Steps in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit: A Guide on What to Know
Wrongful death suits allow family members to seek legal remedies when a loved one dies as a result of another’s negligence or intentional misconduct. While nothing can replace a lost loved one, filing a wrongful death lawsuit can provide families with a sense of closure and justice. It can also help ensure that a negligent party is held accountable for their actions.
Understanding the steps involved in a wrongful death lawsuit can help family members make informed decisions about whether to pursue legal action. The following is an overview of the typical steps in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
The first step in filing a wrongful death lawsuit is to consult with an experienced wrongful death attorney. During this consultation, the attorney will review the facts of the case and advise the family on their legal rights and options.
The attorney will then investigate the facts of the case and gather evidence to support the family’s claim. This includes interviewing witnesses, and obtaining medical records, and other relevant documents.
3. Filing the Complaint
Once the attorney has gathered sufficient evidence to support the claim, he or she will file a complaint in court. The complaint will outline the facts of the case and explain why the defendant is liable for the wrongful death of the loved one.
During the discovery phase, both sides will exchange information related to the case. This includes depositions, interrogatories, and requests for documents. This stage of the process can take months or even years to complete.
5. Settlement Negotiations
After discovery is complete, the parties may enter into settlement negotiations. If a settlement is reached, the case will be resolved without going to trial.
If the parties are unable to settle, the case will proceed to trial. During the trial, both sides will present evidence and make arguments in support of their case. The jury will then decide whether the defendant is liable for the wrongful death of the loved one.
If either side is not satisfied with the jury’s decision, they may file an appeal. During the appeal, a higher court will review the evidence and make a decision.
Proving A Wrongful Death
The burden of proof in a wrongful death case is on the plaintiff, or the person bringing the case. To prove a wrongful death case, the plaintiff must show that the defendant’s actions or negligence caused the death of the loved one. The plaintiff must also show that the defendant’s conduct was a “substantial factor” in causing the death. This means that the death would not have occurred but for the defendant’s conduct. Finally, the plaintiff must show that the defendant acted with “reckless disregard” for the safety of the loved one.
When Can You File A Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim can be filed by the surviving family members of a loved one who has died due to the negligence or intentional misconduct of another person or entity. The claim must be brought within a certain amount of time, depending on the state. Generally, the family has two years from the date of the loved one’s death to file a wrongful death claim.
Wrongful death lawsuits are complex legal proceedings that involve multiple steps. Starting with the filing of a complaint, both sides of the case must present evidence and legal arguments to prove their point. The process typically includes a discovery period, a pre-trial hearing, and a trial. The outcome of a wrongful death lawsuit can vary based on the particular facts of the case, but the goal of such a lawsuit is usually to hold the responsible party liable for the death and to provide financial compensation for the surviving family members. It is important to consult with an experienced lawyer in order to ensure the best possible outcome.
If you are looking for a reputable injury law firm that has extensive experience with wrongful death cases, contact Bossie, Reilly, & Oh. Our firm has litigated hundreds of elder abuse and neglect cases and recovered many six- and seven-figure settlements and verdicts for our clients.