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Experienced Salt Lake City, Utah Wrongful Death Lawyer
A wrongful death lawyer Salt Lake City UT community members depend on from Rasmussen & Miner understands that when a person is killed in an accident caused by the actions of another person, it can take both an emotional and financial toll on their family. Under the laws of the state of state, survivors of the victim killed can file a wrongful death claim against the responsible party to recover financial compensation for losses the death has caused.
For more than two decades, Rasmussen & Miner has assisted families to obtain the compensation they deserve. We understand that although no amount of money will make up for the loss of your loved one, a wrongful death settlement can ease the financial burden associated with their passing.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
In the majority of states, under certain circumstances a family member may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party. The caveat is that the person must have been financially or otherwise dependent on the deceased. A lawyer locals recommend from our law firm can review your case and clarify who might be eligible to file the lawsuit.
In general, a spouse and the victim’s children are the first tier of survivors who can file a claim. If the victim was not married and did not have minor children, their surviving parents can file the lawsuit if they were financially dependent on the deceased. If neither parent is still living, then the victim’s siblings may be able to file based on their damages associated with the loss. A wrongful death lawyer can represent them in legal proceedings.
Each state has its own nuances on who is allowed to file. A wrongful death lawyer from Rasmussen & Miner can evaluate your situation to determine who may be able to file a lawsuit.
Examples of Common Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Hearing about the death of a loved one is terribly difficult for family members. Then to learn that another individual or entity may have been responsible for the death can cause immense pain and anguish. Wrongful death happens when a person’s passing is caused by a wrongful act, intentionality, or negligence of another. Wrongful deaths can be a result of several situations, the most common of those being the following:
- Car Accident: The most common cause of wrongful deaths are due to car collisions. Most of the fatalities that occur are because one driver was being negligent or reckless by speeding, not paying attention, driving while on the phone, talking with passengers, etc. The driver who caused the accident may be held liable for the deaths and injury of all involved.
- Medical Malpractice: Most doctors, nurses, and other medical staff are very skilled. But this doesn’t mean they are not vulnerable to mistakes, as humans are not perfect. In the event of a tragic error that causes harm or death to a patient, the medical professional may be held responsible. Medical malpractice can happen when doctors do not provide a reasonable standard of care that is expected in the medical community.
- Workplace Accidents: Those who do manual labor and construction jobs are at the highest risk for workplace deaths. Wrongful death can still happen in other workplace environments, such as the office or a retail store. When an employer does not provide a safe place free of hazards that causes the death of an employee, the employer can be held accountable for the lack of safety in the court of law.
- Defective Products: Manufacturers and designers of products may not always take every step in ensuring their product is safe for consumer use. Sadly, many companies forego proper testing, which then results in people getting hurt or killed from it. A key component of a defective product wrongful death lawsuit is whether the consumer had used the product correctly and as intended when the harm occurred.
- Semi-Truck Accidents: If you compare the size and weight of a commercial truck to that of a standard passenger vehicle, it is no wonder that those who are in the smaller car are often the ones who suffer the most in the event of a crash. Truck accidents can happen due to trucker fatigue, poor truck maintenance, recklessness, and overloading.
- Pedestrian Accidents: Accidents involving pedestrians are much more likely to cause a fatality because the pedestrian doesn’t have any extra external protection like a car driver does. Depending on the factors of the accident, the driver and/or the city may be liable.
The first set of damages that can be pursued in a wrongful death lawsuit are those that were experienced by the victim from the moment of the accident or incident until the moment they pass away. These damages can include all medical expenses for emergency care and treatment the victim received, the pain and suffering they endured from their injuries, and funeral and burial expenses. A wrongful death lawyer families turn to can review your situation to determine what damages are applicable.
The second set of damages that can be pursued are the losses that the family have experienced because of the victim’s death. These losses can include financial, such as loss of the wages and benefits the victim would have provided for their family had they not been killed, as well as the emotional losses the victim’s death has caused. These emotional losses include mental anguish, loss of care, loss of guidance, and loss of companionship. A wrongful death lawyer loved ones of victims turn to for help can determine a dollar amount for these non-monetary types of damages.
In addition, the family member filing the suit may also seek punitive damages. These damages are designed to punish the at-fault party when their actions or behavior that caused the victim’s death were egregious or especially reckless. Punitive damages are also meant to send a message to society that this type of behavior will not be tolerated. Not every case includes punitive damages. A wrongful death lawyer residents choose in similar situations can gauge if they applicable under the circumstances.
Do I Have a Legitimate Wrongful Death Case?
When a loved one has died at the hands of someone else’s negligence, there is more to the grieving process than burying them. Instead, you want to seek justice for your loved one, and one way to do this is through a wrongful death claim. This is when a civil case is filed against the defendant(s) who is (are) responsible for your loved one’s death, whether it was intentional or accidental. A compassionate wrongful death lawyer can guide you through this difficult time.
Filing for a wrongful death claim is not always so clear-cut, though, and you may be wondering what the elements of a wrongful death claim are. Are there damages that you can recover? How will the defendant pay for the loss of your cherished family member? Here, you can find the answers to these questions, and determine if filing for a wrongful death claim is the right action for you to take.
What Is the First Element To Prove In a Wrongful Death Claim?
When you bring forth a wrongful death claim, one of the first things you will need to prove to a judge is that someone died. This death cannot be a naturally caused death (a decline in health or old age) and cannot be the result of the victim’s own negligence. It must be because the defendant intentionally or negligently harmed the victim. While this is the crux of your case, it is usually not the hardest to prove. A UT wrongful death lawyer in Salt Lake City can assess the circumstances surrounding the death of your loved one and offer guidance on how to move forward with a potential case.
Was Your Loved One’s Death Caused By Someone Else’s Negligence?
After proving your loved one’s death, you must also prove that their death was directly caused by someone else’s negligence or intentional actions. To do this, it is imperative that you show:
- First, the defendant owed your loved one a duty of care. This is not usually specific to the victim only and means that the defendant, like anyone else, owed your loved one the duty to act responsibly and in a safe manner.
- Second, the defendant breached this duty of care. This means that the defendant did not act in a way that was responsible. If the defendant and your loved one were at an intersection and the defendant was legally required to stop at a stop sign, but instead drove through and hit your loved one, there was clearly a duty and it was breached.
- Third, you must prove that not only was there a breach of duty but that this breach of duty directly caused your loved one’s death. If from the above example, your loved one died after the defendant hit his or her car because they did not stop at the stop sign, then there is a direct cause of death.
Can I Recover Damages?
Yes, if you were dependent on the victim or if you paid out-of-pocket for medical expenses or funeral expenses, you can recover damages from the defendant. You can also recover damages for a loss of love, a loss of consortium, and even a loss of guidance.
Recovering financial compensation for a wrongful death is important, and reaching out to a wrongful death lawyer in Salt Lake City, Utah is your best chance to get the closure and compensation you deserve. In the wake of a sudden and avoidable death, you may be overcome with emotion: Grief, outrage, and above all, confusion. How could this have happened to your loved one? Who is responsible for your loss? And what can you do about it? All these questions stack up, and can overwhelm you completely.
If you’re still stunned by the sudden loss of your loved one, chances are you aren’t in a mental state that will allow for any proper legal action – and you certainly shouldn’t be forced into some kind of financial struggle. But unfortunately, there are many financial burdens that come with any death (whether it was wrongful or not). You may suddenly find yourself facing the mountain of debt left behind by the deceased, or swamped by medical bills from treatments and procedures that failed to help your lost relative or close friend.
No amount of money can bring back a lost loved one. But the right financial compensation can help you reach the closure you need to move on from their sudden and avoidable death. You shouldn’t let money prevent you from grieving properly, but if you’re suddenly strapped with debt, you might not be able to focus on what matters most. Reaching out to a wrongful death lawyer in Salt Lake City, UT, can be a way forward: At Rasmussen & Miner, we know that you need to grieve, and we’ll do all we can to ensure you win the compensation you need so you can concentrate on moving on, instead of paying bills.
Understanding Your Legal Options
Any kind of preventable death is a tragedy, but a wrongful death lawyer in Salt Lake City, Utah can help you get the compensation you need to move on from your loss. While no amount of money can bring back a lost loved one, a wrongful death lawsuit can help you get a sense of closure and justice.
You may have a few key questions about wrongful death cases. One of the most common questions we receive is about manslaughter. After all, if someone inadvertently caused the death of another person, shouldn’t they be tried for a crime? Read on to learn more about the legal path that your case can take, and see how the right lawyer can make all the difference.
Wrongful Death vs. Manslaughter
It seems obvious that someone who caused the death of another person should be punished. However, there’s a big difference between a criminal case and a civil case. When you hear the term “manslaughter”, you know that the case is being handled by a criminal court. While a criminal case can give you closure and a sense of justice, it’s important to understand what a criminal court can and can’t do.
If a party is being tried for manslaughter in a criminal court, it means charges are being filed by the state. The punishment varies on a case-by-case basis, but these punishments typically include jail time, community service, hefty fines, or a combination of all three. But, those fines don’t go to you – they go to the state. It’s rare for a criminal case to yield any kind of financial compensation for the family and friends of the deceased.
On the other hand, when you hear the term “wrongful death”, you know that the case is being handled in civil court. Unlike a manslaughter case, the defendant isn’t at risk of jail time or community service. In a civil case, the charges are leveled by the family and friends of the deceased, and the defendant may have to pay them an amount of money that’s agreed upon by the court over the course of the legal proceedings.
Financial compensation is rarely awarded to the estate of the deceased in a criminal case, so it’s important to get in touch with a wrongful death lawyer in Salt Lake City, UT who can help you get closure and compensation.
Reach out to Rasmussen & Miner Today
At Rasmussen & Miner, we know that the loss of a loved one can turn your life upside down. Death is inevitable, but if you can trace your loss to the negligence of another party, you need to get justice – and you need to take steps to ensure it doesn’t happen to anyone else. It can be overwhelming to consider all of your legal options, but an attorney from Rasmussen & Miner can help you determine which direction you should take.
Don’t hesitate. If you’ve lost a close friend or a family member because of someone else’s negligence, you need to get closure, justice, and compensation. Get in touch with Rasmussen & Miner today, and see how a wrongful death lawyer in Salt Lake City, UT can help.
How Should I Get Started?
If your loved one was the victim of a wrongful death, do not wait any longer in bringing justice to this situation. Contact the lawyers at Rasmussen & Miner now to begin working on your wrongful death claim.
What Are the Elements of a Wrongful Death Case?
All wrongful death cases include the following:
- The death of a human being: It may seem obvious at first, but it’s important to remember that a wrongful death suit can only be opened after the death of a loved one. If their situation looks like it could lead to their death, it’s not grounds for a wrongful death case – yet. You should also be prepared to provide evidence of your relationship with the deceased.
- Negligence or misconduct from another person that caused that death: This is the “wrongful” in wrongful death. For your case to be successful, you need to be able to prove that the death was preventable, and that responsibility for the death can be traced back to a negligent party. The negligent party varies from case to case: It could be a drunk driver, or an airbag manufacturer.
- Surviving family members who are suffering financially as a result of that death: In order to pursue a wrongful death case, there needs to be an established party that was wronged. You’ll have to prove the relation to the deceased, and you’ll have to prove financial suffering.
- A personal representative for the decedent’s estate: Upon a person’s death, their will should name an executor to handle their estate. If they had no will, then the state will name a representative to handle the estate instead. This can come with its own complications (personal and financial), and a wrongful death lawyer in Salt Lake City, UT, can tell you more about how a personal representative is important for a wrongful death case.
How Can You Prove a Wrongful Death Case?
- Prove the Defendant Owed the Decedent a Duty of Due Care: In order for the defendant to be liable for negligence, it must be proven first that they owed the victim a duty of due care. The definition of that duty varies from situation to situation, but essentially a duty of due care is the idea that the defendant had a duty to do something to either keep another person from being harmed or refrain from doing something that could harm another person.
- There are a few things that factor into the duty of due care, including the defendant’s moral responsibility, precedent set by other cases of a similar nature, how foreseeable the harm to the victim was, how certain it is that harm actually occurred and whether or not the defendant’s acts and harm are directly connected.
- Prove the Defendant Breached That Duty: If it is determined that a duty of due care existed between the plaintiff and defendant, the plaintiff and their legal team would present evidence to prove that that duty was breached. Because this is a civil case, the plaintiff must convince the jury that their version of the facts of the care is at least 50% true. There is no “beyond a reasonable doubt” as there is in criminal cases. A wrongful death lawyer from Rasmussen & Miner can assist you in gathering the evidence necessary to prove that there was a breach of the duty of care.
- Prove Causation Between the Breach of Duty and the Victim’s Death: Then, the plaintiff must prove that the breach of duty is what actually caused the victim’s harm and eventual death. Depending on the facts of the case, causation can be difficult to prove. Having an experienced wrongful death lawyer on your side gives you the best chance of proving causation.
- Prove that Damages Resulted from the Victim’s Death: Finally, the plaintiff must prove that the deceased and those who survive them have suffered damages. These damages can include medical costs associated with the victim’s injuries prior to death, loss of income, pain and suffering, loss of consortium and more.
If your loved one was killed because of another person or entity’s negligence or misconduct, you may have a wrongful death claim on your hands. Lawyers at Rasmussen & Miner are ready to assist you with your claim. Having a trusted and experienced lawyer on your side to walk you through this process can take the burden off of you and your family as you grieve for your loved one. Call Rasmussen & Miner today to speak with wrongful death lawyer clients recommend today.
What Is Duty of Care in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
When a Utah loved one dies of what appears to be a negligent or careless act, the grief from this unexpected death, along with medical funerary costs, can feel overwhelming. You may have many questions, including those about the importance of duty of care. A wrongful death lawyer in Salt Lake City, UT can help to provide you with answers and why the duty of care is so important to this type of case.
What Is Duty of Care?
When you first begin to build your lawsuit, you may hear the phrase “duty of care” more than once. For most negligence and wrongful death cases, whether the accused failed in this is usually the foundation. Generally, the duty of care means that people must act with reasonable care and avoid harming others, no matter the activity. This includes not only medical malpractice but those who operate motor vehicles and own businesses.
What Breaches Duty of Care?
In terms of a wrongful death case, there are several ways the alleged defendant might have breached the duty of care. Depending on the individual circumstances, this may include:
- Gross negligence
While most incidents that cause a death are accidental, this does not excuse the accused from responsibility. For example, if your loved one was using a crosswalk and the defendant struck and killed that person while trying to drive and answer a text at the same time, the driver failed in the duty of care to protect those in the proximity of the vehicle. Taking eyes off the road can cause an accident and result in serious injuries or death, so that driver is not excused from responsibility, even if the harm was accidental.
When Does Duty of Care Exist?
A wrongful death lawyer in Salt Lake City, UT can help you determine if a duty of care existed in the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s death. Courts use several factors to determine the breach by proximity, the reasonableness of imposing blame or liability and whether it was obvious your loved one would have come to harm as a result of any negligence. Foreseeability is often a major factor in a wrongful death case, as the alleged defendant may try to claim that he or she was not aware the actions taken would have caused harm.
When a loved one dies because someone acted with negligence, it can turn your world upside down. Speaking to a wrongful death lawyer in Salt Lake City, UT can provide you with peace of mind and help you understand options for the future.
Can a Wrongful Death Lawyer Salt Lake City, UT Help Your Family?
If you would like to speak with a compassionate and skilled Utah wrongful death lawyer from Salt Lake City at Rasmussen & Miner, call (801) 683-9944 today to set up free, no-obligation consultation.