If you have recently had a close family member like a parent or spouse pass away, the grief and pain can be overwhelming. The situation can be even worse if you feel that the cause of your loved one's death was the negligence or wrongdoing of another individual. When you are faced with this type of scenario, you may be wondering about what a wrongful death lawsuit entails and what you need to do to file one. Get to know some of the important facts about wrongful death lawsuits, and then you can decide whether you should seek out wrongful death attorney services right away.
Wrongful Deaths Do Not Have to Be Intentional
Oftentimes, a grieving family does not know whether they can file a wrongful death lawsuit against someone because they do not believe the incident was intentional. An example of this is a doctor that made a mistake in the care they provided or a driver that accidentally hit a pedestrian because they were looking at their phone.
However, both of these cases would represent a valid wrongful death claim. Wrongful deaths do not need to be deaths that are caused intentionally. Wrongful death suits can be files in the case of accidental or intentional deaths.
Wrongful Death Suits Are Civil Proceedings
When a family files a wrongful death lawsuit, they are filing their case in civil court. This means that it is separate from any criminal charges that the person responsible for your loved one's death may face. Both a civil lawsuit and a criminal case can be filed against an individual at the same time. However, the criminal case will take precedence over any civil proceedings, meaning the criminal case will likely need to be completed prior to the civil case being seen before a judge.
Additionally, if a murder conviction is reached, a civil case may end up being a moot point, as the convicted murderer will be unable to generate the money to pay the sum that he or she owes the family of the deceased. This does not mean that the civil case should be dropped, only that a payout may not be possible in such cases.
Wrongful Death Suits Often Require a Lawyer
Wrongful death lawsuits can be somewhat complicated. You will need to gather up evidence that negligence, malicious intent, or reckless behavior caused your loved one's death. This can be a difficult process for you alone but can be quickened and eased by a lawyer stepping in to help.
Additionally, there is a great deal of paperwork to be filled out and the filed with the courts in order to file such a lawsuit. Wrongful death attorneys are fully educated and experienced in the laws related to wrongful death lawsuits and know the process of filing a case inside and out. And, of course, when your case comes up before the court, the lawyer will be responsible for presenting your case so that you do not have to do so.
Knowing these facts about wrongful death lawsuits, you can better determine if you should reach out to a wrongful death attorney for help.