Have you lost a loved one in a preventable accident?
Find a wrongful death attorney who can help you
Wrongful death is the most difficult type of lawsuit to file, and if you have such a reason to be on this page, we are so sorry for your loss.
Wrongful death lawsuits are particularly difficult because, in the face of such a tragedy, families and loved ones must pick up the pieces of their life despite their grief and soldier on through the legal system, meeting each deadline and acting like it's any other lawsuit. These are usually filed by husbands, wives, children, parents and siblings of the deceased with the help of a legal representative.
Make sure you know what to look for in a wrongful death attorney
Wrongful death attorneys are a special class unto themselves.
Much of the time, a legal expert can walk you through the case and help you understand exactly why someone is responsible for the death of your loved one – how a surgery mishap could have been prevented, how a car's brakes could have been inspected prior to leaving the shop, or how a foodborne illness was actually the fault of the manufacturer's shoddy practices.
They can peel back the layers of a case until they find the real reason for the wrongful death, which is why you need to find the most qualified lawyer you can find.
Finding the right attorney
- Talk to friends and family. Hopefully not too many of them have been in this situation before, but somebody knows somebody who has. See what information you can gather.
- Check on the Internet. See who is local, because an attorney in your area is far more likely to know the judges and clerks. Familiarity is good in that regard because he or she will know which judges are fair, which are harder to deal with, etc.
- When you do narrow down your search, see if you can get face-to-face interviews. Feel out the rapport between the two of you. If you aren't comfortable during that initial meeting, you probably won't be comfortable later on.
- Check your comfort level with his staff, too. Your attorney is going to involve associates and paralegals with your case, so make sure that you have at least seen their faces and said hello.
- Does he normally work with plaintiffs or defendants? You want someone who usually works with the plaintiff. What is his settlement rate? What is his success rate at trial? Has he ever been sanctioned or disciplined by the bar association?
- Ask him how many wrongful death cases of this type he has worked with before. What is his area of expertise?
Types of wrongful death cases
Wrongful death as the basis for a case will bring its own unique considerations such as the choice of a solatium award, and additionally may be complicated by the situation surrounding the case.
Let's take a look at three of the most common reasons for a wrongful death claim and why you'll want an attorney who knows his or her way around that type of case.
Fatal automobile accidents and wrongful death
Thousands of people are killed in car, truck and motorcycle crashes in this country each day. These account for approximately 2.2% of all deaths globally.
Choosing an attorney who specializes in both car accident and wrongful death cases is one of the smartest decisions you can make when filing a claim against a negligent driver for the loss of a loved one. You'll want to make sure that your attorney is well versed in both areas.
Medical malpractice and
Doctors are human, but their mistakes hold a lot more weight because people can die.
Whether the accidental death was the result of an emergency room mistake, prescription error, unnecessary surgery or hospital infection, justice is owed to the patient's family through the course of a medical malpractice lawsuit. It takes a lot of specialized knowledge for an attorney to work in this field – sometimes he will hold an M.D. and a J.D. If you can find this dual-degree unicorn, sign that fee agreement. He knows what he's talking about.
Defective products and
When manufactured products don't conform to safety standards, or a poor design renders the product defective or dangerous, serious injury – and sometimes even death – can occur. Compensation might be owed if the safety of your children is in question.
In the event that a defective product results in a fatality, a wrongful death attorney should be called upon to build your case against the manufacturer. These are product liability cases, and your attorney will be well versed in manufacturing laws, foreseeability and reasonable expectations.
About wrongful death lawsuits
Sometimes the legal system is incredibly crass, because how do you measure the life of a loved one in terms of monetary compensation?
Regretfully, grief alone is not enough to substantiate damages for the injured party. The plaintiff must prove that they have been caused financial and emotional harm. Some states even require the family to appoint a personal representative to file the suit on behalf of the estate.
Don't have your wrongful death suit dismissed simply because your state's procedures weren't appropriately followed. Your case is too important.
Still not sure where to begin or just feeling overwhelmed? Check out the Enjuris law firm directory to start searching for an attorney who can help you.