Wrongful death legal actions may have more success with input from experienced legal counsel.
A Crestwood District of Columbia wrongful death attorney can help victims with formal legal actions that are filed in court when a person dies because of the negligent, reckless, or deliberate act of another person, or entity. Laws vary by state, but there are requirements as to who can file a claim, a timeline to be followed, and proof of negligence must be undertaken by a Crestwood skilled wrongful death attorney with experience in wrongful death actions. Loved ones can seek compensation for their loss with the assistance of legal professionals who can work with experts to determine a dollar value for economic, non-economic and punitive damages.
Filing requirements. Wrongful death actions, in accordance with most state statutes, have requirements as to who can file a claim and how long they have to do it (statute of limitations). Family members and/or representatives of the deceased party can sue for civil damages including pain and suffering, and loss of financial support when someone is lost to the negligent act of another. The wrongful death claim can be brought by a designated beneficiary, or the estate of the deceased. The individuals who can bring forth the legal action must follow state-specific rulings. Designated beneficiaries might include:
- immediate family members, including spouses, children, adopted children, and parents of unmarried children,
- distant family members, such as siblings and grandparents,
- domestic, or life partners, and
- financial dependents, or those who suffer financial loss resulting from the untimely death.
Other state-specific rules may require that a wrongful death claim can only be brought by the estate of the decedent to compensate it for the losses related to the untimely death. In these cases, a personal representative of an estate, who may be appointed by the court, or named in a will, to administer a person’s assets, would bring forth legal action in their name alone. Any recovered compensation for the loss would be held in a special trust for disbursement among all designated beneficiaries during the probate process. Because of the state-specific variables on who can bring forth wrongful death litigation, it is always wise to speak to an Crestwood District of Columbia experienced wrongful death attorney for guidance.
Compensation. A wrongful death victim’s family, or personal representative can seek monetary damages that cover funeral and burial expenses, medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of wages and potential future earning capacity, and the loss of companionship, or consortium. Wrongful death actions commonly end with a financial settlement offer where all parties to the action must agree upon the provision laid out for a specific dollar amount pay-out, in return for the forfeiture of the right to a trial. Damages may be broken down by those that relate to the individual who died, and those that are necessary to compensate those left behind.
- Survival damages are calculated based on expenses related to the care in the final days of life for the deceased, as well as funeral and burial expenses.
- Loss damages include those related to lost income, the deceased’s contribution to household upkeep, and the loss of affection and comfort to a spouse and support and guidance to children.
Settlement and jury award limitations. State statutes may limit the amount of a wrongful death settlement, or jury award and provide rules on how the funds are to be distributed among the deceased’s beneficiaries. Other states will earmark a certain percentage for a surviving spouse, or children before entertaining funds to be allotted to other family members, or beneficiaries. State-specific distribution requirements can also be based on the same practices utilized when a person dies without a will in place.
Wrongful death settlement and jury award requests are based on a variety of factors that account for the percentage of liability involved, case-specific circumstances surrounding the untimely death, expenses and bills caused by the injury and death, and any other relevant burdens placed upon remaining family and loved ones. Judges often consider the facts of the case to build grounds for negligence and responsibility surrounding the death. When a wrongful death claim is successful in court, a judge will make recommendations toward the appropriate amount of settlement for both economic and noneconomic damages.
If you recently lost someone you love in Crestwood District of Columbia due to another’s negligence, do not hesitate to file a wrongful death claim. The longer you wait to take action, the harder it can be to recover damages. It’s time to you exercise your rights as a loved one of another who was wrongfully killed. A Crestwood District of Columbia wrongful death law firm is ready and waiting to help you obtain justice and compensation. Contact our Crestwood District of Columbia wrongful death attorneys today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
Liability for death. A determination of who is at fault for an injury leading to wrongful death must be proven. In certain cases, the liability falls upon more than one party, and may even include a portion of fault placed upon the person who died. When the deceased individual is charged with a percentage of fault, a settlement amount may be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to them in their untimely death. Liability is based on actions, or lack of action that reasonable parties would take in a similar situation to that which caused the death claimed in the wrongful death lawsuit.
- Motor vehicle death claims may be built upon federal, state, and local traffic laws, roadway conditions and safe driving practices.
- Slip-and-fall injuries causing death are built upon consumer safety laws and occupational safety and health administration laws.
- Fatal injury that results from encounters with professionals such as doctors, police officers, emergency medical personnel, or other health care professionals may depend on a standard duty to act.
In wrongful death cases, a relationship between the deceased person and the person who most likely contributed, or caused their death needs to be established. Once established, the court can determine if negligence was present.
An Crestwood experienced wrongful death attorney will build a case for economic damages such as lost wages and expenses, non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, and in some instances, punitive damages to punish the individual responsible for the death. Individuals should seek guidance to determine if they have an actionable wrongful death claim, based upon case-specific facts revealing another’s negligence. Speaking with a Crestwood District of Columbiawrongful death attorney shortly after the death is advised, as the statute of limitations to file a legal action varies in each state and legal counsel will be familiar with those imposed timelines.