read reviews from past clients. Keep in mind that hiring an expensive lawyer is not a guarantee that they can win your case. Look at their dedication and experience in handling similar cases. This will be a good gauge whether they might be successful in your case. If your lawyer seems to focus on settling cases with the other party, this can be a sign of a settlement mill which would not work in your favor.
Ensure the Validity of Your Claim
Once you have decided on a lawyer, you can present your case. They will tell you if you have a strong case that can stand up in court. One of the very first things that they look at is whether the victim had a legitimate personal injury claim, which caused the death. Some commonly filed personal injury cases that can lead to death include intentional death, medical malpractice, vehicular accidents and work-related accidents.
One example of an intentional death case is the O.J. Simpson case, wherein the victim’s estate filed a civil lawsuit of wrongful death for the demise of their daughter at the hands of the former athlete.
Medical malpractice cases usually begin as personal injury claims before being elevated to a wrongful death case when the patient dies as a result of injuries or misdiagnosis.
Vehicular accidents can be likewise elevated if the victim dies as a result of the injuries brought about by the accident.
Present Your Evidence
After establishing the validity of your claim, your next task would be to provide evidence to show that the other party is guilty of negligence or is responsible for the death of the victim. As in any case, it is critical to provide convincing evidence. One cannot rely on pure hearsay. The case must be strong enough to hold water in court.
For instance, in medical malpractice cases, evidence must be provided that the doctor failed to carry out their duty to the best of their ability. The burden of proof will also lie on the harmed party who filed a case in the court.
The next step is to prove that the cause of death was due to the failure to carry out that duty. This is the most challenging part of the process for a wrongful death claim since proving the connection of the death to the defendant may be difficult.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
The victim’s family or relatives will become the representative in the case. The relationship can vary depending on the case. In some states, marriage is not necessary for a partner to become eligible as a representative. In cases where the plaintiff is a minor, the guardians will become the representative on their behalf. The guardian is responsible for attending the proceedings and ensuring that the child or children receive the justice that they deserve for the death of their loved one.
For any monetary compensation, the guardian is also the one in-charge of disbursing the settlement to the estate once the children are eligible.
A wrongful death case is a very difficult legal situation to endure. Aside from the grief of losing a loved one and the possible financial burden, there is also the long battle to fight for a fair settlement and justice in your case.