According to the CDC, there were 169,936 unintentional injury deaths, 36,338 unintentional fall deaths, 40,231 motor vehicle deaths, and 64,795 unintentional poisoning deaths in 2017.
The accidental death of a family member is shocking and can have a heavy financial impact. Funeral costs, debt, loss of that person’s wages, and medical bills, can leave your head spinning. Attorneys for wrongful deaths have experience in getting you the compensation you deserve for the loss of your loved one. Here are factors to consider when hiring an attorney for a wrongful death case.
Wrongful death falls under the personal injury category in many law firms, but there is a difference. Ask the attorney you are considering how much experience they have with wrongful death cases. This includes whether they specialize in this area of law, the number of cases won, and how long they have been practicing.
2. Time to Resolve Case
This is not an absolute, as every case is different. Factors vary in terms of how willing the other side is to settle, the evidence, whether experts are necessary, accident reports, medical records, and more. An attorney with a wrongful death experience will be able to give you an estimate on how long it will take from the time of filing to resolution.
3. Legal Opinion
What is the attorney’s legal opinion on your case? An attorney with wrongful death experience will be able to tell you whether they think your case is strong and solid, mid-range, or if they think your ability to win is slim. Their legal opinion may include their estimate on what type of settlement they will be seeking.
4. Will Others Be Working on Your Case?
A small law firm will likely have the attorney you hire and a paralegal working on your case. In large law firms, your consultation maybe with an intake person, not the attorney who will handle your case. Larger firms may have an entire group of staff you will be dealing with including paralegals, interns, and others.
What you should know is who the main contact people are, the best means of communicating with them, plus the phone number and email address for each person.
When you have a wrongful death case you will be working closely with your attorney throughout the process. Hire an attorney with a personality comparable to yours and who understands your goals. If you do not like the person you are hiring it will be a difficult relationship, regardless of how good their success record is.
6. Settlement Offers
Do not agree to any settlement offers you receive from an insurance company, hospital, an attorney, or anyone else until you consult with an attorney. In a wrongful death matter, the responsible person may try to obtain a low-ball settlement as quickly as possible. Once you sign settlement documentation you can not later file for a larger amount.
You also want to have an attorney look at the settlement documents to make sure there is no wording that is not to your benefit.
Choose Attorneys for Wrongful Deaths Carefully
Selecting attorneys for wrongful deaths is something you must do while under considerable emotional and financial stress. Check the attorney’s website for reviews or testimonials to learn about their success in wrongful deaths.
Fees are not a concern as the majority of attorneys handle wrongful death cases on a contingency fee. This means you do not pay attorney fees unless they win your case. There will be a contract you sign when you hire the attorney under these terms. Make sure you completely read and understand the contract before signing.
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