Wrongful death occurs when carelessness or negligence causes the death of another person. An example of a wrongful death claim is where a person’s negligent driving results in a fatal crash. The surviving family of the deceased crash victim may bring a wrongful death claim to help them seek justice and hold the liable person accountable for their actions.
In such situations, the surviving family may be left feeling lost and wondering what to do. They may also be facing challenges in connection with the person’s passing, but might not understand what their legal options are in terms of recovery.
Seeking out the assistance of a wrongful death attorney can help provide clarity and direction. When choosing a lawyer, many find it helpful to come prepared with a list of questions to ask them.
Top Questions to Ask a Wrongful Death Attorney
At The Flood Law Firm, we understand how important it is to find the right attorney. The following are essential questions to ask a wrongful death attorney during an initial consultation or in preparation for a lawsuit.
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit is a specific type of legal action typically brought by the family members of a deceased victim against the party who caused their death. These types of lawsuits are similar to other injury lawsuits, with the exception that the negligence or recklessness resulted in the death of a person, not just physical injury.
The outcome of such legal action is usually a damages award that helps compensate the surviving family members for losses caused by the person’s death. In 2017, there were nearly 170,000 unintentional injury deaths on record. However, not everyone files a wrongful death lawsuit, often because they don’t know what their legal options are.
Who Can I File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against?
Wrongful death lawsuits can be brought against various parties, including:
- Individuals (such as in a fatal car accident)
- Businesses (such as when a product defect causes a death)
- Government agencies and other organizations
Wrongful death suits are separate from criminal proceedings, and the standard of proof is lower than in a criminal case. This means that it is typically easier to win a wrongful death case than it is to win a conviction in a criminal case.
What Type of Compensation Can it Cover?
Due to the emotional nature of wrongful death incidents, the family and loved ones may be hesitant about filing a lawsuit. However, there are several ways a wrongful death lawsuit can help the survivors. Filing a legal claim can:
- Help the family recover costs and expenses
- Hold the liable party accountable for their negligent actions
- Prevent further negligence from occurring — wrongful death lawsuits often form the basis for improvements in safety laws and standards
Thus, a wrongful death lawsuit can benefit not only the family of the deceased person but entire communities as well. In terms of compensation for the family, a wrongful death lawsuit can cover:
- Medical expenses
- Costs for funeral arrangements
- Loss of companionship and support
- Lost income (especially if the victim was the family breadwinner)
- Various other losses
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
Every state has a filing deadline for wrongful death claims, known as the “statute of limitations.” In the state of Connecticut, a person seeking to file a wrongful death lawsuit must file within two years of the date of the person’s death.
In certain situations, a lawsuit can still be filed even after the two-year limit has passed, if the case meets specific exceptions. However, overall, no wrongful death claim can be filed in Connecticut once five years have passed since the death.
Thus, if you’re considering filing a lawsuit on behalf of a deceased loved one, it’s important to discuss these deadlines with a wrongful death attorney. This will help ensure that you don’t miss your filing window.
What Does a Wrongful Death Attorney Do?
Wrongful death claims can often involve complex legal concepts that require the guidance of a legal expert. In handling such claims, a wrongful death attorney takes on several duties and responsibilities, which include:
- Researching the wrongful death laws in your state
- Explaining your options and rights under state laws
- Gathering evidence to help support your case
- Handling all legal forms, paperwork, and documents
- Advocating for your rights
- Representing you in court
Having a basic understanding of what a wrongful death attorney can further help you prepare your claim.
Is Experience Important?
As mentioned, wrongful death laws can be complicated. For this reason, when speaking with a wrongful death lawyer, you’ll want to inquire regarding their understanding of how such rules apply to you.
Besides knowledge of the law, wrongful death attorneys should also be skilled at interacting with their clients. Wrongful death claims can be highly distressing and emotionally challenging for the family members and loved ones. Legal assistance that is also full of care, empathy, and understanding only comes with time and experience, and can’t really be taught in law books.
Hire a Wrongful Death Lawyer at The Flood Law Firm
Pursuing legal action while dealing with the loss of a loved one can be difficult. Nothing can replace the loss of a close relative. At The Flood Law Firm, our attorneys have the experience and compassion that helps us understand our clients.
If your family has suffered losses from the wrongful death of a loved one, The Flood Law firm sympathizes with what you are going through. It can be straining to even think about a lawsuit while you grieve; however, due to filing deadlines and limitations, you may lose your chance for recovery if you wait too long.
Our team is on hand to provide the guidance and encouragement needed to pursue justice on your behalf. Contact us at (887) 987-9529 for a free, no-obligation consultation. We are here to make sure your family gets the justice they deserve.