When someone is unexpectedly killed due to another party’s negligence or recklessness, the decedent’s family is often left with many burdens. Besides the emotional aspects of losing a loved one, the family is often left with financial hardships as well. The wrongful death case process in Oak Lawn is usually time-consuming and emotionally draining. Therefore, it is wise to consult a wrongful death lawyer to take over the legal claim and help you fight for justice.
A wrongful death case is a personal injury case that resulted in the death of the injured person. Thus, there are many similarities in gathering the evidence to other personal injury claims. In a personal injury case, a lawyer documents the injuries to the individual. In a wrongful death case, a lawyer documents the loss to the family. This means the damages sought for wrongful deaths are often drastically different.
The cause of death can impact the wrongful death case in several ways. The damages award will likely be greater if the death was especially traumatic or violent. Also, if the death involves significant pain and suffering or is prolonged over a period of time, that can also increase the value.
It is important to work with a lawyer who has handled wrongful death cases in the past, and knows which tactics work and what the judge or jury is looking for.
In a typical personal injury case, the claim will typically start from the date of injury. In a wrongful death case, the case starts from the date of death. There is a strict statute of limitations deadline for wrongful death cases. In Oak Lawn, the decedent’s estate has two years from the date of the death to file a claim. Families should retain legal counsel as soon as possible. When a death is involved, a thorough investigation is often required which might require a significant amount of time. It is important that the family has enough information to file the claim before the statute of limitations runs out.
Because there are so many factors, it is difficult to predict with any certainty how long a wrongful death case will take. It could take as little as six months or in the rarest, most complicated cases it could take as long as six years. Most court cases will resolve within two to three years.
There are many factors which influence the length of a case. If there is a dispute about how the injury or death occurred, that can delay ultimate resolution of a case. If there is no dispute that someone is responsible, there still may be disputes over the amount of damages recoverable.
There are several important elements of investigating a wrongful death case in Oak Lawn. First, the plaintiff’s lawyer must investigate the cause of the death. There must be liability which means that the death was a result of the action or inaction of someone else who could be held responsible. If there is no liability, or no one to blame, then there will be no case to make.
In addition to investigating the liability and the facts, a local lawyer could investigate the potential damages. It is important to document what the individual went through, as well as what the family has experienced, as a result of the death.
Engaging a wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible in the process could help ensure important evidence is preserved for the case.
There are many stages to a wrongful death case. One important milestone is when an agreement is reached on the amount of the settlement. This, however, does not necessarily mean the case is completed. Once an amount is determined, it must be approved by the court. Additionally, the money must be divided among the legal heirs of the deceased.
If the settlement involves a minor, the money must be placed into a trust until the minor is 18. It is important to work with an experienced lawyer so none of these post-settlement issues become a problem in the ultimate resolution of the case. A case is completed when it has been approved by all required courts and all money has been distributed in accordance with the court orders.
While no two cases are the same, most wrongful death cases follow the same process. A nearby attorney who has experience with these claims could take the lead and assemble the best possible case for financial recovery. If someone close to you suffered a wrongful death due to another person’s negligence, a compassionate attorney could help you seek justice. Call today to learn about the wrongful death case process in Oak Lawn as well as your legal options are.