Losing a loved one suddenly is one of the worst pains imaginable. It’s only made worse when the death was caused by someone else’s wrongful act or negligence. It’s only natural to want to seek justice for the family member you lost, but there’s no denying that it can add even more stress to what you’re already going through. That’s why it’s incredibly important to find the right lawyer to fight the wrongful death case with you and ensure that the person responsible is being held accountable and that you get the compensation you deserve. In order to achieve that, there are some things to keep in mind when looking for a lawyer.
A wrongful death lawsuit is a legal action filed by the family or loved ones of a person who died as a result of someone else’s negligence, misconduct, or intentional act. The lawsuit seeks compensation for the damages caused by the death, such as medical bills, funeral expenses, loss of income, and emotional pain and suffering. To succeed in a wrongful death lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant had a duty of care to the deceased, that they breached that duty, and that the breach caused the death. Wrongful death lawsuits can arise from various incidents, including medical malpractice, car accidents, workplace accidents, and criminal acts. While no amount of money can bring back a loved one, a successful wrongful death lawsuit can provide some measure of justice and financial relief for the surviving family members.
1. Extensive Trial Experience
In order to pursue a wrongful death case, you need to be able to prove that the responsible party was acting in a way that they knew could cause a tragic outcome, even if they didn’t wish for it to happen. A common example of a wrongful act would be when a driver runs a stop sign. A common form of negligence in these types of cases, unfortunately, would be if a member of a nursing home’s staff didn’t attend to a resident’s needs, which led to a tragic outcome. Proving that someone was aware of the potential consequences of their actions isn’t always simple, which is why wrongful death cases often end up in court. Because of that, it’s important to hire a firm with an aggressive legal team – since that’s what’s needed in the courtroom. A lawyer that has trial experience won’t balk at the thought of going to court and will be capable of getting a substantial settlement for their clients. More than that, the lawyer needs to be able and willing to press the accused on their actions in order to ensure the truth is revealed, and they’re held responsible.
Dealing with something like this is hard enough on its own, so it’s important that the lawyer you find is approachable. You need to be able to tell your lawyer everything regarding the case – even the things you’d rather not talk about. Reverting back to the aforementioned nursing home example – unfortunately, opioid misuse is not uncommon amongst the elderly, and if that’s something your family member battled with, it’s important for your lawyer to know it as well. The staff members at nursing homes are medically trained professionals. That means that they should recognize the signs of opioid misuse, as well as know that it’s especially important to keep track of the medication provided to the resident so that there wouldn’t be any reaction between the drugs. If the staff member didn’t act according to their training, it could very well be argued that they were acting negligently. Because you might not be comfortable discussing this sort of thing with anyone – let alone a stranger, it’s especially important that the lawyer you consider is easily approachable, and not someone that will make a difficult situation even harder for you.
3. Check With The State Bar Association
Vetting the lawyer you’re thinking of hiring is important. The easiest way to do this is to check their profile with the state bar association – something that can usually be done with a quick online search. There you’ll be able to see if someone filed a complaint against them in the past, for something like professional misconduct. Even if they didn’t end up receiving any penalties, it’s still something that deserves some attention – as the state bar association tries to protect the public from people who act fraudulently or unprofessionally. It’s a simple step to take, and it can provide you with the peace of mind you need. If you can’t seem to find a contact for the state bar association on the website, simply give them a call, and they’ll be able to send you more information, as well as tell you how to go about checking with them on an individual basis.
4. Conduct An Interview
It’s important to conduct an interview with the lawyer – even if it’s just a phone call. Besides ensuring that they are approachable, you need to ask them questions that will help you determine if they’re right for the job. Asking about how many similar cases they’ve handled in the past is important for obvious reasons. However, you should also ask how many cases are they currently handling. You want your lawyer to have the time and the energy to focus on winning your case – which isn’t something they can do if they already have their hands full. Additionally, it’s good to ask them how long have they been working within this particular branch of law, how much will the attorney fees cost, and whether there will be other people from their firm – such as a paralegal, working on your case. You want to ensure that the lawyer you’re talking to will be the one handling your case, and not just send it to someone else.
5. Understanding Local State Laws
While federal law is something that’s important to keep in mind, it’s even more important that your lawyer is well versed in local state laws. This is because the laws differ from state to state, and they’re often quite complex. So you want a lawyer who will know how to best navigate these waters – something that can’t be done if you hire someone who isn’t familiar with your local laws. The statute of limitations, filing requirements, as well as the potential compensation you might be entitled to, can all differ from state to state, which means that the way your lawyer approaches the case needs to be in line with the laws of the specific state you live in. The last thing you want is to lose the case because the lawyer you hired wasn’t aware of a particular aspect of the law that will be an issue in your case.
Having a loved one pass away due to someone else’s negligence or wrongful act and not knowing what to do next can be a daunting experience that only adds to the stress. However, it is possible to seek out compensation for your loss – all you need is the right lawyer on your side. By following these steps, you can ensure that you’ll have highly competent legal representation and that the wrongful death case will be handled properly.