A wrongful death lawsuit can be brought by the survivors of someone who has died as the result of negligence by an individual or business entity. Even in cases of deaths by murder or homicide when the perpetrator has been convicted in criminal court, survivors can still sue the perpetrator for monetary damages, as in the O.J. Simpson case.
Wrongful death claims, however, are most often used against corporate defendants who cannot be prosecuted on criminal charges. For example, if someone in your family were killed by a defective drug, the pharmaceutical company could not be prosecuted on criminal charges. Instead, you could hold the company accountable by filing a wrongful death lawsuit in civil court and seeking monetary damages for the death of your loved one.
In wrongful death cases, you can sue for economic damages, which compensate for the lost economic worth of the deceased relative’s life, such as lost earnings. You can also seek non-economic damages, commonly known as pain and suffering, which compensate for such things as emotional suffering and loss of consortium. In certain cases, where the defendant showed a “reckless disregard” for the deceased person’s safety, you may be entitled to seek punitive damages, which are intended to punish the defendant, deter future reckless conduct and keep others safe from injury or death.
Whether you have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit, and how much you can expect to recover in monetary damages from the case, depends on many factors. You should contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Powell Law to evaluate your case and determine if you have a viable claim. Don’t delay talking to a lawyer. Wrongful death lawsuits are subject to a two-year time limitation known as a statute of limitations. The clock starts ticking on the date of the death, and after it runs out, you forfeit your right to sue.
Also, you may be approached by the defendant’s insurance company with an offer to settle your case before you’ve had the chance to talk to a lawyer. It is likely that if they are making you an offer, they know you have a viable case and they want to settle it for far less than what it’s really worth. Our advice is don’t talk to any insurance company representatives and don’t sign anything. Your best course of action is to hire an experienced wrongful death attorney and let your lawyer do the talking.
While you can choose to pay your attorney on an hourly basis, most wrongful death lawyers handle cases on a contingent fee basis, which means that any fees are paid only after the case ends in a jury verdict or out-of-court settlement. If you don’t win, you don’t pay any fees. Most of our clients choose the contingent fee arrangement. Your attorney at Powell Law will explain the details and answer any questions you may have when you come in for an evaluation of your case.
If you or a family member has been killed by someone else’s wrongful conduct, contact us TODAY for a FREE evaluation of your case. Remember, you don’t pay any fees unless we win.