FAQ: How Does A Wrongful Death Suit Work?

Losing someone you love is painful. When the circumstances of your family member’s death were caused by someone else’s irresponsible or malicious actions, you have a form of legal recourse. Filing a wrongful death suit will help hold the person, people, or organization accountable for their actions.

In this difficult time, you need a lawyer and a law firm who understands your needs and is not afraid to pursue justice on your behalf. Amanda Hayden and her associates can help you with your wrongful death case so you and your family can focus on what matters to you. Call us at (314) 480-3100 or contact us today to discuss your case with no obligation, free of charge, with an experienced, understanding legal team.

How The Wrongful Death Process Works

Do you believe you have a wrongful death case for the passing of a family member? You will need the help and support of a lawyer to bring your wrongful death suit. To file your suit, you also need to understand how the process works and what you can expect in the coming weeks if you choose to file. As with any legal procedure, filing a wrongful death suit is a process made up of several steps. The steps are as outlined below.

1. Determine Eligibility

The question of eligibility with a wrongful death suit is two-tiered. First, you have to assess whether the events of your loved one’s death were caused by another party’s (either an individual or an institution such as a business) negligence. It will be up to the court system to make a judgment on the matter; but, to file a wrongful death lawsuit, there needs to be a party involved in the death of your loved one who failed provide a standard of care or protection to the victim, resulting in the loss of life.

Secondly, you must consider if you are personally eligible to file the wrongful death suit. States have individual laws on who may file a suit on behalf of a wrongful death victim. In Missouri, there are three types of people who can potentially file a suit on behalf of a loved one:

  1. Missouri statute states that, if available, a spouse, child, direct descendants of a child, or a parent of the deceased may file.
  2. If no one by any of these relations to the victim is able to do so (for example, if their parents are already deceased or they never had any siblings), then a sibling or a descendent of a sibling would be allowed.
  3. Finally, if there are no existing or living siblings or siblings’ children, another person can bring the case. This individual must be recognized by the court as an appropriate plantiff ad litem.

Learn more about who is eligible to file a wrongful death suit.

2. Speak With A Lawyer

A wrongful death suit is a significant case, and it requires the work of a special wrongful death lawyer. Consulting with someone with experience in wrongful death cases is essential. They will help you throughout the process, from figuring out if you are eligible, filing the suit, and demanding a fair court decision. Amanda Hayden is a skilled attorney who can navigate the legal landscape of a wrongful death case while also providing the compassion and support you need during this difficult time. Contact the Hayden Law Firm to discuss your case.

3. Investigate

Rely heavily on your lawyer for this. They will know what documentation and evidence to pursue and how to obtain it. This may include police statements and interviews of witnesses, other people who were involved, or experts like medical professionals who are familiar with the circumstances in question, as well as documents such as medical records.

4. Calculate Your Case Value

Once they gather and assess all available information regarding the case of your loved one’s death, your lawyer can determine the monetary value of your case, or how much money you are owed. Many components go into the value of your case, including medical bills, end-of-life expenses like funeral arrangements, loss of future income, loss of companionship, and pain and suffering. These are some of the wrongful death damages you can recover.

5. File

It is not until your lawyer has enough information and evidence that you will file your case. Your lawyer will go through the formal filing procedure. This is where you bring your case to the court officially. When you file, your lawyer will list the reasons and evidence for filing, name the defendant whom you are filing against, and state the monetary value you are seeking to recover in damages.

6. Negotiate

The case has not yet made it to court, and in some cases, it will not have to. Pretrial is the stage at which litigation occurs between the two legal teams. There will be a back-and-forth exchange of court filings as both sides try to get information. The lawyers may communicate directly with one another to negotiate and attempt to come to an agreement outside of court. If the other side recognizes how strong of a case you have, they are likely to agree to a settlement amount. They may try to offer a lower amount. Your attorney will continue to push for a number you feel is fair. If the two sides can come to an agreement on their own, the case can be settled without having to go to trial.

7. Go To Trial

This is the final step in a wrongful death case and only occurs if the defendant will not agree to a reasonable settlement. If they do not, your case will move into court, where it will be heard by a judge and/or a jury. Many cases can be settled without this step, but you need an attorney who is ready to represent you in court passionately and skillfully. If the defendant refuses to pay the value of your case on their own, you will need your lawyer to convince the court to make a judgment in your favor.

Wrongful Death Suits in St. Louis, MO

Have you lost a family member or loved one in a tragic accident? If someone you love was killed by the negligent actions of another party, you might have a wrongful death case. The first step in your wrongful death case is to discuss with an exceptional wrongful death lawyer in the St. Louis, Missouri area like Amanda Hayden. Contact our firm today by calling (314) 480-3100. There is no charge and no pressure. You need to talk, and we are here to help.

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