Was Your Loved One a Victim of Wrongful Death?
When a person or legal entity causes of the death of another person, due to their negligence or wrongdoing, the act is called “wrongful death” under the law. The family of the deceased may have a legal ability, called standing, to bring a wrongful death lawsuit and potentially receive monetary compensation for being deprived of the deceased’s company, companionship, and earning capacity.
Wrongful Death Cases
Many steps are involved to prepare the lawsuit and develop a strategy for trial, so the expertise of an Essex Junction attorney who handles wrongful death cases is essential. Obtaining proof requires investigation of the incident that caused the death to develop witnesses and evidence to prove the defendant was in whole or in part responsible for the death.
Who is entitled to wrongful death compensation?
In every state, a victim’s spouse can file a wrongful death lawsuit, as are parents of any child victims. However, other laws vary, such as whether an adult child can file a lawsuit on behalf of a parent or whether other relatives like siblings count as next of kin.
How are wrongful death settlements paid out?
The methods that settlements are paid out can be negotiated with the defense. These can include lump-sum payments or installment payments. The money can also be placed in trust if the beneficiaries are children.
How long does it take to settle wrongful death claims?
This depends on the nature of each case. While some cases may have overwhelming evidence and a defense that is eager to settle, other cases require extensive negotiations and investigation of the evidence. A case with a lot of compensation on the line can take years to settle or reach a verdict. An attorney can help set proper expectations for the process.
How long do you have to sue for wrongful death?
Each state has a statute of limitations, with the majority being two or three years to file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, when the clock starts ticking is also different in many state laws. You should talk with an attorney as quickly as possible, so you do not lose your right to pursue the compensation you deserve.
Top Questions to Ask When Hiring an Attorney
- How many years have you been practicing law? How long have you practiced law in the local area?
- How many cases similar to mine have you handled in the past?
- What is the likely outcome for my case?
In legal practice, experience matters. An experienced attorney will likely have handled issues similar to yours many, many times. Therefore, after listening to your situation, the attorney should have a reasonable idea of the time line for a case like yours and the likely resolution.
Tips on Approaching an Initial Attorney Consultation
- Use the consultation as a means of gaining a better understanding of your legal situation.
- Ask the attorney how many cases similar to yours he/she has handled. An attorney’s experience and knowledge can speak to their expertise (or lack of) in addressing your situation.
- Your attorney should be able to articulate roughly how long a case like yours will take to resolve and what sort of procedures to expect.
- Determine how comfortable you are working with the lawyer and/or law firm.
How much does it cost to hire an attorney?
In general, how much an attorney costs will often depend on these four factors: billing method and pricing structure, type of legal work performed, law firm prestige, and attorney experience. Depending on the legal issue you are facing, an attorney may bill you by the hour, settle on a flat fee, or enter into a contingency fee agreement. The type of legal work you need help with will also play a role in cost incurred.
Common legal terms explained
Affidavit – A sworn written statement made under oath. An affidavit is meant to be a supporting document to the court assisting in the verification of certain facts. An affidavit may or may not require notarization.