Five Steps To Filing A Wrongful Death Claim


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The death of a loved one can be a devastating experience. One that leads to tears and sadness. If your loved one’s death was caused by the negligence of someone else, the pain and anguish of losing them can also be tinged with anger, when you consider the hardship they have caused your family. Not only is there an emotional and physical loss, but the untimely death of a family breadwinner can also lead to serious financial problems for the surviving family members. Plus, there’s the expense of burying the person who died. However, you can address the loss of their income through a wrongful death lawsuit. 

A Wrongful Death Lawsuit

One way to seek redress and get the family the financial resources they need to take care of their day to day expenses and ongoing financial responsibilities is to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the person whose negligence caused the death of your family member. A wrongful death lawsuit can help to garner some manner of financial recompense for the pain and sorrow the negligent person has caused and provide the grieving loved ones with some of the money they need to take care of their needs and replace the income that was lost through the untimely and unnecessary death of a loved one. 

Receiving Financial Compensation

A wrongful death lawsuit seeks to provide financial compensation and assistance to the family of a person who died as a result of the negligence of another. If the death took place in Houston, one of the first steps the surviving family members should take is to consult with a Houston wrongful death lawyer. An experienced lawyer can provide valuable guidance to the family of a person who has died because of someone else’s accidental or intentional actions. A good lawyer who has worked on similar cases can help families understand the amount of money to which they are entitled and the steps necessary to get it.

Beginning The Process

There are 5 basic steps involved in filing a wrongful death lawsuit. They are:

  1. Determining Who Is Eligible To File It
  2. Figuring Out Whether It’s Possible File A Wrongful Death Claim
  3. Proving Negligence Or Intent
  4. Filing The Necessary Documents
  5. Receiving Compensation 

An experienced attorney can help the victim’s family understand and go through each of the steps required for them to collect damages from the person who is responsible for the wrongful death of their loved one. 

1. Determining Who Can File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Determining who can file a wrongful death lawsuit can be a complex process. However, an experienced wrongful death attorney can help. They know the laws governing these types of cases and can provide the victim’s family and loved ones with a list of people who can legally represent the dead person’s estate and take legal action against the person whose negligence caused the death. State law regarding the matter is clear and a good wrongful death attorney will be able to point out which of the surviving family members are entitled to and most likely to win a wrongful death lawsuit based on the negligence of another.  

2. Figuring Out If A Claim For Wrongful Death Is Warranted

There are specific situations in which it is possible to file and win a wrongful death claim. The general rule is that a wrongful death suit is warranted and likely to be successful if the victim who died would have been able to file and win a personal injury claim had they survived. Some of the common situations that can lead to successful wrongful death lawsuits is if the victim’s death was caused by an automobile accident, medical malpractice or murder. In those instances, a family member is entitled to compensation from the party whose negligence led to the victim’s death.

3. Proving Negligence Or Intent

Before the wrongful death attorney begins the process of filing the lawsuit, they will first conduct an investigation to figure out whether or not they can prove the person whose actions led to the victim’s death was negligent or if they intended to cause harm to the person who was killed. The wrongful death attorney must compile evidence from the police report and their own investigation, analyze it thoroughly and determine whether or not they will be able to prove the defendant’s negligence or nefarious intent led to the death of the victim. Once they feel they have the necessary evidence, the attorney will go ahead with the wrongful death claim with the court.  

4. Filing The Necessary Documents

Once the attorney determines that the surviving family member has the credible evidence necessary to pursue legal action, the wrongful death lawsuit can commence. The attorney will begin by helping the person pursuing the lawsuit to file a notice and complaint. This document must be submitted in accordance with the rules the probate court has put in place. Once the necessary documents and supporting evidence have been submitted to the probate court by the attorney, it is up to the court to rule whether the defendant was negligent or intent on taking the victim’s life. If the court rules against the defendant, they will also determine the amount of financial compensation to which the victim’s family member is entitled.  

5. Receiving Compensation 

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There are specific people who can legally receive the financial compensation the probate court designates. Those individuals include the parents, spouse, children, grandparents, and siblings of the victim. The damages determined by the court are for medical bills, burial costs, pre-death pain and suffering, the loss of care and inheritance as well as the loss of companionship.

If one of your family members has been killed due to the negligence or malicious intent of another, you can receive financial compensation for wrongful death from the courts. However, to better be able to navigate the legal system and get all the money to which you are entitled, consult an experienced wrongful death attorney immediately.


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