When a loved one passes away due to the negligence of another party, the lives of those dependent on them change abruptly. Apart from having to contend with the deceased’s absence, especially when they were the sole breadwinners, the deceased’s family lives with immense mental anguish for the rest of their lives. At Lone Star Injury Attorneys, we believe that parties responsible for fatal accidents must be held accountable for their actions. You have the right to pursue a wrongful death action against the liable persons for the death of your loved one.
As expected, the grieving process does not have a time limit. It may feel like it takes forever to heal. In such a scenario, it may feel overwhelming for the victim’s estate to initiate legal action against the parties at fault. But with an experienced Richmond wrongful death lawyer from our firm, you can hold the parties at fault accountable for the loss of your loved one. While no amount of compensation can replace the life of a loved one, the money recovered goes a long way in easing your financial burden arising from their death. Our compassionate personal injury attorneys can guide you throughout the claims process and handle all legal aspects of the case.
The preliminary step in filing a wrongful death lawsuit is establishing that there’s indeed an actionable claim. To determine whether you have a legal claim or not, a few things must happen. First, death must have occurred. If the said victim suffered serious injuries but survived, this qualifies as a standard personal injury lawsuit. Secondly, your wrongful death attorney must prove that the death was caused by someone else’s negligence. For example, if your loved one perished in a car accident caused by drunk driving, you must show how the driver’s breach of care caused the crash, and that your loved one would be alive if the defendant wasn’t negligent in his or her actions.
Next, you need to understand that not everyone can file a wrongful death claim. Typically, the deceased’s estate, including immediate family members, spouses, children, and parents, can file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, this varies from state to state, and it’s in your best interests that you discuss this with a lawyer familiar with local laws. In Texas, for example, a personal representative of the victim is responsible for all the legal procedures as well as the distribution of the deceased’s estate.
After determining the person to represent you in the legal process, you must understand that there are statutes of limitations when it comes to wrongful death cases. Normally, you have up to 2 years from the time of your loved one’s death to file a claim. Finally, the last step involves filing a formal lawsuit in the proper court of law. Unlike personal injury lawsuits, wrongful death claims can be more complex, stressful, long, and costly. Although you’re not barred from filing the claim on your own, it’s in your own best interests that you consult with a legal professional. A good attorney understands all applicable laws and will always be by your side throughout the legal process.
As mentioned earlier, anyone seeking to file a wrongful death claim has a maximum of two years to do so. If this period lapses before your case is brought forward, you end up losing all your legal compensatory rights. Even though courts have very strict guidelines when it comes to the statute of limitations, there are few exceptions where the time limit may be extended. They include homicides, acts of medical malpractice, and incidents involving government entities.
Very often, homicides and murders are carried out with so much precision that it may take months or years to build up a substantive case and even discover who the responsible party is. Given the long time taken by detectives to identify and narrow down on murder perpetrators, the statute of limitations does not begin until a time when the guilty party is determined.
When you receive news that your loved one died in a hospital, it’s not always easy to point out medical negligence as the cause of death. Before you realize it, you’ll have been over and done with the burial of the victim. In such a scenario, the statute of limitations is deemed to have started at the moment you discover the cause of death and not the actual time of death.
When a government entity is responsible for wrongful death, it may less or more time for the statute of limitations to lapse. However, this does not apply to every state entity. If your wrongful death case involves a government entity, it’s highly advisable for you to discuss this with a lawyer in Richmond.
Fatal accident claims are very difficult and may be too complex for grieving families to effectively navigate through to receive full justice. With our Richmond wrongful death lawyers, you may save yourself from the stress of having to contend with court processes and grieving at the same time. Call our offices today to discuss your case in a free consultation.