One of the unique aspects of personal injury law is that you can be compensated for injuries you endured from an accident, even if that accident resulted in death. If you have lost a loved one due to another person’s negligence, you have the right as the survivor to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
However, compared to car accidents or premises liability accidents, many people are not accustomed to filing a lawsuit for the wrongful death of a loved one. Because of this, you deserve to have a Bartlett personal injury lawyer from Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC, who is willing to fight by your side for your loved one’s compensation.
Penalties for Wrongful Death
Many people unfamiliar with wrongful death often confuse civil action with the criminal activities of homicide. While the verdicts of some wrongful death lawsuits can eventually lead to a criminal charge of homicide, the two actions are extremely different. A wrongful death lawsuit can only be filed in civil court, and the defendants can only be penalized financially for their wrongful actions.
Compared to homicide, the punishment usually results in long-term imprisonment and is usually filed in criminal court.
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Parties Who Can File Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Another key difference between the two actions is the parties who are allowed to file each charge. Homicide can only be filed by a prosecutor who acts on behalf of the state. A wrongful death lawsuit can only be filed by the survivors of the victim who was killed in the accident.
The ability to even file a wrongful death lawsuit is also limited. There are certain criteria for a wrongful death accident before the courts even consider approving a lawsuit.
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Accidents that Qualify for Wrongful Death Lawsuits
In general, any personal injury accident can result in wrongful death. What qualifies a personal injury accident as a wrongful death is the deliberate, negligent acts committed against a party who owed the victim of an accident a certain standard of care. If the negligent party committed a certain recklessness against the victim that resulted in the victim’s death, that accident could qualify as a wrongful death accident.
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The Elements of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
If you can file a lawsuit for your loved one’s wrongful death, you want to ensure that you receive the most favorable outcome from your lawsuit. To ensure that you and your family are rewarded the maximum amount of compensation from your lawsuit, you will have to efficiently prove the four elements of a wrongful death accident:
Standard of Care
The defendant you are suing for your loved one’s wrongful death must have been required to provide a certain standard of care towards your loved one. If your loved one’s accident was a motorcycle accident, for example, the other driver you are suing would be the party who owed your loved one a standard of care. The standard of care would be to drive their vehicle reasonably safely.
Violation of the Standard of Care
The next element you would have to prove is the defendant’s violation of that standard of care. Referring to the motorcycle accident, the other driver’s reckless actions would be an example of a violation of the standard of care they owed your loved one.
This element must be proven by showing a correlation between the defendant’s negligent actions and how those actions contributed to the death of your loved one. With your loved one’s hypothetical motorcycle accident, you would be responsible for showing how the other driver’s negligent driving actions contributed to their fatal accident.
This element would be proven by the damages that your loved one endured due to the accident. This is where your loved one’s death would be the prime example of the damages they endured from the accident.
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Steps of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Depending on the route you want your wrongful death lawsuit to take, your lawsuit will take several steps. If you decide to settle your wrongful death lawsuit, you will have time to mediate with the defendant’s insurance company and come to a mutual settlement offer that benefits you and your family. If the insurance company does not want to use other forms of mediation and meet you halfway in your lawsuit, you have the option of taking your lawsuit through a trial.
With a trial, you will be required to participate in discovery. Discovery is the step in a trial where all the evidence used will be presented and introduced to each side. Another process in the discovery process is a deposition, where each party is required to participate in a series of questioning by the opposing side’s attorney.
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How a Bartlett Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help
When you have suffered the loss of a loved one, your primary focus is grieving the loss of your loved one. You do not want to deal with the legal repercussions of your loved one’s negligent accident.
At the same time, you do not want to suffer financially due to an unfortunate accident that was no fault of your own. You want to ensure that justice is served for your loved one while you have the time to grieve properly. This is how a wrongful death attorney in Bartlett can help you and your family.
A Bartlett wrongful death lawyer can use their expertise to present the best case possible in your wrongful death lawsuit. One of the most difficult pieces of your wrongful death lawsuit involves proving the defendant’s fault. Your Bartlett wrongful death lawyer can use all of their resources to efficiently establish the other party’s fault.
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Losing a loved one to a fatal accident can be tragic. Allowing the parties responsible for your loved one’s fatal accident would be equally tragic.
At Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu, & Montesi PLC, our Bartlett wrongful death attorneys are ready and willing to fight fiercely for your loved one’s rights. Call our office, or submit our contact form to schedule a free initial consultation today.