What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
It’s important to understand that a wrongful death claim is not a criminal prosecution. A wrongful death lawsuit will not result in prison time or fines with a conviction. In some cases, wrongful death claims can come after a criminal trial, using similar evidence, but are held to a lower standard of proof. A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit and if successful, will result in compensation from the at-fault party.
Wrongful Death Attorney
Each state has their own definition and related laws regarding a Wrongful Death claim. However, it can be generalized as a family member seeking damages (compensation) for a death caused by a wrongful act, negligence, carelessness, or unskillfulness, such as:
- Auto Accidents (Semi-truck, motorcycle, car, DWI)
- Sporting Accidents
- Violent Crimes
- Medical Malpractice
- Birth injury
- Abuse or neglect
- Defective medical device
- Wrongful medication
- Job-related/Construction Accidents
- Defective Products
- Nursing Home Neglect & Abuse
How to Prove Wrongful Death in Texas or Oklahoma
To successfully bring a wrongful death cause of action, the plaintiff typically must show the following:
- The death of a human being
- The death was caused by another’s negligence, or with intent to cause harm
- The survival of family members who are suffering monetary injury that occurred as a result of the wrongful death
- The appointment of a personal representative for the decedent’s estate
What kind of lawyer handles wrongful death?
Any attorney that is eligible to practice law in your state can take on a wrongful death claim, but that doesn’t mean that they are qualified to handle the case. When looking for an attorney to file a wrongful death lawsuit, you should look for a lawyer with years of experience and expertise handling these types of personal injury cases.
How do I find the best wrongful death lawyer?
TIP 1: LOOK FOR AN EXPERIENCED ATTORNEY
When looking for the best attorney, look for specific experience in personal injury lawsuits. For example, if your case involves personal injury or wrongful death due to a car accident, you should hire a lawyer with a proven track record of winning these types of cases. How many personal injury suits have they won over the years? Also, make sure to consider how many cases they’ve settled out of court.
TIP 2: CHECK THEIR STANDING
Next, head to your local bar association’s website to check the wrongful death attorney’s bar association standing. The lawyer that you choose should appear as a member. Also, find out if the wrongful death attorney has any other law associations, leadership roles, etc.
TIP 3: READ TESTIMONIALS
A good attorney should have no trouble finding clients to write reviews. Look for online testimonials. Even better, find out if any friends or family members have a good personal injury attorney that they would feel comfortable recommending. If not, ask the wrongful death attorney you’re considering if they can provide any references.
TIP 4: FIND OUT IF THE WRONGFUL DEATH ATTORNEY HAS COURTROOM EXPERIENCE
Determine the lawyer’s level of courtroom experience. Many wrongful death lawsuits settle out of court, but if yours doesn’t you’ll want an attorney who is comfortable fighting your case in a courtroom. Some lawyers can be apprehensive or inexperienced when it comes to going to trial and verdict.
How is the attorney paid in a wrongful death lawsuit?
When choosing the best wrongful death attorney, you’ll need to consider the attorney’s fees. Before you hire a lawyer, ask how much the wrongful death suit will cost you. You may also want to ask if they work on a contingency fee basis. When an attorney works on a contingency fee basis, they receive a percentage of what you receive through the settlement. Meaning, they don’t get paid unless you get paid.