Losing a loved one is shocking, devastating, and heartbreaking, even more so if another person’s negligence or recklessness caused their death – you carry the weight of considering whether to file a wrongful death claim.
In California, for instance, the surviving family members of the deceased have the right to file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit to seek compensation for harm and losses suffered due to the death of their loved one. In order to preserve the right to lodge a wrongful death claim in California, you need to file it within two years of the date of the person’s passing. In such a claim, a California wrongful death lawyer can help beneficiaries or surviving family members receive the maximum compensation possible. While no amount of money can bring back a loved one, compensation can provide surviving family members with financial security and support in moving forward.
Here are some of the ways an attorney experienced in wrongful death cases can increase your odds of success.
Gathering All Evidence
The first step you can take to help receive fair compensation involves collecting and preserving all evidence of the accident that led to your loved one’s death. But as you try to cope with grief and loss, the last thing you want to worry about is the legalities associated with a claim.
A wrongful death attorney can collect all the evidence you need to build your case. They will visit the accident scene to gather relevant evidence, speak with any witnesses, and get other important information that may help support your claim.
Evidence in a wrongful death claim may include photos and videos, police records, medical records, death certificates, autopsy reports, and financial records.
Valuing Your Wrongful Death Claim
Before filing a wrongful death claim, you’ll want to understand what a fair settlement offer entails. A lawyer experienced in wrongful death claims knows how to properly value claims. They will conduct a comprehensive analysis of your situation to assess the impact your loved one’s death has had on everyone.
Doing so allows for proper compensation to be pursued. Damages may cover payment for funeral and burial expenses, pre-death medical expenses, lost wages and lost future earnings, loss of companionship, pain and suffering, loss of benefits, and emotional distress.
Handling Communications with the Insurance Company
Insurers are experts when it comes to exploiting the desperation of a grieving family. When you file a claim, they may present a quick offer to settle the case and prevent a potential lawsuit. The offer may not be enough to compensate you and your loved ones for the full value of your losses.
Wrongful death attorneys have vast experience negotiating with insurers. They have mastery of how to deal with liable parties that are trying to avoid a payout. Your attorney will prove the damages you have suffered and do everything in their power to make sure you get fair compensation without going to trial.
Meeting the Statute Of Limitations
In California, surviving family members are required to file a wrongful death claim within two years of the date of the decedent’s death. Bringing a claim after this time limit has expired bars surviving family members from ever obtaining compensation from the at-fault party.
Because the time frame is integral to wrongful death cases, you will preserve your rights to compensation by hiring a lawyer to work on your behalf. A lawyer is better placed to keep strict schedules, ensuring all paperwork and evidence is filed on time.
Taking Your Case to Trial
Most wrongful death claims never go to court. But if the defendant or their insurance company offers a settlement that is too low to be fair or outrightly rejects your claim, the only way forward is to take your case to court.
When that happens, you need an experienced wrongful death attorney to take the case to trial and represent evidence to prove the other party’s negligence or intentional misconduct. An attorney will fight for your rights and obtain the maximum compensation you and your family are entitled to.
If you’ve lost your loved one in preventable circumstances, it is important to hire a wrongful death lawyer right away to protect your legal rights and maximize your chances of pursuing a successful case. An experienced lawyer can provide invaluable guidance and ensure you get the compensation you deserve.