When a loved one dies in an accident due to someone’s error or negligence, certain surviving family members may be legally able to file a Wrongful Death lawsuit. In most states, there is an order of those who may file suit. For example, if there is a surviving spouse, that is the person who must file the lawsuit. If there is no surviving spouse, the right is given to surviving children.
There are different phases to a wrongful Death lawsuit, which may, in fact, never see the inside of a courtroom. Read on to learn more about the steps that can be reasonably expected in a wrongful death case.
1. Hire an Attorney
As with any type of civil lawsuit, it is typically in a person’s best interest to first consult an attorney. An attorney experienced in wrongful death cases can advise a family if they meet the necessary elements of a case, and what type of compensation they may be awarded. Most attorneys in this field work on a contingency basis and offer a free consultation.
This is the start of a wrongful death lawsuit. There are several steps involved within this phase. The person must create an estate with the local court, the attorney will investigate the case, and evidence will be gathered. The offending party or parties will be notified of your intent to sue.
Litigation is when the case makes it to court. Like in the pre-litigation phase, there are several steps involved in this phase. First, a complaint is filed and the defendant has a period of time to respond. There is then discovery in which evidence is shared and depositions that take place. There is a pre-trial, a trial and a post-trial. The exact steps that are undertaken will depend on the unique circumstances of the case.
A wrongful death lawsuit can be settled out of court at any time. Defendants may choose to settle during the first steps of the lawsuit or toward the end. In many cases, a defendant’s attorneys will begin discussing a settlement after depositions are completed. A judge may encourage both parties to undertake negotiations rather than proceed with a trial. Again, this will depend on the circumstances of a particular case. In some cases, no agreement can be reached, and a verdict must be handed down.
When someone dies of causes that are not natural, and the death is due to someone’s error or negligence, the family may have a right to compensation for a variety of damages. If a loved one of yours has passed away in San Luis Obispo, reach out to our team of wrongful death attorneys to discover if you have the elements necessary for a successful lawsuit. We will review the details of your case at a free consultation and advise you of your options.
The post Steps to Take in a Wrongful Death Case appeared first on Ernst Law Group.