No matter what circumstance in life happens that leads you to a potential fight in the courtroom, you are probably right if you are thinking about hiring a lawyer.
Some things happen that need court appointments, that we can handle by ourselves thanks to previous encounters and experiences, but some will need a helping hand of a professional like a lawyer. These people have gone through years and years of education and practice to become what they are now and that shouldn’t be left out of sight. No matter how a certain thing looks banal and simple, numerous things can get complicated pretty fast and pretty bad. In those cases you will need a law firm, like powers-santola.com and many others, to help you out.
Today we are talking about wrongful death lawsuits and those are brought when neglect or the wrongful doing of another causes the death of an individual. These types of lawsuits are brought for decedents loved ones for certain types of damages that are caused when that individual passes away. Thanks to the complexity of the type of lawsuit and the different laws throughout the states and the country a good idea is to have a lawyer for these things.
So why do you need a lawyer for wrongful death lawsuits?
If you believe that there is something suspicious about the death of your loved one and that they might have died due to the negligence of someone else, you have the right to bring up a wrongful death lawsuit. What you need to do as a close family member is getting all the medical records of the deceased from the hospital or a doctor’s office that was treating or looking after the deceased. It is a simple process where you go to the institution, fill out paperwork that states you are indeed a close member of the deceased’s family and under the law they have the obligation, within a certain time, to release those medical files to you for further investigation that will determine if a cause of action may exist.
Do these cases require autopsy?
A wrongful death case does not require for an autopsy to be performed, and an autopsy if not performed in the first few days of a person death usually isn’t performed at all. This, of course, does not preclude a person from pursuing a wrongful death case. Lawyers here will help you use medical records to their full extent, usage of experts and expert’s testimony that will aid in establishing the cause of a person’s death and if they connect that to a person’s negligence you can pursue a wrongful death case with or without an autopsy.
Now we mentioned that the statutes are different in every state and country which is extremely important you have a lawyer to help you figure things out and tell you your options. In some states, the statute provides that any heirs of the deceased person can recover but it depends on who is living at the time of the death of the individual. An example of that would be – if the individual is married at the time of his/her death then the surviving spouse and their children (if they have them) can recover in the wrongful death lawsuit. If the individual isn’t married and does not have children at the time of his/her death then the parents and brothers or sister are entitled to have a claim. So as you can see it is a bit tricky and it all depends on the time a person dies and what their status at the time of the death was.
Another thing to know is that the heirs of the deceased do not divide the money they get from the lawsuit equally. It all depends on who is surviving at the time. Most of the time the family members agree among themselves how the money will be divided but if they can’t reach an agreement the law requires the judge to hold a hearing and have all the heirs come to court to testify to their relationship that they had with the deceased.
What if the deceased had a will?
Another thing that can get a little complicated, and that will require you to have a lawyer to explain and help, is the existence of a will behind a deceased. If a wrongful death lawsuit is successful and you get compensation, a will behind the deceased might complicate the division of the money. We say it might complicate because it all comes down to the underlying injury of the deceased. If a person dies instantly through the fault of someone else and the individual did not suffer any pain and suffering before their death, having a will, will not affect the money is divided amongst the surviving heirs. The reason behind that is the wrongful death action is designed to compensate those persons who living, for their loss of the deceased person. This also means that if, for instance, you have been excluded from the will, whether the will exists or not, it all depends on whether you can show that you had a loss and had a relationship with the deceased person before their death.
Where does the money go?
Lawyers will come in handy here as well, if for nothing else than to familiarize you with a couple of facts. In a purely wrongful death lawsuit, none of the money passes through the deceased person’s estate. It is not subject to recovery by creditors of an estate, it’s not subject to claims that people might have to the estate. These are some awesome things to know because there were cases when these claims from third parties happen and the hairs of the deceased didn’t know what to do, and even fell for some of the claims.
The bottom line
In any case, leading to a court or not, it is a smart thing, to yourself first, to have a lawyer whether present whether as an advising party. So many small things can pass you without noticing that can cause you to not get what is rightfully and by law yours. One example periods that must be complied with when filing a negligence action. The law is different from state to state and the lawyers know that the best. With firm periods for filing there can be exceptions as well and you need to have a lawyer that will advise you what to do and when to do it. You could have a wrongful death case for a family member and a lawyer might advise you, under certain circumstances, to file that lawsuit even before the expiration period.