Wrongful Death

Wrongful Death Attorney

Wrongful death claims can arise from a variety of sources; car accidents, tractor trailer collisions, slip and falls, nursing home neglect, day care neglect, etc. Regardless of the type of negligence which brought about the death of your loved one, these are serious claims which should be handled by an experienced attorney.

 

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The Facts About Wrongful Death Cases

Wrongful death claims and survival actions* typically involve instituting legal actions in both the Probate Court and the Circuit Court. Therefore, knowledge of how to handle claims in both courts is particularly important. Additionally, all settlements involving the death of an individual must be approved by the Court at a special hearing. The insurance company paying your loved one’s claim will hire an attorney to represent the insurance company’s interests in court at this legal proceeding. They will not retain an attorney on your behalf to ensure that your loved one’s interests are protected. Thus, it is critical to retain counsel as soon as possible after the loss of your loved in order to fully protect the rights of their Estate and their beneficiaries.

 

In addition to the reasons listed above, an attorney can often obtain more money for your loved one’s claim than you can obtain on your own. It is the goal of every insurance adjuster to minimize claims payouts to increase the profits of the company. Adjusters are often rewarded by their employers for resolving claims quickly for a minimal sum or no compensation at all to the injured claimant. Therefore, the goal and purpose of an insurance company is in direct conflict with your best interests. The job of your attorney is to obtain the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries. Your attorney’s sole job is to work on your behalf and fight the insurance company, in court if necessary, to obtain the best possible outcome for you. Your loved one’s Estate and its beneficiaries may also be entitled to an award of punitive damages in addition to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and ultimately, the loss of life. An attorney knows when to make a claim for punitive damages on your loved one’s behalf.

 

In addition, your loved one’s beneficiaries and Estate may be entitled to a recovery under multiple policies of insurance provided by other insurance carriers, who my provide coverage applicable to the claim. The attorneys at this firm have years of experience handling wrongful death and personal injury cases. We know how to assess the value of a case and we know how to locate other sources of recovery for you. This is where the services of an attorney prove to be most valuable. It is critical that you consult with an attorney prior to signing any document presented to you by an insurance company. Without an attorney, you may be signing away your right to additional compensation for the loss of your loved one.

 

*Survival actions are claims for the conscious pain and suffering of your loved one from the time of the accident until the time of death.

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Wrongful Death FAQ

The insurance company wants to send someone to my house to write me a check and settle my case. Should I accept the money?

 

It is the goal of every insurance adjuster to minimize claims payouts to increase the profits of the company. Adjusters are often rewarded by their employers for resolving claims quickly for a minimal sum or no compensation at all to the injured claimant. Therefore, the goal and purpose of an insurance company is in direct conflict with your best interests.

 

Insurance companies often send adjusters directly to your home with a checkbook in hand within days or hours of an accident. They know you are at your most vulnerable at this time. They want to settle your claim before you can consult an attorney. Under the laws of your state, you may have a period of years within which to bring your claim. Thus, there is no reason to feel pressure to accept a quick or unreasonable settlement offer. Take your time and seek the advice of counsel before accepting any money or signing any documents from the insurance company. Once you sign a release, the claim is over. If you change your mind, the insurance company will not be responsible for any additional payment on your claim. Additionally, you may subject yourself to claims by other beneficiaries for failure to properly pursue the claim on behalf of the Estate.

The insurance company wants me to give them a recorded statement. Should I do that?

 

Recorded statements are taken for the sole purpose of utilizing your own words against you at a later date. Even a seemingly innocent comment can be misconstrued and can be used to deny payment on a claim. These statements are recorded to preserve your testimony for use at trial. Under no circumstance should you ever provide a recorded statement without first seeking the advice of an attorney. In most instances, the recording can be avoided.

The insurance company wants me to sign a medical authorization. Should I do that?

 

Unlimited medical authorizations enable insurance companies to obtain and investigate the most personal information of your loved one, to include medical records, employment records, educational records, and financial records. They are used to find evidence which in many instances the insurance company will use against you to deny payment or reduce the recovery on the claim. Under no circumstance should you ever provide an unlimited authorization to an insurance company without first seeking the advice of an attorney. When you retain an attorney, the attorney will obtain only the records necessary to support the claim and will provide only those documents to the insurance company in order to protect the privacy of your loved one.

What is my wrongful death case worth?

 

Every case is different. The value of your case will turn on a variety of factors which your attorney can assess to determine a range of acceptable settlement values. In cases resulting in death, an attorney will make both a Survival Action* claim and a Wrongful Death claim. The value of each claim depends on many things, including the length of the medical care proceeding the death, the amount of any medical expenses, the conduct of the defendant, the age of your loved one at the time of death, the earning capacity of your loved one, educational and employment background, and the jurisdiction in which your case would be filed, and many other factors.

 

You cannot determine the value of your case based on a simple formula nor should you evaluate your case based upon stories of settlements obtained from unreliable sources or even settlements obtained by friends and relatives under different circumstances. No two cases are alike and each should be evaluated on its individual merits by an attorney with experience in handling personal injury claims in your area.