Death Claim

Steps In Filing a Wrongful Death Claim

The loss of a loved one is a life-changing event that often leads to a profound amount of grief. The pain of this loss can feel even greater if the cause of death was something that could have been prevented. When a loved one has died due to the negligence of another, the need to seek justice can feel overwhelming. In such a situation, you may be able to do just that and get the justice your loved one deserves by hiring a lawyer to file a wrongful death claim. To file a wrongful death claim, it’s important to understand how the process works and the associated procedures.

How To File a Wrongful Death Claim

  • Determining Eligibility To File: in a wrongful death claim, there is a chain of eligibility defining who has the right to do so based on availability. The first right for filing a claim falls to the spouse of the deceased, then children, and parents, and if none of the previously mentioned parties are available, the executor of the estate may file on behalf of the next of kin.
  • Defining Wrongful Death: a wrongful death is accidental in nature and due to the negligence of a third party. Common causes include car accidents, sports accidents, medical malpractice, construction accidents, assault, workplace injuries, defective products, and others. A general rule is that if the accident was non-fatal, then a personal injury claim could be filed.
  • Pre-Trial: in this step, your attorney will take the needed steps to bring your case to trial. This can include the filing of needed paperwork, setting up an estate if needed, the collection of evidence, verification that a negligent party owed a duty of care they did not meet, and proper notification of involved parties about the case and the pursuit of legal action.
  • Negotiations and Settlements: not every wrongful death case goes to trial. In many cases, to avoid a trial, the other party will offer a settlement. This should be given full consideration as even with strong evidence, trials are stressful and time-consuming. Your lawyer will negotiate the terms of the offer and provide you with all the information needed to make a sound choice.
  • Filing a Lawsuit: this step only occurs if your case is going to trial. If negotiations and the chance at a settlement fall through, or you cannot come to an acceptable agreement, the next step is court proceedings. Your lawyer will handle the paperwork for you and the other party will be properly served.
  • The Litigation Process: litigation is an involved process and your case does not immediately go to trial. During litigation, your lawyer will continue negotiating with the other side to see if a settlement is possible. Information will also be shared between both sides during the discovery process. Also, a mediator will step in a final attempt to reach a settlement if disagreements continue. If all attempts at settlement fail, your case will then go to trial.

Final Thoughts

If a family member has passed away due to the fault of another, you deserve a day to court to fight for justice on their behalf. With the assistance of an attorney, you can rest assured that the involved parties will be held accountable, and a conclusion will be reached either in settlement or, if needed, a trial.

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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