When to Take Legal Action Against the Negligent Party?
When you lose a loved one in an accident, it can feel like your world has been turned upside-down. While there is no way to bring back the individual you have lost, you might wonder whether their life could have been saved had someone taken action. Furthermore, you may feel guilty because they died in an accident that could have been prevented.
For these reasons and more, many people want to pursue legal action in Bucks County against the negligent parties involved. This can be a long and difficult process, especially if those responsible for the accident are dead or lack sufficient assets to compensate you. In this situation, it might be helpful to work with a Bucks County injury lawyer to file a wrongful death claim.
To understand why pursuing a wrongful death claim might be valuable, it helps to have a general idea of what this type of case entails. In these cases, a person dies as the result of another’s negligent or reckless actions. An attorney for wrongful death might file a suit on behalf of a surviving loved one to seek compensation for their loss.
To win, the plaintiff must show that the defendant was legally liable for the accident. This could be because they were speeding and slammed into another car or pedestrian, failed to maintain their vehicle’s property, or operated it while intoxicated. The key here is demonstrating that these actions directly resulted in the person’s death.
If successful, the plaintiff might be awarded several types of damages. For example, they may be able to recover funeral costs, any lost income their loved one would have earned throughout their lifetime and pain and suffering damages. There are also other factors, which could establish fault on the defendant’s part. This includes their past history of reckless behavior, whether the accident occurred on their property and age.
However, the party responsible for your loved one’s death may not have sufficient assets to compensate you fully. The goal in this situation is to establish that they were negligent and to ensure that the responsible party or their insurance company has enough assets to provide just compensation. In these types of cases, you may want to file a wrongful death claim against the negligent party as well as their insurance company.
In many cases, the negligent individual is insured by an insurance company. This means that it is highly likely that the negligent party or their insurance company will be able to compensate you for your loved one’s wrongful death. It is important that you not only ensure that the individual who caused your loved one’s death is held responsible, but also the insurance company so they can pay just compensation in a timely manner.
Causes of Wrongful Death
Some of the most common types of accidents that lead to wrongful death include car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, and bicycle accidents. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), traffic collisions are a leading cause of death for people across America. As a result, it is absolutely critical that responsible parties involved in fatal vehicular accidents be held accountable for their actions.
In addition to traffic accidents, other types of accidents that regularly give rise to wrongful death actions include:
- Exposure to smoke, fire, or flames
- Exposure to forces of nature, such as lightning strikes
- Workplace accidents
- Falls from a height
- Accidental or intentional discharge of a firearm
- Medical malpractice
- Defective products
- Premises liability
If you or a loved one has experienced the loss of someone important due to the negligent actions of another person, an experienced lawyer for wrongful death can help you come up with a game plan for moving forward.
How Can A Bucks County Wrongful Death Lawyer Help You File a Lawsuit?
Every state has different requirements when it comes to filing a wrongful death lawsuit, but there are certain elements that most of them have in common. To successfully win a wrongful death suit in Bucks County, the plaintiff (the person who is filing the claim) must show evidence of four distinct factors:
- The defendant owed the decedent (person who died) some form of legal duty.
- The defendant breached the duty they owed to the decedent.
- The defendant’s breach caused the decedent’s death.
- As a result of the decedent’s death, the plaintiff is owed damages.
Depending on the specific facts surrounding your loved one’s death, it may be possible to file for wrongful death damages related to medical bills, funeral costs, lost future income, and loss of companionship.
In many cases, filing a wrongful death claim can provide compensation to surviving spouses or children for economic losses due to their loved one’s lost income. In addition, surviving spouses may also be able to seek compensation for the economic value of the household services that their loved one would have contributed had they lived. To win these types of damages, it must be established that the decedent’s life expectancy was shortened by his or her injuries.
In some cases, a wrongful death plaintiff may also be able to recover damages for lost companionship and loss of services. The purpose of these types of damages is to make the plaintiff whole – i.e., give the plaintiff a chance to experience a personal life as he or she would have if their loved one had not died prematurely due to someone else’s negligence. This can also be referred to as loss of love, support, society, affection, tenderness, or consortium. In general, these are losses that could not necessarily be compensated using economic theories of valuation.
When the defendant’s actions were exceedingly negligent, punitive damages may apply. Punitive damages are meant to send a message to the defendant and others who might consider engaging in similar behavior in the future. These damages are meant to punish the defendant for his or her behavior and deter similar conduct in others.
When looking for the best lawyer for a wrongful death lawsuit, you should consider a number of factors, including:
- Their experience handling wrongful death claims and whether they have a track record of success
- Their fee structure, which may be hourly, flat-fee, or on contingency
- Their demeanor and communication style
- Whether they are located near me or in the correct jurisdiction
It is important that you seek out a competent lawyer immediately after your family member has died. The more time passes between the accident that caused your family member’s death and the filing of a wrongful death lawsuit, the greater the chances are that evidence will be lost or destroyed. This can severely hurt your case, even if you do ultimately win it.
A good lawyer will be there to help you in your time of need. There is no need to suffer alone after you have lost a loved one. Contact us today to see how we can help.