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. 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.
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 and 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 your accident. They know you are at your most vulnerable at this time. They want to settle your claim before you can consult an attorney or even a doctor regarding your injuries. 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, consult your doctor and seek the advice of counsel before accepting any money or signing any documents from the insurance company. Once you sign a release, your claim is over. If you change your mind, or your injuries worsen, the insurance company will not be responsible for any additional payment on your claim.