Do Personal Injury Lawyers Help in Wrongful Death Claim?
Death. It is a painful experience in life, and an unexpected loss can devastate a family.
Unfortunately, this may be more common than you think for these deaths. In the United States, there are over 200,000 unintentional injury deaths annually.
These types of deaths can lead to wrongful death cases. If you think a loved one suffered a wrongful death, then you need to look into hiring a Houston wrongful death attorney.
Here is your guide.
What Is a Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death is when the family of a loved one that passed away is seeking compensation for a death caused by negligence. That would mean that this is a civil lawsuit case in which the defendant has to prove that their actions or lack of actions did not cause this death.
It is important to note for both sides that this is a civil case rather than a criminal case. So, that means the burden of proof is much lower than in a criminal case.
The Texas Penal Code states that defendants have to have a preponderance of evidence to be ruled not guilty in their cases. In a civil case, it is generally assumed that about 51% of the evidence has to prove that the defendant was negligent. However, in a criminal case, there has to be proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty.
This means that because the burden of proof is lower in civil cases, this will favor you, the plaintiff.
Things You Need to Win
When it comes to wrongful death cases, there are three things that you will likely need to win your case.
The first thing that you need is to prove negligence, and you need to prove that the defendant had negligent actions that caused a death in this situation.
For example, let’s say your loved one died in a car accident because a drunk driver was driving the other car, and this was an act that caused impaired driving.
While that person did not intentionally mean to kill your loved one in this situation, impaired driving leads to you not being able to make the best decisions or have the fastest reactions on the road. When you are driving a vehicle at high speeds, not having these things can easily result in the downfall of an innocent victim.
The second thing you need to prove is that the defendant violated the breach of duty they had to your loved one. When it comes to a death caused by a car accident, that would mean the driver of the other car was driving safely when it happened.
In a situation where a drunk driver causes a death, the breach of duty would be violated here. When driving on the road, drivers have a breach of duty of obeying the speed limit, not driving under the influence, and driving safely in general. So, in this instance, the breach of duty is violated.
The last thing you need is proof that you are entitled to damages, which would be the financial compensation you receive because of a wrongful death.
So, how can a lawyer help you in this situation? Getting the proper financial compensation for the wrongful death is an excellent place to start.
You see, going about this by yourself could result in leaving money on the table, and that is because lawyers tend to know what you are entitled to in these cases better than you do.
For example, let’s say you are filing a wrongful death lawsuit because of medical malpractice. You want to get the money back for all of the medical bills that resulted from this, plus maybe a little extra for pain and suffering.
However, a lawyer steps in and tells you that you are entitled to even more money. The money you may have forgotten about here is money lost from all of the time your loved one had to miss work and all of the money lost in future earnings for your family.
This could be an essential addition if your loved one were your family’s head of the household. Assuming that your loved one was middle-aged and made a decent living, you could be compensated for decades of lost future earnings. That can mean not worrying about supporting the family for the rest of your life.
So, the point here is that lawyers are more likely to get you everything you are financially entitled to than going about it on your own.
The next thing that a lawyer can help you with is providing proof. In these types of situations, the defendant may be resistant to taking responsibility for the wrongful death. They may even get aggressive with you if they have a lawyer or a team of lawyers ready to go.
This can especially be the case when trying to go after a large business or an insurance company. Attorneys are usually prepared for these situations, so going about this on your own with no legal help can be very difficult.
Hiring a lawyer here allows you to have some legal muscle in your corner. More importantly, an attorney could get you the proof that you need to win your case. This is because lawyers have a better idea of what to look for, are better at investigating for evidence, and have more experience doing so.
You may have difficulty getting proof to win your case on your own, and with a lawyer, that chance increases significantly.
Another thing you will want a lawyer for is negotiating your compensation. Since lawyers have likely had a lot of experience with these types of cases, they are likely to have sharp negotiating tactics compared to the average person.
This can be the thing that you need to get all of the compensation that you deserve.
For example, the defendant’s legal team may try to start you off with a low offer and see if you bite. If you are inexperienced in these cases, you may consider it a good offer and take it.
However, a good lawyer can sniff these offers out and pressure the defendant to do better if they want to settle. You need someone to keep a sharp eye out for this and someone that is going to get every bit of compensation possible here.
Part of this is that lawyers have personal motivation to get as much money as possible from the defendant. That is because they are likely charging you a contingency fee for this case.
The lawyer takes a certain percentage of your winnings as a fee for their services, which typically ranges from 33-40% of your settlement.
However, the pressure is on because if your lawyer goes on to lose your case, it is likely that they will not get anything for working on your case. Lawyers are betting on themselves to win the case for you, so they will be motivated to negotiate successfully.
Finally, because you have a legal mind on your side, you are going to get the legal counsel that you need for your case. While you may be entitled to compensation, you likely have no idea how to strategically go about getting it, and this is where a lawyer comes in.
They can give you the counsel that you need to use the right tactics when going about this case. These types of cases tend to be handled a little more carefully, so it is essential to approach these cases methodically.
Take the time to go over this with your lawyer and approach them with any ideas and guidance you need.
Hire a Houston Wrongful Death Attorney
The events leading up to the death of your loved one were tragic, and they may have been killed because of a negligent act.
A Houston wrongful death attorney can help you get the justice and compensation you deserve. They can offer you legal counsel, negotiation skills, investigative skills, and more.
Do you need legal representation for your wrongful death case? Message us today for a free consultation.