Can You Sue if you Lose a Child to Wrongful Death?
Losing your child is an unimaginable experience that no parent should ever have to experience. Even more so, it is devastating when the accident was due to the negligence of another party.
More than 7,000 children and teenagers die each year due to accidents that another person could have prevented. If you recently lost your child and want to know what next steps you can take to remedy the situation, you may want to reach out to a wrongful death lawyer for more help.
What is a wrongful death attorney, and how can they help you during this difficult time? Continue reading below to learn about wrongful death cases, who can file a wrongful death lawsuit, and who you can reach out to for more help.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death is an unfortunate death of a loved one due to another person’s negligence. To prove that your loved one died of another person’s negligence, there has to be a duty of care and a breach of that duty.
For example, when it comes to auto accidents, each driver has the duty to drive with reasonable care. This means paying attention to the road and driving with the right state of mind.
Suppose a driver decides to get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs; they are not able to completely give their attention to driving, breaching their duty of care. If this person were to cause an accident and severely injure or kill someone, they would be considered negligent.
A few wrongful death examples include:
- Truck accidents
- Dog attacks
- Criminal incidents
The most common wrongful death lawsuit comes from car accidents. For example, when someone decides to text and drive, they breach their duty of care. Their inattention is negligent, which can also lead to accidental avoidable deaths.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Immediate family members can sue after the wrongful death of their loved one. This means that the deceased’s parents or spouse have the right to bring forth a wrongful death lawsuit.
Granted, your child is not of marrying age; you will be the primary person to file a wrongful death claim. If the parents are not able to file a wrongful death claim, then the representative of the deceased’s estate can file the lawsuit.
Can Anyone Else File the Wrongful Death Claim?
As mentioned earlier, the only other party that can file a wrongful death lawsuit is a court-appointed representative of the deceased’s estate. In order to appoint someone to represent the deceased’s estate, they must go through probate.
The court will review all the evidence and information before appointing someone to head the estate. If the representative decides to bring forth the wrongful death claim, any damages won from the lawsuit are held in the estate until the next surviving kin is found.
Should I Seek Legal Services for Wrongful Death?
If your loved one died at the negligence of another person, it is crucial that you at least reach out to a wrongful death lawyer for more information. The sooner you reach out to an attorney, the sooner they can start building the case against the other party. Your wrongful death lawyer will handle conducting the investigation and gathering the evidence needed to prove to the insurance company that their client’s negligence caused the accident.
Potential Damages You Can Claim in a Wrongful Death Claim
When suing for wrongful death, you have the opportunity to claim damages that account for the total value of your loved one’s life. For example, you can claim lost wages if your child was of working age. Those lost wages can be those lost when they were alive, and any wages the deceased was expected to make if your family depended on their wages.
With most wrongful death suits where the death is that of a child, there isn’t much of a direct economic loss unless the family depended on that income. However, you may be able to claim lost wages if your grief affected your income.
For example, those who lose their children may be incapable of working, or their performance at work may drop drastically, causing them to lose a promotion or their job altogether. If this is the case for you, you may be able to claim your lost wages caused by the mental impacts of your child’s wrongful death.
You can claim all medical bills incurred by your child before their death. If any costs are associated with the transport to and from the hospital, medication, or treatment costs, you can claim those on behalf of the deceased.
If you had to pay out of pocket for any funeral expenses, make sure you keep the receipts. When you work with a reputable wrongful death lawyer, they will make sure to go after the other party for the funeral costs.
Is There a Deadline for Wrongful Death Claims?
As with any personal injury claim, there are statutes of limitations. These statutes of limitations are deadlines that you have to file your wrongful death lawsuits.
In Texas, you have two years from the death of your child to file the claim. Even if you have two years to make your claim, it is best not to wait that long. The more time you give your wrongful death lawyer to build a strong case, the more chance you have at receiving the compensation your family deserves.
Benefits of Hiring a Lawyer
When you reach out to potential wrongful death lawyers to handle your case, check to see what their payment schedule is. Some attorneys offer their services on a contingency fee basis.
This means you won’t have to pay the wrongful death attorney anything unless your case wins. Even if you win, they will deduct their fees from the final settlement amount.
The Attorney Focuses on Your Case While You Heal
Instead of going up against the insurance company on your own during this difficult time, you can leave that task up to your attorney. The last thing you want to do is file paperwork, deal with court proceedings, and negotiate the worth of your child’s case with an insurance adjuster. You most likely want to focus on grieving, healing, and tending to your other family members during this time.
Losing your child is not only emotionally draining, but it is also physically draining. Instead of dealing with the tasks that come with presenting a wrongful death claim, you can let your legal team negotiate on your behalf and handle other tasks needed to bring your claim to closure.
Can Provide You With Legal Advice
After losing your child, your mind is most likely scattered and unsure of what next steps to take. Who do you need to call? What evidence do you need to gather? It may be challenging to focus, and you probably just want to heal.
When you work with a reputable wrongful death lawyer, they can help you with those next steps and provide you with legal advice. Your lawyer will be there to guide you and support you during this tough time. Your attorney will also ensure you don’t miss the statute of limitation.
Expert at Negotiating
When you’ve lost your loved one, you probably aren’t in the right mind to negotiate the worth of the case. Although an insurance adjuster may seem empathetic initially, they will try to offer you a settlement less than your family deserves. The adjuster may also make it seem like the offer is the best they can do when in reality, they can do more.
Wrongful death lawyers are aware of the tactics these adjusters use, and they also know how to negotiate the right amount for your claim. Wrongful death settlements can vary based on the circumstances of the death, so your lawyer will make sure to review all the available evidence and the circumstance of the situation to ensure they fight for the proper compensation for your family.
Get the Compensation Your Family Deserves
Losing your child at the negligence of another person is an emotionally and physically draining experience no one should have to endure. Your world has been turned upside down, and you are probably wondering what next steps you can take to bring your child to justice.
Thankfully, you can reach out to a reputable wrongful death lawyer to help you through this difficult time. If you need help with your wrongful death lawsuit, contact us. We offer free, no-obligation case evaluations and are here to support you.