Wrongful Death FAQ
When a family member dies suddenly, that’s hard enough to try to endure. But when that death occurs due to the negligence of someone else, that can be even worse – and for some, it’s simply too much to bear. Tragically, these types of deaths occur far too often, due to car accidents, motorcycle accidents, and other terrible events.
If you suffered the loss of a loved one due to an accident caused by someone else, the attorneys with McEwen & Kestner are ready to provide the skilled legal representation you need. No amount of money could ever make up for the tragic loss you’ve suffered, of course. However, filing a wrongful death lawsuit may help you achieve justice, holding those responsible for the death accountable for their actions.
We’ve been in practice for a long time, and we’ve represented clients in cases similar to yours. As you might expect, we field a lot of questions regarding wrongful death lawsuits on a regular basis. The following are answers to some of the more common questions we receive.
Q: How common is wrongful death after a personal injury accident?
Unfortunately, all too common. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there were 200,955 unintentional deaths in 2020. The following are the numbers of fatalities in some of the types of personal injury accidents that occur on a regular basis.
- Accidental poisoning – 87,404
- Slip and fall – 42,114
- Car accidents – 40,698
Q: Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit on a loved one’s behalf?
Most states allow certain family members of the victim of an accident caused by negligence to file a wrongful death lawsuit. But the law can differ significantly regarding which specific family members can sue, and when they can do it.
In most cases, the spouse of the deceased, as well as the parents of a minor child, can take legal action. When it comes to other family members, however, the law in different states can vary a great bit. Some states will only allow the spouse to file a lawsuit, while others will allow a romantic partner to do so, even if they were not married to the decedent.
Talk to an attorney with McEwen & Kestner for information specific to your state.
Q: How long do I have to file a wrongful death lawsuit?
The typical amount of time – which is referred to as the statute of limitations – is two years. This means that the family has two years from the date of death to sue. Some states have a longer time limit, while others have a shorter statute of limitations. There can also be instances where a family may have longer to take action. For example, evidence may have come out three years after your loved one’s death that medical malpractice may have been the cause.
This is another case where a McEwen & Kestner attorney can tell you what the statute of limitations is in your state.
Q: How do I pay my loved one’s medical bills?
Whether someone succumbs to a catastrophic traumatic brain injury or due to some other type of severe injury, they will, in many instances, have undergone a substantial amount of medical treatment before they passed away. That, of course, means significant medical bills.
Your attorney will perform a detailed investigation of your accident, and gather the evidence it takes to make your case as strong as possible. If your case is successful, the compensation you receive will go toward paying those medical expenses and more.
Q: Do I need to hire a wrongful death attorney?
Without a doubt, the answer to this question is, “Yes.” Suppose someone dies in a truck accident caused by a defective tire that blew out and caused the driver to lose control. But the driver was also found to have been impaired due to drug use. Also, the truck manufacturer failed to properly maintain the vehicle, and that lack of maintenance contributed to the wreck.
You’re going to need an attorney in order to be able to identify all the liable parties in your lawsuit. Also, a skilled attorney will have the knowledge and resources needed to stand up to the insurance companies that represent those parties. Long story short, you simply won’t be able to win your case without legal help.
Q: What types of damages can I recover for my loved one?
It sounds callous to try to put a dollar value on someone’s death. Again, there’s no amount of money that can replace a lost loved one. But your attorney will take the facts of the case into consideration when determining how much to demand from the at-fault parties.
There are two main types of damages, economic and non-economic. Economic damages include medical expenses, present and potential future income, burial expenses, and many others. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, aren’t tangible. They include pain and suffering the deceased experienced before passing away, the emotional and mental trauma suffered by the surviving family members, and more.
Q: How is a wrongful death settlement calculated?
It’s relatively easy to calculate economic damages. Your attorney will simply need to gather medical bills, pay stubs, receipts and others. But it takes a particularly knowledgeable attorney to be able to place a dollar value on non-economic damages. At McEwen & Kestner, our attorneys have a deep understanding of how to calculate all damages. We’ll present those calculations to the insurance company in an effort to obtain a full and fair settlement offer on your behalf.
Q: How can McEwen and Kestner help me?
Our attorneys have a long track record of success in wrongful death cases, and we’re ready to put all of our skills to work for you. We’ll also keep you informed throughout your case, and gladly answer all of your questions. Learn more by contacting us online or calling 651-224-3833 for a free review of your case.