In the dark days after a loved one’s loss, a wrongful death attorney can help light a path to a better future.
After the unexpected loss of a loved one, there are several common mistakes that people make when filing a wrongful death claim. These avoidable missteps can increase stress and suffering to individuals or families already experiencing grief. A proven lawyer can prevent that additional strife by handling the process entirely on your behalf.
At Vaage Law, we understand that the loss you’ve experienced is devastating and your lost loved one is irreplaceable. However, by pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit, you may be able to secure the financial health of your family, and potentially prevent this tragedy from happening to others.
If you need to speak with a wrongful death attorney today, call us directly at (619) 338-0505 for representation. We can help you avoid the five pitfalls of not hiring a wrongful death attorney described below.
The Top 5 Pitfalls of Not Hiring a Wrongful Death Attorney
The unexpected loss of a person’s financial and emotional support, coupled with the need to settle their estate, can be overwhelming to a person or family experiencing grief. A wrongful death attorney can help remove many of those burdens, facilitate peace within families, and maximize the financial resources available to you and yours.
Here are the top five issues with wrongful death claims that a lawyer can help you avoid:
1. Family In-Fighting
- Don’t let temporary disagreements tear your family apart.
Survivors of the deceased who may file for wrongful death can include parents, spouses, children, and possibly other relatives or dependents, including a non-familial estate administrator. Certain states allow more than one person to file for wrongful death, but most of them do not. In California, where Vaage Law is headquartered, there is a “one action rule” (Code of Civil Procedure § 726) which means in most circumstances, all claimants must join together in a single wrongful death lawsuit.
That means families must work together when pursuing legal action, and all potential heirs may not be in agreement every step of the way. In those instances, your attorney can help function as a “mending wall” between all survivors by providing clear, unbiased information and advice.
2. Accepting Lesser Offers or Missing Potential Claims
- Recognize and reject low-ball offers.
There is no amount of money that is worth the loss of a life. However, there are both economic and non-economic values recognized by the law after a person’s death. Inexperienced individuals are frequently low-balled with initial offers. A lawyer can help recognize such offers, and reject them.
In compensating for a wrongful death, that number could include the loss of income, future earning potential, household duties, and the unique companionship and support the decedent provided. An attorney can help calculate these losses in figures that the law recognizes, and can utilize that information when negotiating with insurance companies, negligent parties, or opposing counsel.
By providing proof of your losses in financial terms, your wrongful death attorney can help hold insurance companies and other institutions to their commitments. If those negotiations are stalled, your lawyer can take that proof before a judge or jury, who have the power to compel fair payment.
- Consider a claim for the decedent’s pain and suffering.
As of January 1, 2022, a new statute allows the personal representative of the estate of a decedent to claim damages for the decedent’s pain and suffering during the time between the negligence and death. For example, for an unconscious person who dies at the scene of a car crash, the estate will likely not be able to make such a claim. However, the estate of a patient with a missed cancer diagnosis who passes away later may be able to claim their pre-death pain and suffering.
We at Vaage Law can show what your case is worth, and pursue the maximum amount you’re entitled to under the law.
3. Missing Deadlines
- You could lose your ability to file suit if you wait too long.
Each state allows a limited window of time during which people can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. These timelines are created by statutes of limitations, and they can range anywhere between 6 months to 6 years depending on your location.
California’s deadlines for filing a wrongful death claim can range from 6 months (for claims against public entities), to 1 year for medical negligence, and 2 years for other personal injury negligence from the date of the decedent’s death. Considering all that must be done to lay a person to rest, settle their affairs, and disburse their estate, in some cases there’s very little time to act.
There is no need for you to feel rushed or anxious about these deadlines. You can delegate those concerns to your attorney, who will handle all the paperwork required and have each necessary document submitted on time to the proper place.
4. Having Your Own Words Used Against You
- Prevent negligent parties from taking advantage of you.
Behind every wrongful death is a negligent action or inaction. The negligent parties (be they individuals or corporations) have an incentive to shirk responsibility. They may try to use your own words against you if you communicate something verbally or in writing that allows them to distort the facts.
One of the crucial actions a lawyer can take is to speak on your behalf. Allow us to review your statements before you make them. We will help make sure that what you say is clear, correct, and not subject to misrepresentation or misinterpretation.
5. Failing to Hold All Negligent Parties Responsible
- Hold everyone accountable for what happened to your loved one.
Wrongful deaths can be caused by accident, by recklessness, or by intent. Whatever your situation, it’s important to make sure all those who caused your loved one’s death are held responsible.
Your attorney from Vaage Law will investigate the cause of death independently, and identify all those who are liable, be they individuals, groups, businesses, institutions, manufacturers, or a combination. This not only provides your loved one with the justice they deserve, but it also makes sure that the mistakes or negligence that caused their death are exposed. Only by revealing these causes can they be prevented from happening again.
Your decision to hire a lawyer today could save someone’s life going forward.
An experienced lawyer helps remove burdens, improve outcomes, and protect your rights. By empowering Vaage Law to pursue your case, you grant yourself the peace of mind you deserve in your time of grief.
Reach out to Vaage Law at (619) 338-0505 or online to avoid common errors and provide peace of mind.
How Much Is a Wrongful Death Case Worth?
Wrongful death cases can vary between thousands, hundreds of thousands, and millions of dollars in compensation. Our case results at Vaage Law include multi-million dollar wrongful death settlements and verdicts. Though it cannot make up entirely for all that you’ve lost, financial awards can help secure your future, and improve the prospects of your entire family.
However, wrongful death cases can be worth more than monetary compensation. They can also provide life-saving remedies like recalling dangerous products, removing negligent practitioners, or revising safety procedures.
The value of the lives you could save is incalculable.
What’s Considered Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death is a death that should not have happened. If the rules were followed, and everyone had acted responsibly, a wrongful death would have been prevented. We must prove that the failure or negligence led to a fatal result.
Wrongful death causes include, but are not limited to:
- Medical malpractice or medical product liability
- Car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, and pedestrian accidents
- Dangerous premises
- Defective products
- Birth injury
- Elder abuse
- Catastrophic injuries including traumatic brain injury
There are many circumstances that can cause wrongful death. If you need experienced representation on your side, contact Vaage Law for a free, confidential consultation.
Do Wrongful Death Cases Go to Trial?
No, not all wrongful death cases go to trial. In fact, a skilled attorney may be able to negotiate a fair settlement without even filing a lawsuit.
Whenever possible, your attorney from Vaage Law is dedicated to securing a swift, satisfactory resolution to your case. Every case at Vaage Law is treated as if it were going to trial, which increases the likelihood of settlement. And if the actions of the defendants are egregious or done with malice, oppression, or fraud, punitive damages may be available.
Every case is unique, but our promise stays the same: we are here to serve your best interests from beginning to end.
Why Do We Need a Wrongful Death Attorney?
By choosing to hire a wrongful death attorney, you can avoid family strife, lesser offers, and missed deadlines. A lawyer can also simultaneously protect your rights, and identify every negligent party involved in the irreplaceable loss of your loved one.
Robert Vaage and the staff at Vaage Law are here to help our clients recover the full value of their harms and losses. That means both recovering damages in court, and aiding their recovery from the injuries or tragedies that have harmed them.