Lost A Dear One In An Accident? Here's How To Bring Justice
When someone you love dies due to another person's negligence, it can be devastating. Not only are you coping with the pain of your loss, but also the frustration of knowing that this death was not necessary. You may ask yourself, "How do I find justice for my loved one?" There are many options available to achieve justice when someone has died because of negligence.
Here, we will discuss some options available to you and your family.
Contact a Wrongful Death Lawyer
One of the first things you should contact is a wrongful death lawyer. Your loved one could have been killed due to a car, truck, or motorcycle accident caused by someone else driving recklessly or under the influence. The other driver may also be financially stable and well-insured. Unfortunately, because of this, they may offer you a settlement that doesn't even come close to covering your loved one's final expenses. A wrongful death lawyer can counter this by holding the negligent party liable for your loss and getting you compensation for medical bills and funeral costs and other damages such as pain and suffering you endured due to losing your loved one.
Talk to the Police and Other Authorities
There may be other ways to punish those responsible for your loved one's death. Additionally, the authorities may investigate what caused the accident and hold those responsible accountable for their actions. Call 911 as soon as possible to report any accidents. Also, if you suspect criminal wrongdoing such as drunk driving or hit and run, contact the police immediately to discuss filing charges against those responsible. You must not try to handle this on your own or assume that someone else will take care of it.
Protecting Your Loved One's Rights
It is very common for insurance companies to attempt to settle wrongful death claims quickly and quietly. Some insurance companies even offer an immediate settlement without consulting the family. This money often comes with a confidentiality clause, so you cannot discuss the settlement with anyone else. The insurance company may tell you that this is to avoid opening old wounds and prevent any emotional outbursts from prolonging negotiations. Still, it can also serve to keep bad news from going public.
Do Not Make Any Statements to the Insurance Company
You should never make a statement regarding fault or liability before consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney. If you have already spoken with someone from the other party's insurance company or made a statement to law enforcement about who was at fault for your loved one's death, do not speak to anyone else without first consulting an attorney. Doing so could jeopardize your claim and result in you receiving a smaller settlement.
In most cases, you have two years from the date of death to file a claim for wrongful death in California. If your loved one's death resulted from a drunk driving accident, you only have one year from the date of the accident to file a claim. Time is crucial when filing a claim for wrongful death because evidence may disappear and memories fade over time. In addition, insurance companies will try to settle quickly to avoid bad publicity and trial expenses, which means that there may be less money available if you do not act quickly.
Consider Filing a Personal Injury Claim
Even if your loved one was struck by a vehicle, it might be possible to bring forth a personal injury claim. Of course, this will depend on the specific facts of the case; however, many times, there are instances where both claims apply. For example, if someone is speeding down an icy road, hits a patch of ice, and loses control, causing the car to skid into a group of pedestrians who are waiting for a bus, both claims may be pursued. What happens if your loved one dies from medical malpractice? This may also give rise to a claim where you can pursue compensation. For this claim to succeed, however, you must prove negligence on the doctor's part and actual injury resulting from this negligence (typically an infection or loss of life).
People are often left confused and angry when they lose a loved one in an accident, but it is important to remember that there are many ways to seek justice and compensation for the loss of your dear one. You can file claims for criminal charges and civil charges (i.e., personal injury and wrongful death), which may bring you peace of mind knowing that those responsible will be held accountable for their actions. Contact an attorney today if you wish to learn more about how to file such claims after the death of your loved one.