While no accident is a welcome event, sometimes they are severe enough to result in death. Along with the trauma of losing a loved one, the family must deal with financial concerns while pursuing justice from those at fault. The confusion, stress, and grief can be overwhelming, and it can be difficult to know what needs to be done.
If you have lost someone recently due to the actions of another person, you need the help of an experienced West Memphis personal injury lawyer. At Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi PLC, our professional legal team will listen to your story and take care of the details to seek compensation, so you can grieve in peace.
Common Causes of Fatal Accidents
As our world moves faster each day, there are more opportunities for accidents that can seriously harm or even kill those we love. As West Memphis and the surrounding areas become home to more people, more cars are on the road creating risk for other drivers and pedestrians. Your loved one could also lose their life while on the job, meaning the employer might be to blame.
There are a number of accidents that can easily result in the death of their victims, even when that death does not happen right away. Some common ones are:
- Car or truck crashes
- Crimes such as assault, domestic violence, or robbery
- Defectively manufactured products
- Medical malpractice
- Motorcycle or bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents while running, walking, or skateboarding/skating
- Slip-and-fall incidents at stores or in someone’s home
- Workplace accidents, especially on construction sites
In the most severe cases, the person will pass away immediately or just after the accident. However, it is common that the victim lives for a short while and dies in the days or weeks afterward. Regardless of when the death occurs, you may still choose to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against those at fault.
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How a Fatal Accident Lawyer in West Memphis Can Help
The list of actions for filing a claim can be overwhelming in less devastating situations, so it is understandable that you will be at a complete loss in the event of a death. Dealing with the legal complexities, insurance companies, and funeral preparations can be so confusing that you may put off pursuing compensation. However, acting quickly with the help of a qualified fatal accident lawyer is the best way to ensure your needs are taken care of while you grieve.
Tennessee has a 1-year statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit, which means you must file within one year of the date of death. Because it can take months to gather the necessary evidence to prove negligence or fault, it is critical that you begin the process as soon as possible. Once you engage a lawyer, they will handle much of the details and paperwork for you.
This lightens your burden so you can tend to your remaining family’s needs with the confidence that your legal counsel is looking after you. Your lawyer can work to build your case by providing services such as:
- Investigating the accident
- Collecting reports from police, doctors, and other sources
- Gathering photos, videos, and statements from witnesses to the accident
- Communicating with all insurance companies and opposing lawyers
- Calculating damages, both economic and non-economic
- Build a case for compensation on your behalf
- Negotiating settlements that meet your family’s needs
- Developing a strategy if the case moves to trial
- Keeping you updated on what is happening and how you can best help your case
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Calculating Damages to Seek in a Wrongful Death Claim
When someone you love dies unexpectedly, it throws your entire world into turmoil. In addition to processing your grief, you must often help others deal with their emotions. If the person was the breadwinner in the family, you will wonder how you can continue to provide for everyone.
While every claim is unique, there are some factors that can influence how much compensation you may seek. In trial cases, the age of the victim, severity of the injuries prior to death, and actions of the responsible party can all affect a jury’s decision to award full damages. In the worst cases, they may even award punitive damages (meant to be especially harsh).
Economic damages are tangible costs your family has endured and can include items such as medical costs incurred if the loved one did not die immediately. Funeral costs are another economic loss, as well as lost income if the victim was vital to the household earnings. Non-economic damages cover things such as the pain and suffering endured when the deceased lingers before dying, and the pain their family experiences.
Other damages to consider include:
- Travel for medical treatment, perhaps to special facilities
- Hospital bills
- Surgery costs
- ER and ICU expenses
- In-home or assisted living facility nursing care
- Property damage if a vehicle was involved
- Loss of future income or inheritance potential
- Lost wages of family members who performed caretaking before the death
Examples of non-economic damages you can sue for include:
- Mental anguish and grief
- Loss of companionship for partners and children
- Physical pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
While you are able to pursue the full amount of any economic losses you experience in Tennessee, the state does limit the amount of non-economic damages that can be rewarded to $1 million in a wrongful death case. Tennessee also uses a modified comparative fault system, which means that if the deceased was 50% or more at fault for the accident, then no damages are awarded. Your fatal accident attorney in West Memphis can guide you in understanding how these technicalities may affect you.
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How Long does a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Last?
While you must file in Tennessee within one year of the death, the lawsuit itself can last anywhere from several months to years. The details of the accident and resulting death may take a long time to examine. Negotiations between lawyers and with insurance companies often get drawn out in an effort to exhaust both the energy and finances of the victim’s family.
When a case is very clearly the fault of another party, then a good deal of time may be spent on determining the exact amount of liability each defendant should bear. Keep in mind that defendants may also attempt to show that the victim themselves bore some responsibility for the accident.
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Contact a West Memphis Fatal Accident Attorney Today
The loss of a loved one by an accident is devastating and can leave you bewildered on how to proceed to win justice. To learn how you can seek compensation for the loss and grief your family is suffering, rely on a West Memphis fatal accident lawyer with the law offices of Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi PLC. Contact us today through our convenient online form to schedule your free consultation.