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How to file a wrongful death lawsuit and what to expect: Comprehensive Guide (2022)

If you’ve lost a loved one due to another person’s negligence, you may get left with feelings of sadness, regret, and anger. You might even be questioning whether the death was truly an accident or if it was something that the person who passed away deserved to happen. 

While these emotions are common following the loss of a loved one, they can also cause headaches, stress, and mental anguish if left unchecked. And this is where seeking the assistance of the Durham Wrongful Death Attorney could be beneficial. 

Though wrongful death lawsuits are not taken lightly in most cases, they can also be necessary if you want to take action following the tragic passing of someone else. If this article is for you, it may be your parent, child, friend, spouse, or any other relation. We take pride in offering our readers clear explanations and information on various aspects of wrongful death lawyers so that you don’t need to spend hours researching before making a final decision.

What is a wrongful death lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit is an action that the surviving family members of the deceased person pursue if they feel their loved one’s death was due to someone else’s negligence. The family will typically seek financial restitution for medical bills, funeral expenses, and other damages. 

Ways that you can file a wrongful death lawsuit include filing under a personal injury claim or a criminal death action. You might also be able to file under the decedent’s probate estate.

Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit?

The person who filed the lawsuit is called the “plaintiff” in this type of case. There are two types of plaintiff sets.

  • The person harmed by the death 
  • The personal representative of their estate 

In many cases, it depends upon the surviving spouse or relative to file a wrongful death lawsuit and be named a plaintiff. If you don’t have a spouse or relative, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit if you’re related to the deceased. 

However, there are some instances where it might not be possible for anyone to file a wrongful death lawsuit, such as when someone dies from natural causes or if they die in action during wartime.

What are the time limits for submitting a wrongful death lawsuit?

Time limits for filing a wrongful death lawsuit vary depending on the type of case. Sometimes, you can file after a certain amount of time has passed. In others, you cannot file until certain steps are taken. The following is a breakdown of the different time frames with which you may be able to pursue legal action. 

Two years from the date of your loved one’s death 

If you feel someone else was negligent and caused their passing, this is the first time limit you should consider. After two years, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit as long as it was not an intentional killing such as murder or manslaughter. 

One year from the date of your loved one’s death 

You should consider pursuing this type of case if it was either not an accidental injury or if there is something that you believe the responsible party will do after realizing they were at fault for the tragic event. In these cases, a lawyer could help gather evidence and build a stronger case for taking legal action. 

Three years from the date of Your loved one’s death

This third and final time frame gets reserved for instances in which someone at fault made threats or took steps to harm your loved one before they died. For example, if someone involved in your loved one’s injury went home after injuring them without reporting what had happened or without alerting any authorities, then this time frame could

How is a wrongful death lawsuit filed?

To start a wrongful death lawsuit, you’ll need to file the appropriate paperwork with the court. It includes filing a complaint and presenting evidence of negligence on behalf of your loved one’s cause of death. 

You must also establish that there are monetary damages to be awarded. In some cases, the grieving family can recover compensation for funeral expenses, loss of companionship, and other costs associated with their loved one’s death. If you can clarify that another party was careless, intentional, or reckless, that party can be held accountable for their actions. By paying monetary damages and securing an apology from them in addition to any other remedies, they may want.

What happens after the complaint is filed?

Once you’ve filed the wrongful death lawsuit with the court, there will be a discovery process that begins. The discovery process is an opportunity for both sides to gather evidence and information to better their case. It is important to note that this process can take years, so it is best to hire Durham Wrongful Death Attorney sooner rather than later. Some things that can get discovered during this process include information about eyewitnesses, physical evidence, and medical records. 

Once all evidence is gathered, a trial will commence where both sides have the opportunity to present their case before a jury or judge. After the problem concludes, both parties get a chance to appeal if they feel an injustice gets done.

Conclusion

Wrongful death lawsuits get used to sue for the loss of life due to a breach of duty by an individual or company. In addition, the law allows individuals who have lost a loved one due to another person’s negligent or intentional act to file a lawsuit. For example, a parent could sue the hospital for not providing adequate care for their child. 

You should file for a death lawsuit within the given period as stated above; otherwise, it will get useless. Durham Wrongful Death Attorney can help you file a wrongful death lawsuit and guide you through the case.

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