What you should ask a wrongful death lawyer may depend on any concerns and questions that you already have. Some questions that you may ask a lawyer before hiring them are:
- What fee do you charge for your services?
- What amount of compensation will you seek?
- How will you defend my rights?
There are additional questions that you may ask once your case begins. Generally, a lawyer should provide the information you need as your case goes on.
How to Select a Wrongful Death Lawyer
You may want to ask potential wrongful death lawyers several questions before you hire them. Along with the questions listed above, you may also ask lawyers about their experience, their track record in wrongful death cases, and how specifically they will seek justice for you.
There are other ways for you to vet any lawyer you are considering for your case. Some of those methods include:
- Conversations with anyone who has been a client of the lawyer before
- Online research into the lawyer’s past performance, including cases that they have won for past clients
- Online reviews about how the lawyer treats their clients
Completing a free consultation may be another valuable piece of information that will allow you to consider a lawyer and their team. During this consultation, you will be able to ask a member of a lawyer’s team any questions you have. That team member will also complete an initial review of your case and inform you of whether a lawyer can handle your wrongful death claim.
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A Lawyer May Specialize in a Certain Type of Wrongful Death Case
The possibilities for how a wrongful death can happen are vast. A wrongful death lawyer may have ample experience handling certain types of wrongful death cases, while they may be less familiar with other causes of wrongful deaths.
You should ask a wrongful death lawyer what types of wrongful death cases they usually handle. Some specific areas of wrongful death cases may include:
- Slip and fall or trip and fall accidents
- Negligent security accidents
- Car, SUV, and truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Animal attacks
- Nursing home mistreatment
- Defective products
These are just some of the many possible causes of wrongful death. When you speak with the team for a lawyer, you may ask whether they have handled cases similar to yours. This may inform whether you choose to hire that lawyer or a different attorney who may have experience handling cases like yours.
Your Lawyer Will Assign Liability for Your Loved One’s Death
The Legal Information Institute (LII) notes that in wrongful death cases, someone’s negligent action is generally responsible for your loss. Multiple parties could be liable for your loved one’s wrongful death. Your lawyer will work to determine who those liable parties are.
Your lawyer will need to be familiar with many details of your loved one’s passing in order to determine who is responsible for your loss. Different cases may lead your lawyer to different possible defendants, which may include:
- A property owner
- A motorist
- A medical professional
- An animal owner
- A local government
- A product manufacturer
- And others
Once your lawyer is familiar with your case and gathers evidence, they will explain to you who they intend to sue or target with an insurance claim.
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Lawyers Generally Seek a Financial Settlement
Whether they are bringing an action for wrongful death or personal injury, lawyers generally seek a financial settlement for their clients. The American Bar Association (ABA) explains that, more often than not, both parties to a lawsuit resolve the matter through a financial settlement.
A lawyer will need to take several steps before they begin to negotiate a settlement for you, however. Their process may include:
- Gathering evidence from your loved one’s passing
- Speaking with experts in relevant fields
- Collecting witness testimony
- Calculating how much compensation you deserve
When they are prepared, your lawyer will negotiate to seek a fair settlement in your wrongful death lawsuit. If some form of insurance coverage offers compensation for the losses caused by your loved one’s passing, then your lawyer can handle negotiations with one or more insurance companies.
Your Losses Will Be the Focal Point of Negotiations
Losing a loved one can be devastating, and your losses may be great. Some of the losses that your lawyer could seek compensation for are:
- The cost of your loved one’s funeral and any related expenses
- The cost of medical care related to your loved one’s fatal injuries
- The pain and suffering that you and your loved ones have experienced
- The loss of financial security that the deceased provided any of your family members
- The loss of companionship for the spouse of the deceased
- The loss of parental comfort and guidance for any surviving children
You and your lawyer will likely speak about your losses before negotiations begin.