Wrongful Death Cases FAQs
The Rochesterwrongful death claim attorneys at the Law Offices of Scott C. Gottlieb & Associates, LLP, are ready to answer your questions and discuss your claim. There is no charge for the initial consultation and claim evaluation. Contact us today at 800-TALK-LAW (800-825-5529) or fill out our online contact form.
Most lawsuits, including wrongful death claims, are settled before trial. Some cases settle prior to the filing of a lawsuit, while others settle during the court proceeding or even at the courthouse door, just before trial. A wrongful death case, if it proceeds to trial, could last several years. One who pursues a wrongful death case should understand from the beginning that there is no guarantee of a quick resolution. However, a well-prepared case is often settled without ever having to go to court.
Many lawyers will agree to handle wrongful death cases and survival actions on a contingency fee basis. In these situations, the attorney will not charge an hourly rate for his or her services, but instead will be paid a percentage of any money recovered in a judgment or settlement. The Law Offices of Scott C. Gottlieb & Associates, LLP, will often pay the expenses of the case and wait to be reimbursed until the successful conclusion of the claim. The law says that disbursements of the case are ultimately the client’s responsibility. In a successful case, the disbursements are paid from the proceeds of the claim at the end of the case.
If someone injured in an accident then dies because of those injuries, that person’s relatives may recover money through a lawsuit. If a person with a personal injury claim dies from unrelated causes, in most cases the personal claim survives and may be brought by the executor of the deceased person’s estate.
What is the difference between the civil and criminal cases that can be brought regarding someone’s wrongful death?
A criminal case comes to be when the government seeks to punish an individual for an act considered to be a crime. On the other hand, a civil case usually has to do with a dispute over the rights and duties that individuals and organizations legally owe each other. The burden of proof is higher in a criminal case, and the penalty imposed is a criminal sanction. In a civil case, the defendant will usually have a monetary judgment entered against him or her. This judgment is often covered by insurance.
Some of the damages that could be recovered in a wrongful death case include:
- Costs associated with the death, such as medical and funeral expenses
- Loss of the decedent’s future earnings
- Loss of benefits such as pension, medical coverage, etc.
- Loss of guidance and advice to children
- Loss of household services to the decedent’s spouse
- The decedent’s pain and suffering.
Generally, a wrongful death claim has to do with an action that may be brought by certain family members of a person whose death was caused by someone else’s wrongful conduct. The wrongful act that led to the death may have been negligent, intentional or reckless. In cases where a dangerous product caused the death, it might not be necessary to show unlawful conduct in order to receive compensation. This is known as strict liability.
Yes. In addition to the wrongful death, a decedent’s family could be entitled to damages for the conscious pain and suffering that the victim endured prior to death.
A surviving husband or wife may pursue a wrongful death claim for their deceased spouse. If there is no surviving spouse, the decedent’s children may pursue the case. If the decedent does not have a surviving spouse or children, the decedent’s parents may file the claim. Absent those relations, another relative or individual may be appointed as administrator of the decedent’s estate to pursue the case on behalf of the estate.
Yes, even if the deceased never held a job outside the home, that person likely contributed in some other way to the family. A good example is a stay-at-home mother who provides guidance, service and nurturing to her family. These things are quantifiable as “pecuniary losses” in a wrongful death case. Wrongful death cases can also be brought on behalf of children and other family members who did not earn an income through a job outside the home.