Each year, hundreds of thousands of people are killed as a result of accidents or unintentional injuries. In many cases, these deaths are the result of another person’s negligence or misdeeds. In legal parlance, this is considered a “wrongful death” and is actionable in civil court.
A wrongful death case allows family members of the deceased to seek compensation for lost wages, funeral expenses, pain and suffering, and other financial liabilities. But to ensure your rights are adequately represented requires hiring wrongful death attorneys. Read on and learn what to consider when selecting a lawyer to file a wrongful death case.
1. Are You Hiring Wrongful Death Attorneys With the Right Experience?
An individual cannot file a wrongful death case in most states. You will need the assistance of an attorney who can file the lawsuit on your behalf.
When you begin to explore your options for legal advice, you’ll find many options for attorneys. Whether you find a lawyer through a family friend or by reading online reviews, it’s essential to hire an attorney with the right kind of experience to take on your case.
The methods, case law citations, and evidence presented are different for each type of case. You want to work with an attorney with vast experience winning cases similar to your own.
2. Understand All the Legal Fees
Winning a wrongful death case can help offset expenses you incur from the loss of a loved one, but fighting the case involves costs as well. Discuss the fee structure before you file the case, and make sure you are comfortable with the fees charged by your attorney. Each attorney has their approach and can give you an estimate of how much the case will cost.
Some attorneys work on a contingency model. In this scenario, the attorney recoups their fees from the settlement if you win. Other attorneys require a retainer and payment for each hour they work on the case.
Discuss all the options and compare attorney fees before you decide to move forward with your case.
3. Know How Long the Case Will Last
Depending on the type and complexity of your case, the process could take months or years before it is settled. Some cases require expert witnesses or medical records. The more complex the case, the longer it will take to present.
Talk to your attorney and ask for an estimate of how long the case will take. Many factors prevent them from giving an exact amount of time, but an experienced attorney will have some idea of how much time is required.
4. Don’t Underestimate the Value of Personality
A wrongful death case can take a long time to pursue and settle. You’ll work closely with your attorney for months preparing and presenting the case. No matter how much experience they have, it’s essential to work with someone you feel comfortable with.
You’re not looking for a new best friend, but you should work with an attorney who shares your goals and meshes with your personality. You will value their advice and trust their judgment more if you get along well.
5. Review Any Settlement Offers Carefully
Most people who win a wrongful death case receive a settlement offer. The terms and structure of the settlement will vary depending on the court’s ruling but beware of rushed concessions offered by the defendant. An insurance company or hospital may provide you with what seems like a lot of money to dispense with the suit quickly, but these amounts can be a fraction of what you’re entitled to.
Review all settlements with an attorney before you make a decision. In nearly every case, once you accept a settlement, you can no longer pursue additional damages.
Making the Right Decision
Hiring wrongful death attorneys is a big decision, and you’ll want to make sure you find the best lawyers for the case. Consider the type and length of experience of prospective attorneys and whether they have a successful record with your type of case.
Find an attorney who shares your goals, and that makes you feel confident about your case. Discuss the legal fees in detail and understand what the case will cost you financially. Always review settlement offers or communications from the defendant with your attorney to ensure your rights are protected.
To learn more about hiring an attorney and protecting your legal rights, please explore the rest of our site.