A wrongful death lawsuit helps family members receive compensation when a loved one has been killed due to the wrongful act of another person. These cases are very complex, and we encourage grieving relatives to meet with an attorney to discuss whether a lawsuit is even possible. An attorney can help you decide whether you have a valid claim and will shepherd your case through the court system.
Below, we identify some of the unique challenges in wrongful death cases. These are not like other personal injury lawsuits, so you should meet with an Austin wrongful death lawyer for a free consultation.
To obtain compensation, you will need to show that the defendant’s conduct was wrongful. Usually, this means the person acted negligently or recklessly, such as running a red light or backing up in a parking lot without checking the mirrors or over the shoulder. Without this evidence, you cannot prevail in your case.
Obtaining evidence can be a challenge in a wrongful death lawsuit. In the typical car accident case, for example, the victim is alive and can testify about how the events unfolded. But in a wrongful death case, your loved one has passed away, so you will only hear the defendant’s side of the story—and a slanted side at that.
As seasoned wrongful death attorneys in Austin, we have extensive experience reconstructing accidents and can look for evidence by interviewing witnesses, checking for surveillance video, and examining the defendant under oath.
Obtaining Adequate Compensation
If successful in your suit, you can receive money damages for:
- Loss of services or support
- Loss of love, comfort, companionship, and society
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
However, actually getting a fair amount can be a challenge. Imagine your husband dies at age 40. Damages might total $1 million or more, especially if he had a high paying job. However, few defendants have an insurance policy that can pay that amount, and the defendant might have few assets.
A wrongful death attorney should investigate all possible avenues for compensation. In some situations, we might add more than one defendant, or we can look for other insurance policies that might cover the accident.
Negotiating a Fair Settlement
Settlement is sometimes possible in wrongful death cases, which is often an ideal outcome, since our clients do not have to “relive” their loved one’s death in court. If you are claiming compensation for loss of care and affection, then you would probably need to testify as to your relationship with your loved one before death. This can be a deeply traumatic experience, which we try to spare our clients, if possible.
However, you need an attorney who understands the negotiation process, in particular how large businesses or insurance companies fight of claims. Some companies are very aggressive, and they might only offer a very small settlement.
Speak with an Austin Wrongful Death Attorney
After the shocking death of a loved one, you need an advocate in your corner who will fight for what is best for you and your family. Please contact DC Law today. Our firm has brought many successful wrongful death cases, and we can do the same for you. Call 512-220-1800 to schedule a free consultation.