When you lose a loved one, it’s always traumatic. The situation can be made even more devastating when it presents a case of wrongful death. In these situations, as a relative of the person who died, you might be able to take action to get compensation for what happened. This is a long process, and there are lots of challenges that you’ll face along the way. Getting the money that you’re entitled to as a victim is an understandable desire though.
There are many steps that you will have to take to get to the point where a civil suit is viable though. If you’re not sure what you should do first, then read through this guide and learn everything you need to know before you take action. It’s a process that is worth taking slowly and carefully if you want to get the very best outcomes for you and the rest of your family, so don’t rush it.
Take Your Time
First of all, you should take the time to think about what your first step should be. You will need to grieve and take your time in a situation such as this. Many people rush into legal action when they are angry about what has happened. This is certainly an understandable kind of reaction. But it might not be the best way to approach a legal case. You need to take your time and make sure you approach it with a clear mind.
It’s not something that has to be rushed into. There are time limits that you have to adhere to. You need to know what the statutes of limitations are in your local area. They vary from place to place, so simply find out what they are, and then keep that in mind. In most places, it’s about two years, so you will have plenty of time to pursue a legal case if you want to in the future. It doesn’t all have to happen straight away. You can get grieve advice at sites like http://www.helpguide.org/articles/.
Analyze the Police Report
When someone is killed, no matter what the circumstances are, there will be a police investigation. This investigation will uncover exactly what happened to your relative. Knowing how and why their death was caused will be essential for you from a personal and legal point of view. Everyone wants to know the truth when something terrible happens to someone they love. And it’s just as important if you want to try to get compensation in the future.
The police report should be read in detail. If you find that someone did cause the death of your relative, then you might have grounds for a legal case. There will probably be criminal proceedings, but you will need to focus your attention on the civil case. This is the route that you have to take to get compensation that you are entitled to. It can be done alongside the criminal court case, but many people don’t do this until after that’s over with.
Speak to and Hire a Lawyer
If you are going to get the compensation that you feel you’re entitled to, you will need to have a lawyer. Many people consider representing themselves in court, but this doesn’t always work well. The law is very complicated, and it’s very easy to get tripped up if you’re not a legal expert. It makes much more sense to hire someone who knows what they’re doing. To start with, talk to a lawyer. You can find one at a law firm like http://BlackandJohnson.com/wrongful-death-attorney.html. And then see what they say.
It’s possible that a lawyer might look over your case and come to the conclusion that it’s not strong enough. You could get a second opinion. But if you have a lawyer turn you down twice, it’s best to move on. However, if the lawyer does accept your case, make sure that you check their credentials and then hire them as quickly as you can.
Learn More About Wrongful Death Cases
There are many different types of wrongful death cases, and you need to know a bit about them all. Only when you understand all the difference between them can you know which one is relevant to you. The basic definition of wrongful death is when a person causes the death of another and has no lawful reason for it happening. This can then lead to prosecution under criminal law, but that’s something for police and prosecutors to deal with. There are some key examples of wrongful death that crop up in civil compensation cases.
The most common cases of wrongful death come about as a result of intentional acts. These can take all kinds of forms and usually lead to murder and manslaughter charges. It’s up to the surviving relatives to take up the civil claims. Negligent driving can also lead to death on the roads. And in public places and workplaces, unsafe premises can cause deaths too. All of these examples, as well as others such as medical malpractice, can justify a compensation claim.
Pursue Your Civil Claim
Now that you have a lawyer, and you understand wrongful death cases a little better, you should pursue the claim. Your lawyer will be alongside you the whole way, so you should get the support you need. If you think that you are not getting the right level of support from your lawyer, it might be a good idea to hire a different one. You need to have 100% trust in your lawyer if you want your case to be a success.
It’s best to work alongside your lawyer for a while before you actually file the claim. You want to be completely prepared and have the case in order before it gets to the court stage. When you and your lawyer both believe that you are as prepared as they possibly can be, you can file the claim. This is when the legal case really gets going, and a court hearing for the case will be set by the court.
The Types of Compensation That Can be Awarded
In wrongful death cases, there are many different types of compensation that can be claimed. In some locations, these damages are capped, so you will have to find out how these rules apply in your area. So, what are the different types of damages that you can claim compensation for? The first is economic damages. This refers to the loss of income that a family suffers as a result of someone’s death. When a breadwinner dies, the loss of their income can hit hard.
Then there are the non-economic damages that are often more severe for the family of the deceased. These tend to relate to emotional issues that are understandably felt when a loved one dies. The loss of their companionship, support and moral support is what is longest lasting. If the person who died is a parent to children, this is another damage that has to be factored in. The loss of a parent has a big impact on a child, and they will lack the guidance that this brings in the years ahead.
Be Realistic About the Outcomes
One of the most important things to be is realistic. You need to understand how much compensation you are likely to get. This, of course, varies from case to case. So, you should have a frank discussion with your lawyer about how much money they aim to get for you. If you think that the sum is not worth the hassle, then you should think carefully about the whole endeavor. It’s not an easy decision to make, but it has to be made.
Getting compensation doesn’t change what has happened, but it can make a difference to your family’s future. When you have some money that you can rely on and make your future more secure, dealing with the stress of it all becomes slightly more manageable. But it won’t change the reality of the situation, and it’s important to think about whether it is definitely the right step for you.
Divide the Final Sum of Money
If you do decide to go ahead with the civil suit, and you win the money, it will need to be divided up. This is a matter that should be dealt with swiftly and openly. There are often fights over money that can split up families, and this is something you really don’t want to happen. When you get the money, it will be presented in a lump sum, so it’s entirely up to the family to divide it up. This can be tricky to deal with, but there are alternatives.
For people who don’t want to be involved in the process of dividing the money up, a judge can get involved. This will drag the process out for longer, but that could make it easier for everyone. It takes the responsibility and pressure off the shoulders of the family. And that should stop arguments and disagreements coming between the family. The process will be dealt by someone independent.