Death due to another person’s negligence can be extremely hard for family members to come to terms with. No one wants their family member to pass away from something that could have been preventable, whether intentional or accidental. Family members may want to think about filing a wrongful death claim filed against the person who is at fault for the individual’s death.
Compensation for Damages
Within the wrongful death claim, the family members may also state what damages they seek compensation. This may include medical expenses, funeral expenses, and anything that was damaged during the incident, such as a vehicle.
A will usually does not apply when dividing up the compensation earned through the wrongful death claim. It is usually decided by the family where the earnings will go or who should receive them. A will is separate from this and should be followed legally, and do as what is stated on the will. This may cause a strain on the family, and you may want to hire an experienced Sacramento estate planning lawyer who will help relieve any stress this may bring.
Knowing When to File a Claim
Certain surviving family members may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim for their lost loved one. Again restrictions vary from state to state on who precisely that can be. In most cases, claimants may include the victim’s surviving spouse or children, but states allow grandparents, siblings, or life partners to file a claim. Individuals who were financially dependent on the decedent may also be able to file, even if they were not related. If several individuals wish to pursue a wrongful death claim for their loved one, these are usually combined into a single claim. To file a wrongful death claim and win, you must be able to prove a few things.
- The death was caused by the negligence of the other party on trial
- The death of your family member has caused emotional and financial strain on you and your remaining family members
- Your family member’s’ death resulted in financial costs.
If you can prove those listed above, meet with an attorney who will use their experience and earn your family the compensation you deserve. Winning this case will not bring back your loved one or reverse what happened, but you will bring justice to the person responsible for all of this pain and heartbreak.
Thanks to our contributors from Yee Law Group for their insight into estate planning and wrongful death.
Steps to Take in Wrongful Death Cases
The tragic and unexpected loss of a loved one may leave surviving family members wondering whether they can file a wrongful death claim in UT. Losing a loved one can turn a family upside down, and we know that amidst the grieving, it can be challenging to understand how best to move forward with taking legal action. At Rasmussen & Miner, we know that navigating the next steps can be overwhelming to manage alone. Here are some steps to follow if you have lost a loved one and believe legal action is appropriate:
Step #1: Find Out Who Can Submit the Claim
It’s essential to be aware that not just anyone can pursue a wrongful death claim. You will first need to determine whether you are eligible to do so. In Utah, relatives such as spouses or children of the decedent may have the ability to file a wrongful death claim. However, when multiple parties are involved, only one lawsuit should be filed. Typically, a wrongful death claim is filed by the personal representative of the estate.
Step #2: Contact a Lawyer to Review Your Case
To ensure that the proper steps are taken and provide you and your loved ones with the best opportunity at compensation for damages, it’s critical to find a lawyer. Start by researching experienced lawyers who can help you file a wrongful death claim in Utah. Take the time to schedule a complimentary case review to determine both whether they are the right lawyer to take on your case and for guidance regarding how best to move forward.
Step #3: Gather Evidence
If a lawyer accepts your case, they will work closely with you to gather critical evidence supporting the case. They will investigate the case and apply available resources to tying all evidence gathered to the elements necessary to prove the claim. Evidence that may play a critical role includes:
- Medical Records
- Medical Expenses
- Eyewitness Statements
- Autopsy Reports
- Police Reports
- Accident Reports
- Expert Testimony
Step #4: File Wrongful Death Claim or Lawsuit
When pursuing damages for wrongful death, there are typically two routes that can be taken: filing a claim with the insurance company or filing a lawsuit. While each has advantages and disadvantages, your lawyer will advise you over the appropriate route to take and determine the next steps to move forward. Claims with the insurance companies have a higher probability that victims will walk away with a negotiated settlement in a relatively shorter period. When pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit, negotiations will ensue and, if a settlement is not reached, your case will go to trial. The litigation process can take much longer before a resolution is reached and puts the plaintiff at risk of walking away empty-handed if the judge and jury do not rule in your favor.
Step #5: Negotiations
Negotiations are a critical component of the process for procuring a settlement. The defendant and their legal counsel will work tirelessly to pay out as little as possible for the damages the plaintiff and their family have experienced. For victims’ families not well-versed in the art of negotiation, you might walk away with a less than favorable settlement without a lawyer’s assistance. However, a lawyer can manage negotiations and advise the family when a fair settlement offer has been reached.
In the wake of a loss at the hands of a negligent party, Rasmussen & Miner will work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the best possible outcome for your case. If you believe that you have a wrongful death claim in Utah, contact our firm today!