Losing a loved one is difficult no matter the circumstances, but can be especially overwhelming when their death is untimely and avoidable. If you have lost a loved one because of someone else’s misconduct, consult with a lawyer from Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu, and Montesi PLC to discuss the potential for a wrongful death claim and financial settlement. Though money cannot bring your loved one back, it can bring financial relief as you adjust to your changed situation.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
When a person dies because of someone else’s negligence, carelessness, or intentional actions, the victim’s loved ones may have a wrongful death claim. This means that even accidents can lead to wrongful death claims if a person dies because of that accident.
Wrongful death claims yield a financial settlement compensating the victim’s loved ones for the many losses they have and will continue to suffer as a result of the victim’s death.
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Under What Circumstances Can I File a Wrongful Death Claim?
When a person who could have filed a personal injury claim against another person or party dies as a result of the injuries caused by that other party, the loved ones of the victim can file a wrongful death claim.
The specific circumstances that prompt the claim are varied. For example, a person could suffer a wrongful death because of a reckless driver, a malfunctioning airbag, an assault, medical malpractice, a slip-and-fall event resulting from poorly maintained property, and a range of other circumstances.
Wrongful Death and Criminal Cases
If a person is killed by another person’s criminal act, the victim’s loved one can file a wrongful death suit whether that perpetrator is found guilty in criminal court or not. Wrongful death claims are civil cases. There is a lower standard for proving guilt in civil cases than in criminal cases. Parties found guilty in wrongful death cases will not face incarceration as they would in criminal cases, but must pay for their actions financially.
Though the outcome of a civil case is not contingent on the verdict in a criminal case and vice versa, there are points of connection. For example, the evidence used in a criminal case can also support a wrongful death claim. If a party admits fault in a civil wrongful death claim, that admission may make a conviction for the crime more likely in criminal court.
A wrongful death lawyer, however, cannot bring criminal charges against the liable party. That authority rests with the state prosecutor.
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What Are the Legal Qualifications for a Wrongful Death?
Each state has its own wrongful death statutes denoting the process for filing wrongful death actions.
In general, plaintiffs must prove the following for a bringing successful wrongful death action:
- A person died.
- The person’s death was caused by another person’s negligence or intentional action.
- The victim’s surviving family members have suffered financially because of their loved one’s death.
- There is a personal representative for the victim’s estate.
Though this process may appear straightforward, laws and the legal process are complex. Navigating statutes and procedures requires legal expertise. For a successful outcome, put your case in the hands of a skilled lawyer from Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu, and Montesi PLC.
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Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
State statutes establish who can file a wrongful death claim, and generally allow for the following representatives:
- Surviving spouse
- Immediate family members
- Parents (in some circumstances)
- People who suffer financially from the victim’s death
- The victim’s legal representative
Even if the victim’s legal or personal representative files the claim, the decedent’s surviving spouse and children are the first to receive compensation should they apply. If you intend to file a wrongful death claim, consult with a wrongful death lawyer to ensure you have the authority to file and to review all legal options.
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What Compensation Can I Receive in a Wrongful Death Claim?
The amount of your settlement depends on factors specific to the case, such as the age of the victim, the amount of the victim’s potential future earnings, and the amount of the potential inheritance from the victim.
Intangible factors, including the emotional distress of the victim’s survivors and loss of affection and consortium, are also considered.
Survivors can also expect to recover end-of-life expenses and any related medical expenses.
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What if the Victim Is Partially at Fault for the Fatal Event?
Depending on your state’s negligence laws, compensation can be reduced or denied based on the victim’s degree of fault for the event that caused their death. In modified comparative states, such as Tennessee and Arkansas, if a victim is more than 49% responsible for the event, survivors will not receive compensation. If victims are less than 49% at fault but still own a percentage of the blame, compensation is reduced to reflect that percentage.
In pure comparative states, such as Mississippi, survivors can receive compensation even if victims are more than 49% at fault. However, their compensation is reduced by their percentage of fault. If the victim holds 70% of the responsibility for the event, survivors will receive 30% of the total valued compensation.
A wrongful death lawyer from Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu, and Montesi PLC will ensure responsible parties do not get away with inflating the victim’s degree of fault to avoid paying compensation.
How Will a Wrongful Death Lawyer Manage My Case?
You are more likely to have a successful case and see higher compensation when an attorney handles your wrongful death claim. As a legal expert, your lawyer will prepare and file all required documents accurately and within your state’s statute of limitations. Your lawyer will investigate the specifics of the case to determine the value of the case, who should be held liable for your loved one’s death, and will collect comprehensive evidence to prove that party’s negligence.
Your Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu, and Montesi PLC lawyer will also serve as a fierce advocate for you and your family during settlement negotiations to ensure you receive fair compensation. If a reasonable offer is not forthcoming, your lawyer will represent you at trial proceedings should you take your case to court.
How Can I Contact a Wrongful Death Lawyer?
Knowing you have a skilled legal representative fighting for you during such tragic, uncertain times will bring you peace of mind and the promise of financial relief. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced, compassionate lawyer from Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu, and Montesi PLC, simply visit the contact site to call or submit a message. We will respond promptly and will maintain consistent communication as your case progresses.