No one ever wants to find themselves in a situation where they have lost a family member. Feelings can be overwhelming and devastating.
There are over 150,000 unintentional deaths each year in the United States. If there is a person responsible for the death of your loved one, there is a way to get financial compensation for their death.
With devastating emotions, there can also be financial troubles that come along with this situation. Read on to find out the first 5 steps in a wrongful death lawsuit.
What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Before we find out about how to file a wrongful death lawsuit, let’s discover what a wrongful death lawsuit is. In simple terms, this is the legal action that can be taken when a person dies as a result of negligence committed by another person or entity.
This is a civil lawsuit in which an individual files the claim. This differs from a criminal case where the state files the claim.
The First Steps in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The process of litigation can be lengthy. There are many steps when it comes to pursuing legal action in any situation. The following considers the steps in pre-litigation.
1. Hire a Lawyer
The first step you should take is to look into hiring a wrongful death lawyer. These professionals will help guide you through the process with the most accurate and efficient information.
It is likely that you already feel a bit lost and like you have no control. Enlisting the help of a lawyer will give you a better sense of direction in this confusing time.
2. Find Out if You Are Eligible
As with any legal matter, certain requirements must be met by the person who is filing the lawsuit. Depending on your state, the requirements may differ.
In California, these are the people who are eligible to file:
- Surviving spouse
- Surviving children
- Surviving domestic partner
- Financial dependents
3. Is Wrongful Death Applicable
If you are eligible to file, you need to find out if a wrongful death lawsuit claim is the appropriate route to pursue. Your lawyer will help you figure out the unique circumstances that surround your situation.
Several situations may qualify for a wrongful death lawsuit such as:
- Intentional killing or homicide
- Medical malpractice
- Auto accidents
Remember there is a statute of limitations. In California, you have two years to file your claim from the accident.
4. Prove Negligence or Intent
Once you understand what qualifies, you’ll need to prove the wrongdoing. Now, you need to compile the evidence that proves the responsible party is guilty. Again, a lawyer is your best bet when it comes to finding help in these situations.
Evidence needs to be gathered before the litigation process begins.
5. File Documents
Now that you have determined you want to pursue legal action and you have properly prepared yourself, you will need to file the claim. To commence the lawsuit, you must file a notice and complaint.
Compensation for Your Loss
Obviously, a person is never replaceable with money. However, the death of a loved one can lead to financial hardship. There is no reason you should suffer emotionally and financially. With these first steps in a wrongful death lawsuit, you are on your way to healing without the struggle of low finances.
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