How do I know if I have an action for Wrongful Death?
This article was written to help the family of fatal accidents know that they might have an action for wrongful death. It is also a warning of the pit falls that exist with hiring a big firm to handle your wrongful death claim.
If a loved one dies due to the negligence or misconduct of another then you may be entitled to bring an action for wrongful death.
An action for wrongful death lies with the heirs of the deceased. Most states have a civil "wrongful death statute, which establishes the procedures for bringing wrongful death actions. Actions for personal injury, conscious pain and suffering, or expenses incurred prior to the decedent's death can be brought by the personal representative of the deceased.
A wrongful death claim may arise out of a number of circumstances, such as in the following situations:
Medical malpractice which results in death; An Automobile accident; Exposure to a dangerous condition on the job; And many other situations in which someone's negligence results in the death of another person.
Finding a competent attorney to handle a wrongful death claim can be a very difficult task. It is unfortunate that there are so many lawyers out there that will simply take your case without the experience necessary to adequately handle it. In some cases these same lawyers will act as a "rainmaker" or someone that brings clients in to the firm and signs them up. The major problem with this situation is that the attorney that has brought you into the firm and that you have met with is not the attorney that will be handling your case.
Many lawyers also prescribe to the practice of referring your case out to another attorney. What this means to you is that you just wasted your time going into the office of an attorney that will not be handling your case. The practice of referring a case to another attorney happens quite often when a plaintiff brings their wrongful death claim to an attorney that typically does not handle that type of claim. In this scenario the referring attorney will normally sign up to represent the plaintiff and will receive a referral fee from the attorney that settles the case.
Don't fall victim to the lawyer bait and switch, if you have a loved one that has suffered due to the negligence of another, contact an attorney immediately. The statute of limitations (time you have to bring your claim) for personal injury and wrongful death actions is typically two years from the date of the accident. However this is not a hard and fast rule there are some exceptions, but it is important that you don't waste anymore time. Without the assistance of an attorney you may receive a fraction of the amount you are entitled to.
The Law Office of Albert Lee Giddens
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
This article is based on my legal experience and my legal education.