The death of a family member or loved one is one of the most traumatic things we can experience in a lifetime. In addition to the emotional pain and suffering it causes, the death of a loved one in a fatal accident can also place a huge financial burden on a family. A wrongful death suit may be the best way to alleviate that financial burden and get justice for your lost loved one.
Our wrongful death clients often ask us: What are the chances of winning a wrongful death suit? Each wrongful death suit is going to be unique, and thus there is no clear answer to this question. However, in this article, we will address considerations and factors that come into play when trying to come up with an educated guess about the chances of winning a wrongful death suit.
Elements of a Wrongful Death Suit
Every wrongful death suit must satisfy a number of legal requirements, or “elements,” to be a viable or “winning” case. Below are the critical elements of a wrongful death suit:
- A person lost his or her life;
- The person died as a result of another person or company’s negligent, careless, or intentional actions (or inactions); and
- The decedent or victim’s survivors suffered harm as a result, whether that’s a loss of income or some other loss.
We could restate this a bit more simply as follows:
- A loss of life;
- Due to negligence or carelessness;
- That causes damages.
In many states, each of these elements must be satisfied for there to be a viable wrongful death suit. In other words, you need all the elements to have a good chance of winning a wrongful death suit.
Persons Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Suit
Who can file a wrongful death claim may vary from state to state. In many states, a wrongful death claim may be filed by the decedent’s surviving spouse. If there is no surviving spouse, then the decedent’s surviving children may be able to bring the wrongful death suit. If the decedent died without leaving behind a surviving spouse or child, then the decedent’s surviving parent or parents may be eligible to file a wrongful death suit. Additionally, in some states, a sibling or grandparent may be eligible to bring a wrongful death claim. However, the chances of winning a wrongful death suit will not likely be affected by which person is the plaintiff in the lawsuit.
How Does a Person Have the Highest Chances of Winning a Wrongful Death Suit?
Each wrongful death suit will be vastly different, depending upon the circumstances surrounding the death of the victim. For example, some wrongful death suits are brought against one person, like a drunk driver of a vehicle. On the other hand, some wrongful death suits may involve multiple defendants. For example, a careless truck driver may cause a semi-truck accident that kills someone, and that truck driver and the trucking company that employed the truck driver may be liable for the death. The liability of each defendant will be based upon several factors.
To have the best chances of winning a wrongful death suit, or really any personal injury lawsuit, you need to be sure critical evidence is gathered and preserved at the earliest opportunity. This is where a wrongful death lawyer can help you to protect your wrongful death claim and the value of that claim. An experienced wrongful death lawyer will help guide you through the wrongful death suit to help you get the most value for your claim and to be sure that the insurance company does not take advantage of you or your family. If the insurance company offers you proper value for your claim, that’s wonderful. However, if the insurance company refuses to be reasonable, your wrongful death lawyer can take them to court.
Damages Available in a Winning Wrongful Death Suit
When a person is killed because of the careless or negligent actions of another, the victim’s surviving family members may be entitled to compensation for their damages and losses associated with losing their loved one. Although each state’s wrongful death laws may be a little different regarding what types of damages are available in a wrongful death suit, there are some common types of damages that are typically available. Some of the general types of damages available in a wrongful death suit include the following:
- Medical expenses associated with treating the decedent after injury and before death;
- Funeral and burial expenses;
- Pain and suffering of family members;
- Loss of companionship, guidance, and instruction; and
- The decedent’s lost wages.
The process of obtaining compensation or winning a wrongful death suit will typically begin long before a lawsuit is filed. Once your wrongful death attorney obtains all the necessary supporting documents, then we would usually send a demand letter to the insurance company. The demand letter details the amount of money sought and accompanying documentation to justify that amount of money. Compelling legal writing is critical to an effective demand letter and may increase the chances of winning a wrongful death suit without having to move towards trial. However, if the insurance company still refuses to be reasonable, the wrongful death case may need to be tried in court and in front of a jury to get a just result.
How a Wrongful Death Lawyer May Increase Your Chances of Winning a Wrongful Death Suit
As we discussed, a proper investigation performed at the earliest opportunity may result in gathering and preserving evidence that is critical to winning a wrongful death suit. An experienced wrongful death attorney can investigate the case and determine what evidence is needed to get the best result. In addition to gathering and preserving evidence, a wrongful death attorney can engage in pre-suit negotiations, draft a compelling demand letter, and take your case to trial, if needed.
If you lost a loved one due to the careless or negligent acts of a person or company, you may be entitled to compensation. Even if you’re unsure about whether to bring a claim, you may find that speaking with a wrongful death attorney at our office is helpful and clears up some ambiguities. We are here to help you however we can, and we offer free legal consultations. So, a phone call with one of our attorneys is completely risk free to you.
You can schedule your free consultation by phone at (321) 352-7588, or you can contact us on our website to set up your consultation by email. We’re here when you are ready to talk to us.