The loss of a loved one is one of the most traumatic experiences you can go through. It is made immeasurably worse, however, when that loved one is taken away from you because of someone else’s carelessness. According to our friends at Garrett, Walker, Aycoth & Olson, Attorneys at Law, if a family member is killed because of someone’s negligence, you may pursue a wrongful death case to hold them accountable.
Who can file a wrongful death claim?
Legally speaking, the correct party to bring a wrongful death claim is the Administrator of the deceased’s estate. If there is an executor named in the deceased’s will, that person typically will pursue it. If there is no will or no executor named, then an administrator will have to be appointed. This person is typically a close family member who will pursue a wrongful death recovery which will then be shared by the heirs of the estate.
What damages are available in a wrongful death case?
There are several types of damages available to recover in a wrongful death case, and they are typically separated into two categories. First, if the deceased lived for some period of time following the accident, there are likely medical bills and pain and suffering damages available which would have been recoverable by the deceased if they had survived. Second, there are damages specifically due to the deceased death which are recoverable by the heirs, such as loss of financial support, companionship, guidance, and care.
Who receives proceeds from the settlement?
Those who are entitled to recover money from a wrongful death settlement would be the heirs of the deceased’s estate. This will vary state to state depending on each state’s laws. It usually involves identifying the heirs under the same set of laws that apply when people pass away without a will (even if the deceased person had a will). Typically, the proceeds will first be applied to any attorney’s fees for representation in the wrongful death claim, then to any costs associated with the claim, reimbursement of any burial expenses, then possibly to liens or medical expenses related to the decedent’s death, before being split up and shared by the heirs.
How can a wrongful death attorney help me?
An attorney who is experienced in handling wrongful death cases can help by advocating for the largest possible recovery for the death of your loved one and presenting the most compelling case possible if the case must go to court. Additionally, a wrongful death attorney can help identify every possible insurance policy or other avenue of recovery for you to ensure that you are not leaving money on the table or missing out on compensation you otherwise are entitled to. Finally, retaining an attorney to pursue the wrongful death claim will free you up to properly grieve the loss of your loved one without having to focus on dealing with the insurance company or legal aspects of their passing.
Give some wrongful death attorneys a call if you have any questions!