Wrongful Death

A wrongful death case is often filed when an individual is killed due to the negligence of another. If this has happened to someone you love, Alexander Shunnarah Trial Attorneys are ready to listen and help you seek compensation.

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What is a wrongful death?

Pallbearers carrying a coffin | Alexander Shunnarah Trial Attorneys

Wrongful death refers to a legal claim that arises when an individual’s death results directly from the negligent, reckless, or deliberate actions of another party.

This type of civil lawsuit allows the decedent’s survivors, usually immediate family members or beneficiaries, to seek monetary damages for their loss.

What is a wrongful death claim?

Wrongful death claims are legal lawsuits brought by the survivors or immediate family members of someone who died due to someone else’s carelessness or wrongdoing. 

The law permits the deceased’s family members to initiate a wrongful death action seeking financial compensation in these situations. Wrongful death lawsuits serve to compensate families who relied on the bereaved for both emotional and financial support.

A car accident that happened because someone else was exceeding the speed limit or driving under the influence is commonly the subject of wrongful death cases. Medical negligence lawsuits and dangerous purposeful activity or criminality that ended in death are further examples.

A wrongful death lawsuit differs significantly from criminal prosecution. A criminal case is where a guilty verdict leads to criminal charges, including probation, time in jail, and other punishments. A wrongful death suit, on the other hand, is limited to monetary damages.

Types of Damages that can Be Claimed After a Wrongful Death

After a family member’s death, many expenses often follow, which can be filed as wrongful death damages. Damages are the items that you can recover compensation for after a fatal accident. While a personal injury lawyer can help you determine the specific amount of your wrongful death claim, damages (the expenses or losses incurred) generally fall into two main categories: economic and non-economic damages.

Economic damages

The financial expenses sustained due to a loved one’s death are referred to as economic damages. These damages may often be calculated easily. Economic damages include costs that were incurred directly due to the accident. This includes things such as:

  • Medical expenses from the accident
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Economic loss of the decedent’s current and future wages as well as any inheritance they would have received.

Non-economic damages

Non-economic damages, unlike monetary expenses, may be more challenging to measure. They include the emotional damages that a family experiences for losing a family member’s support and affection, companionship, advice, and intimate relationships that are lost due to someone else’s recklessness or wrongful behavior. This can also include the suffering and mental anguish caused by the loss.

Because these damages are hard to quantify, it is essential to contact an experienced wrongful death attorney.

Punitive damages

Punitive damages are a third type of damage that can be added to some wrongful death cases, but not all. Fatal accidents that were caused by intentional, reckless, or grossly negligent actions allow the family member to also seek compensation for punitive damages. This is monetary compensation to punish the at-fault party for their actions.

The IMportance of a Wrongful Death Attorney

Dealing with the unexpected death of a loved one is never easy. It can be even more difficult knowing that their death may have been preventable. Our firm understands that families may experience financial challenges without the assistance of the bereaved, in addition to feeling the emotional sorrow of losing a loved one. A wrongful death settlement may be able to assist in alleviating this financial burden. 

We know that things may be overwhelming for you in this time, but ultimately, teaming up with an attorney can help you by providing:

  • Legal knowledge about wrongful death cases
  • Negotiating skills
  • Focus and dedication to justice
  • Commitment to securing your compensation 
  • Motivation to proceed through the grieving process
  • Free consultation

Most states allow the bereaved family members to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent party to claim compensation for their loss.

What to Expect from Your Shunnarah Attorney

Investigating your loved one’s death

In certain circumstances, it may be simple to determine a wrongful death. For example, a drunk driver hits an oncoming driver head-on causing a fatal accident. In this case, it is clear who is at fault, and why the deceased has passed.

But in other wrongful death claims, it can be difficult to tell what really happened. For example in delayed diagnosis causing wrongful death, there are many more questions that will come up to prove fault. Wrongful death lawyers also investigate when a responsible individual or entity attempts to hide or deflect responsibility in order to avoid accepting any blame.

A wrongful death lawyer can analyze the situation and determine what transpired in order to prove the wrongful death claim. This allows them to seek justice for the deceased’s family.

The laws governing wrongful death cases differ from one state to the next. You may not be able to claim damages depending on the area or state in which you live. In certain areas, the ability to claim is limited to close family members. Extended families and even non-relatives are allowed to file wrongful death lawsuits in certain situations in other states. 

Family members may not be allowed to take legal action at all in some states. Instead, only the deceased person’s personal representative of the estate is allowed to initiate a wrongful death lawsuit. After that, the representative distributes the funds to eligible relatives.

States also have different statutes of limitations. This is the time frame after a person’s death that wrongful death claims may be made. Even if you have a valid wrongful death claim, if you do not file the claim within the allotted time, you can lose your right to pursue the claim.

The statute of limitations may be extended in certain situations, but it is best to have a lawyer review your case as soon as possible to avoid missing the deadline. A wrongful death lawyer knowledgeable about your state’s wrongful death law can clarify your legal rights.

Find a Shunnarah Location

Alexander Shunnarah Trial Attorneys handles cases in all 50 states. Find a location or attorney to assist you with your case.

Calculating the damages

Every case is different and has its own facts and circumstances. Therefore, it can be incredibly difficult to calculate damages and negotiate a settlement without the help of an experienced wrongful death attorney.

While economic damages, such as the funeral costs, may be easy to calculate, non-economic damages, such as the pain and suffering you experienced, may not be as easy to determine. Insurance companies will try to offer the minimum amount possible, but Shunnarah is there for families of wrongful death victims helping to convey the magnitude of their loss.

Settlement or trial

A Shunnarah attorney and their legal team can examine all the necessary information and establish a reasonable amount of compensation for your wrongful death claim. Your lawyer will file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the surviving family members and try to reach a settlement or stay with the case through trial.

While many civil matters are resolved through settlements, there are situations when the parties are unable to reach an agreement. If this occurs, a lawyer may file a wrongful death suit and have a jury decide whether you deserve to be compensated and how much you will receive.

There are many aspects to a wrongful death case; and no one is better equipped to handle them than Alexander Shunnarah Trial Attorneys. If you’ve recently lost someone at the hands of another, our legal team is here for you.

Frequently Asked Questions about Wrongful Death Cases

Explore our FAQ to get the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions about wrongful death.

How do you prove a wrongful death?

It isn’t always easy to prove wrongful death, but it can be done with the help of an experienced lawyer. Several things must be established in order for a case to be considered a wrongful death.

First, the claimant must prove that the perpetrator had a duty of care to the decedent. This means that they had a responsibility to keep that person safe. An example of this is an employer who was responsible for providing a safe working environment for his employees.

Next, the claimant must prove that the perpetrator didn’t just have a duty of care to the deceased but failed to carry out that duty of care.

In our example, if the employer failed to provide a safe working environment for the deceased, he has breached his duty of care.
Claimants must also clearly establish that they incurred damages (funeral expenses, medical bills, lost wages, etc.) that directly resulted from the wrongful death of their loved one.

Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit?

Wrongful death lawsuits may often only be filed by the immediate surviving family members of the deceased. This includes:

– The surviving spouse
– A domestic partner
– The children of the deceased
– A putative spouse

If the deceased has no living progeny, the person eligible to inherit their possessions or property has the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Alternatively, anyone who the court has established as the deceased person’s estate representative for those who have not left a will may file this lawsuit.

A victim’s death cannot be brought to justice by distant family members or by anyone the court has not approved as the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate.

What is the statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits?

The wrongful death statute of limitations in most states in the United States is two years from the date of the victim’s demise. Timing is crucial when it comes to a wrongful death claim. Our wrongful death attorneys typically offer a free consultation, so we suggest calling as soon as possible to see if you have a case.

What does it cost to hire a wrongful death attorney?

Our wrongful death attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means that they only receive payment when you receive compensation. There are no upfront costs, and if the lawyer can’t get you compensation, you pay nothing. Shunnarah also offers a free case evaluation, so there is no risk in calling to discuss your case and see if you have a legal claim.

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