Wrongful death lawsuits can be extremely sensitive and complicated. After all, these lawsuits occur when a person loses his or her life due to the negligent or reckless actions of another individual. There are no two wrongful death cases that are exactly alike. Now, there is a basic process that consists of three primary steps for all wrongful death claims. Keep reading to learn more about the general process of a wrongful death case.
Step #1: Name a Personal Representative
Since the primary plaintiff of the case is unable to speak for him or herself any longer, the individuals who are bringing the lawsuit will need to appoint a personal representative. The personal representative is a person who will act as the sole legal representative of the now deceased's interests. This person will also designate who is able to be named as next of kin and compile financial and medical records that may meet the criteria as damages in the event that there is a favorable verdict.
Step #2: Filing a Legal Claim
The next step consists of filing the actual legal claim. Your wrongful death attorney will submit what is known as a request for settlement to the opposing party. As a general rule, the defendant will not settle the case, leading to your attorney filing a formal wrongful death lawsuit. With a lawsuit in place, discovery will begin to take place. The process of discovery involves both sides exploring the legal case from various angles, deposing witnesses, accessing paperwork and records, etc.
Step #3: Attending Mediation
Before a wrongful death case actually goes to trial inside of a courtroom, both sides will often sit down and attempt to reach a suitable settlement. In the event that a settlement can successfully be reached, the wrongful death case will come to a conclusion. However, if a mutually agreeable settlement cannot be arrived at by both parties, then the case will move on to trial at court. No matter what, your wrongful death attorney will be by your side every step of the way.
It can be difficult to determine if you have a legitimate wrongful death claim on your hands. If you have lost a loved one in an auto accident, as a result of medical malpractice or product defect, or something else entirely and believe that reckless or negligent actions are to blame, time is of the essence due to statute of limitations. Consult with wrongful death law firms like Forstman & Cutchen LLP as soon as possible.