Wrongful death lawsuits are the most emotionally charged cases in personal injury law. No matter how the accident happened, the void and questions it creates in the lives of the surviving loved ones will require professional help.
If you're unsure whether you need an attorney to help you file a wrongful death lawsuit, we want you to understand the following facts about these cases:
Evidence Will Quickly Disappear
Evidence is critical to any wrongful death case, but you have to know what to look for and how to preserve it. Without an experienced attorney on your side, it's likely evidence will be lost, never found, or destroyed. This can cost you the entire case.
Wrongful Death Cases Are Complex
Wrongful death law differs from state to state, case to case, and is always subject to change. No one, except your attorney, is responsible for advising you of wrongful death statutes and case law. If you try to handle this type of case without an experienced wrongful death attorney, you're risking the entire claim.
Wrongful Death Cases Are Expensive
Wrongful death cases have the potential to pay significant compensation. This means the insurance company for the defendant will employ high-priced lawyers and any necessary legal tactics to stall the case and/or do what it takes to limit their liability and reduce the amount they owe you and your family.
There are dozens of considerations to take into account when pursuing a wrongful death case, however, if we only consider the above, it's evident that hiring an experienced wrongful death lawyer should be an immediate priority.
Types of Wrongful Death Cases We Handle
Keller & Keller has been handling wrongful death cases since 1936, and there are few case types we haven't witnessed.
The most common types of wrongful death cases we've handled, include the following:
- Automobile Accidents
- Medical Malpractice
- Product Liability
- Premises Liability
- Construction Site or Workplace Accidents
If you lost a loved one to any of the above accident types, our office will provide you with a Zero Fee Guarantee. This means you'll never pay our wrongful death attorneys for legal advice or a consultation, and the only way we're paid is if you make a recovery.
What makes us different?
We want you to hire the right firm to handle your wrongful death lawsuit. It's an important decision, maybe one of the biggest you'll ever make. We understand this well, and it's why we believe it's important for you to know Keller & Keller is the law firm that helped change the way the courts view the value of wrongful death lawsuits.
Our founder, George Keller was hired to help a Michigan family to recover for the death of their child after he had been struck by a car while walking along the side of a road. He represented the family at a time when the courts considered the loss of a child to be measured by way of a rather cold and unforgiving formula. Attorney Keller believed this to be wrong and unjust. He felt a child's life was worth more, and he demanded change.
Instead of accepting the law as it had always been written, he decided to fight and try the case at the state's highest level tried the now-famous case of Wycko v Gnodtke in front of the Michigan Supreme Court. This case would forever change the Courts' ruling on wrongful death lawsuits. The opinion declared that the traditional child labor formula (basically the probable wages minus loss of keep) did not adequately measure the child's loss to the parents.
Your wrongful death lawsuit deserves power, experience, and commitment. Choose a law firm that set a national precedent in the area of wrongful death.
Common Wrongful Death Lawsuit Questions
"Where do I start?"
Ultimately, the first step your attorney takes will depend on the circumstances surrounding the accident/incident. No two wrongful death lawsuits are similar, however, we start working on the case the day you hire us.
Our immediate focus may include any of the following:
- Identifying and preserving evidence crucial to securing liability.
- Notifying the insurance company of our representation.
- Obtaining key witness statements and supporting photographs.
- Working with experts to establish the engineering dynamics involved in accident reconstruction.
- Calculating the multitude of losses involved, including loss of financial support, companionship, and medical bills.
Our goal is to take as much off your plate as possible so that you can focus on being with loved ones and sorting out personal matters.
"Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit?"
In many states it's typically the decedent's immediate family members who file a wrongful death lawsuit. Usually this is the surviving spouse, a child, and/or sometimes parents and siblings, depending on specific circumstances.
"What types of compensation are available in a wrongful death lawsuit?"
The types of compensation available to you in a wrongful death lawsuit will depend on the circumstances of the case as well as specific state law, however, some forms of compensation may include:
- Medical, hospital, and funeral expenses
- Compensation from the decedent's pain and suffering while conscious
- Losses sustained by the decedent's spouse, children, or next of kin, including:
Loss of financial support, gifts, and future contributions.
Loss of parental training and guidance.
Loss of companionship, love, care and comfort.
"What are 'survival actions,' and what do they include?"
In addition to damages for wrongful death, you may also be able to recover damages for personal injuries that the decedent sustained. These are called survival actions, since the personal injury action survives the person who suffered that injury.
In a survival action, the jury may make inquiries to help determine the amount of damages, including what the decedent went through before his or her death, such as:
- The degree of consciousness
- The severity of the pain
- The apprehension of impending death, along with the duration of such suffering
"Will your law firm help with grief counseling options?"
We always recommend speaking with a grief counselor and are happy to help you locate an option such as clergy, support groups, and professional counseling through hospitals and/or private practices. Depending on your needs, grief counseling can often be found at no cost.
In addition to one-on-one counseling, you can also look to any of the following online sources:
Your personal doctor can also suggest additional grief counseling options if you require further help.
Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
Wrongful death lawsuits are subject to a statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is the time limit a loved one has to initiate a lawsuit. If the wrongful death claim is not settled, or an action is not filed with the appropriate courts before the statute of limitation expires, you risk permanently waiving your right to any compensation.
Unless you ask a wrongful death attorney to confirm the statute of limitations for your wrongful death case, you'll be risking the entire claim. For instance, depending on the circumstances, the time limits may coincide with the date of the death, but in other instances it may coincide with the time that the cause of death was discovered. These two dates can be days, months, or years apart.
Another important factor to consider is whether or not a government entity is believed to have contributed to the cause of death. For example, in a state like Indiana, a tort claim notice must be filed with all of the appropriate governmental agencies in a time period different than other case types. If the deadline is not met, the claim can be forever barred.
We don't believe in high-pressure. When you contact Keller & Keller to speak with a wrongful death attorney, you're promised our Zero Fee Guarantee. This means that you'll never be charged for a consultation, and our law firm will never receive any money for its legal services unless a recovery is made on your wrongful death lawsuit.
You can speak to us 24/7 by dialing 1-800-253-5537, or you can write to us by using our free contact form.