What is the Process of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

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Yes, a wrongful death lawsuit is a real thing, and a very important one at that. Unfortunately, not many people know much about what a wrongful death lawsuit entails, or even the process involved.

Other than lawyers or those with a legal background, most people have a rather foggy view of the exact happenings in such situations as this.

What is a wrongful death lawsuit?

Wrongful death is a situation that results in the death of someone due to the negligence or misconduct of another person. [1]

A few examples of scenarios where this holds up include –

  • An intentionally killed victim
  • A death caused by medical malpractice
  • A car crash caused by negligence
  • Manufacturing defects that led to a victim’s death

Whatever the scenario, what matters is that the plaintiff can hold the defendant liable for the death claim.

Who can file such a claim?

A wrongful death claim is usually filed by a representative of the deceased’s “eligible survivors” who bore the brunt of the victim’s death. These “eligible survivors” vary, depending on the state and their laws.

The one constant is that the “spouse, children, or parents of unmarried children” fall into this category. It becomes a tougher distinction to make in cases where the children are adults or when it involves extended family members.

What to do before the actual investigation begins

The first phase will be hiring an attorney for representation in the law court. The attorney in question must have investigated every single detail, document, and individual that is associated with the deceased before proceeding to the next phase.

This phase includes getting experts in the potential viability of a claim. Together, they will figure out if it’s worth fighting for or not.

The legal research

The next phase involves vast research on the different possible scenarios that could have occurred.

Top on the to-do list will be to verify if a law policy covers the situation since there are several hidden and underlying facts that might be unknown.

Filing a claim

Here, a legal document is given to the defendant. This is referred to as a “Complaint”.  It allows the plaintiff to make their claims. It details the facts and the reasons why the plaintiff thinks they are entitled to a favorable outcome in the case.

The complaint is filed with the court and the defendant also gets a copy. The court then allows the defendant to respond within a given period.

Moving on

The defendant can either answer or present a document that dismisses the motion. This means the defendant disagrees with the allegations tendered against him or her and is asking to take out these declarations against their person.

The judges can grants requests, depending on how the case is turning out. The defendant might have a ground for a quick appeal.

Investigation proper

At this point, the case is in trial and both parties now begin intense preparation. No stones are left unturned and any evidence that can be in favor of any party is brought to the table.

On the day of trial, intense back and forth between the opposing attorneys take place. A jury will sit in for this. It typically takes time.

It doesn’t end there. Even after the verdict is passed, some party with apparent grievances or doubts on the authenticity of the information presented could appeal the case. It’s typically a lot of back and forth.

Eventually, the court gives a verdict established on various legal grounds that have been reviewed.

Hopefully, this was helpful to you. If you need the services of a legal representation, perhaps a personal injury attorney, to file a wrongful death lawsuit, contact us at Erjavec Law or call 941-907-1133.