November 30, 2021
Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit: 4 Questions for Your Attorney
When a loved one dies due to some else’s negligence, it can shatter your world. Along with the sorrow you feel, you might be overwhelmed with medical and funerary costs, which could total thousands of dollars. While your loved one might be gone, filing a wrongful death lawsuit may help you recover financially, and there are a few questions you can ask your lawyer to help you feel more confident as the process moves ahead.
1. Am I Eligible to Sue?
Most states allow close relatives of the deceased to sue on his or her behalf. The representative of the estate may bring a lawsuit, so if you are that appointed person, you can probably proceed with the lawsuit. If you are not, you may be able to petition the court to bring the suit if you are the deceased’s spouse, the parent, or adult child. Otherwise, the court may appoint a beneficiary of the estate as the plaintiff.
2. What Is the Case Worth?
It may be difficult to place a dollar amount on the worth of your loved one’s life, which you no doubt considered priceless, but this is necessary as part of the lawsuit process. Your attorney can help place this value by considering several different types of financial loss you suffered, both present and future, such as:
- Loss of wages/financial support
- Loss of companionship
- Funeral/burial expenses
Most states allow for these circumstances, and your attorney will likely notify you of which he or she can include in the lawsuit.
3. Is There a Time Limit to File a Claim?
Many states allow two years from the time of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit and recover any financial award. There are a few exceptions to this rule, however, such as if your loved one died as the result of a homicide, as most states allow additional time for investigation and apprehension of those responsible. If the death occurred due to medical malpractice, the court may allow more time for an in-depth investigation to ensure the lawsuit is viable.
4. How Long Does the Process Take?
Because of the overall nature of a wrongful death case, it can take anywhere from one to five years to settle the matter. This depends on a variety of factors, from the complexity of the circumstances of your loved one’s death to spending time in court.
Losing someone you love due to someone else’s negligence can change your life forever, but you do not have to face the future alone. Contact a wrongful death lawyer, today for further assistance and information.