If another person or entity is responsible for the death of your loved one, you may be able to bring a claim against the person or entity responsible for that death by filing a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death lawyer can work with you to help recover money that you or your family may be entitled to due to your loved one’s death. Prior to hiring an attorney, you should sit down with them for what is known as a consultation. During this consultation, you should have a list of questions to ask the attorney. The questions you ask will help guide you to the attorney who you feel is best suited to represent you in this emotional type of lawsuit. Here are a list of important questions you should as a wrongful death attorney during a consultation.
What is Your Experience Handling Wrongful Death Claims?
The first question that you want to ask a wrongful death attorney is what their experience is with handling wrongful death claims. Will you be the first wrongful death claim that they are trying or will you be their hundredth? Experience is important when it comes to these cases, so always look for an attorney who has experience and a proven track record for successfully recovering money for wrongful death cases.
Do I Have a Wrongful Death Claim?
Another important question to ask the a wrongful death attorney during an initial consultation is whether they feel that you have a wrongful death claim. Not everyone is eligible to file a wrongful death claim. As such, you may not be a party eligible to file. On top of this, certain criteria must be provable to have a compensable case, or a case that can be won. If an attorney does not feel like you have a case that you can win, they will likely not want to take on your case. While no attorney can guarantee that you can win a case, you want to find an attorney who believes that you have a case you can win.
What Damages Can I Recover in This Wrongful Death Claim?
When it comes to wrongful death claims, the circumstances surrounding your case may vary from the circumstances surrounding someone else’s case. As such, you always want to ask a lawyer what damages they feel you may be entitled to based on the circumstances for your case. There may be economic damages or losses in your case, pain and suffering and medical expenses may come into play if your loved one did not pass away immediately, loss of consortium and the destruction of capacity to enjoy life’s activities may all come into play. An attorney should be able to tell you what types of damages they anticipate working to recover in your case.
What Challenges or Outcome Do You Think We Will Encounter With This Case?
A wrongful death attorney cannot successfully predict the outcome of every case they take on. However, an experience lawyer should be able to tell you what challenges they anticipate happening with your particular case and what they expect the outcome to be. For example, if someone was arrested for a DUI that led to your loved one’s death, your case may be delayed until the criminal trial is over. A great lawyer should be able to tell you early on what obstacles your case may present and whether they think the case will be settled relatively quickly or take a while to go to trial.
What is the Statute of Limitations For Filing a Wrongful Death Claim?
Every state has a statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is essentially the deadline you have for filing a case against the party you feel is responsible for your loved one’s death. If your case is not filed before this deadline, you will be unable to ever bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party. The reasons states have statute of limitations is because evidence is hard to obtain and gather on older cases, so forcing someone to file a case relatively quickly helps to ensure both parties can present or defend their lawsuit. Always ask a wrongful death attorney when the statute expires for your case to ensure your claim is filed before that date.
Why Are You the Best Attorney For This Wrongful Death Claim?
The final question you should ask a wrongful death attorney during an initial consultation is why they feel they are the best attorney for your case. Some attorneys may have a personal connection to wrongful death cases. They may feel passionate about them due to a loss they suffered at some point in their life. Other attorneys may want to help people who have suffered a loss and need legal help at this challenging point in their life. You want to find out why your attorney handles these types of cases and what they feel sets them apart from many of their peers who also handle wrongful death cases. While there is not a wrong or right answer to this question, asking this question will help you to potentially build a personal bond with the attorney and determine which lawyer you feel you can trust, communicate with and depend on.
If your loved one recently passed at due to someone else’s actions or neglect, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the party or entities responsible. A wrongful death lawyer can be an invaluable resource to help guide you through this process at a time when you are likely still grieving and coming to grips with your loved one’s death. Having a compassionate and knowledgeable attorney helping you can make a world of difference. Sitting down for a consultation with different law firms and asking the above questions allows you to learn about different lawyers and select the one you not only feel comfortable with, but the one who has the experience and knowledge to help with your case.