Questions to Answer if You Are Not Sure if You Have a Valid Wrongful Death Case
There may be nothing in the world that is harder to live through than the death of a loved one that was caused by someone else acting negligently or recklessly. It is normal to go over and over the details to try and figure out how it could have ended differently. In that situation, people are often actually looking for closure. In some situations, filing a wrongful death lawsuit can actually provide that closure.
That said, not every death fits the legal definition of a wrongful death. If you are considering filing this type of lawsuit, ask yourself the following questions to decide if your case qualifies. Then contact Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas at 909-982-0707 and we would be happy to give you a free legal consultation.
Was the Death the Direct Result of Another Personal Acting Negligently? Can You Prove It?
First, you must determine that your loved one’s death was indeed directly caused by another party or person acting negligently. Secondly, you may be able to prove it. This involves showing that the defendant had a duty of care to the victim, that the defendant breached that duty of care, and that the breach of duty directly resulted in the death of your loved one.
Consider this example: A driver breached their care of duty by not stopping at a stop sign. If they got into a car accident with the victim and the victim died as a result, then a wrongful death case may be warranted. However, if the death of the victim was not related to the running of the stop sign, for example if the driver had a heart attack while waiting for an ambulance to arrive and the heart attack was deemed unrelated to the accident, then the driver would not be at fault.
Do I Have the Legal Status to File a Wrongful Death Case?
Not everyone has the legal right to file a wrongful death case. In most cases, only a child, spouse, or other dependent may file a wrongful death case. There are exceptions in which parents, nephews, nieces, and even grandparents can file. If there are no family members, then whoever is line to inherited the deceased’s estate may be able to file a wrongful death case.
How Much Time Has Passed Since the Death?
You do not have an unlimited amount to file a wrongful death case. In most cases, you will have two years from the date of the death. There are exceptions. If you did not immediately discover that the death was the cause of someone’s negligence, then you may able to start the clock to two years on the date that you discovered the negligence. On the other hand, if your case involves a government entity, then you only have six months to begin the process.