What Is the Process for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim?

  • By:David Bate

A wrongful death occurs when a person dies due to the negligence of another person. Examples include medical malpractice, a DUI or injury at a business. Close relatives of the deceased can bring a lawsuit against the negligent party to receive compensation. A wrongful death lawsuit is complex. Demonstrating negligence and damages can be complicated. A wrongful death lawyer can help you present your case.

Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Generally, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed by the estate of the deceased person. The estate files the claim on behalf of the surviving spouse, children or parents of the deceased. Some states limit wrongful death claims to survivors who are financially dependent on the deceased.

What Type of Damages Are Recoverable?

Most wrongful death claims are brought to recover the economic losses of the deceased. This can include funeral and burial expenses, loss of financial support and prospective inheritances. State law can also compensate next of kin for loss of companionship and loss of society. Some states place limits on how much can be recovered.

How Long Do You Have to Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Most places put a time limit on how long after the death that a lawsuit can be filed. This calculation can be complex, because several factors can determine when the timeline actually begins. If a lawsuit isn’t filed within the time limit, the right to recover damages can be lost forever. Your attorney may file the lawsuit to prevent losing your right to bring a claim.

Will You Have to Go to Court?

If you file a wrongful death lawsuit, it is possible that you will have to go to court. However, most wrongful death claims are settled without a trial. A wrongful death lawyer needs to have the skills to take your claim to court. Court trials are expensive. It can be in your best interests to settle outside of the courtroom.

What Will It Cost for a Wrongful Death Lawyer?

Most wrongful death cases are handled on a contingency basis, which means that the lawyer doesn’t get paid until the case settles. You do not pay anything upfront. When the case is finalized, before you receive any money, the lawyer takes out a predetermined percentage of the settlement as a commission. There may be other fees that are taken out before you receive a payment.

Contact a lawyer, like a Wrongful Death Lawyer Minneapolis, MN, who understands wrongful death claims to achieve the maximum recovery for your case.

Thank you to the experts at JOHNSTON | MARTINEAU PLLP, for their insight into wrongful death and the law. 

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