St. George Wrongful Death LawyerRequest Free Consultation
For real closure, you need real justice. Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult things you will ever face in life. When that tragic loss is due to the negligence of another, the pain and frustration are even more unbearable. Although there is sometimes a criminal prosecution related to the fatality, a wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action that is distinct and separate from any criminal proceedings. Many different circumstances give rise to wrongful deaths, including medical malpractice, motor vehicle accidents, toxic torts, manufacturing defects, and criminal activity.
What is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death occurs when the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another. When this occurs, the decedent’s heirs or personal representatives on behalf of his heirs may bring an action for damages against the responsible party. While any accident that was caused by someone or something else that led to the death of your loved one could lead to a successful wrongful death claim, there are certain accidents and incidents that lead to wrongful death claims more often than others. In addition, some occupations are more dangerous than others, such as construction work in which the risk of fall injuries are markedly higher than in other occupations.
Wrongful death claims are often due to the following:
- Motor vehicle accidents – one of the leading causes of wrongful death in the United States is motor vehicle collisions, and depending upon the circumstances of the accident you could be entitled to a bring a wrongful death claim for the loss of your loved one.
- Pedestrian accidents – when drivers are not attentive, responsible, or sober while driving and they strike a pedestrian, unguarded by a metal chassis and airbags, severe injury and death often occur, entitling the pedestrian’s family to bring a wrongful death action.
- 18-wheeler crashes – large trucks and buses account for over 5,000 fatalities each year according to the US Department of Transportation, and the at-fault trucking company’s insurance carrier will be responsible for your wrongful death claim.
- Rideshare accidents – Uber, Lyft, and other rideshares are increasingly common on the roads today, and their drivers and passengers are getting into fatal accidents with other vehicles on the road more often, leading to more wrongful death actions and awards.
- Medical malpractice – when you receive a medical procedure, the doctor is required to deliver a procedure that meets the standard of care, and when this does not happen and you lose a loved one, you can collect coverage for your financial losses and more through a wrongful death action.
- Toxic torts – exposure to chemicals that lead to death, or conditions that cause death like cancer, will generally entitle to survivor’s family and loved ones to make up for the lack of their contributions to the household.
- Manufacturing defects – if you have lost a loved one due to a defective product, such as a brake malfunction on a motor vehicle or a tainted food product, you may have the option of bringing a wrongful death action against the manufacturer, and in some cases the retailer of the defective item.
- Criminal activity – when a life is lost due to the law-breaking behavior of another, they will be civilly liable for damages through a wrongful death claim, which is an action concerned with monetary compensation that is separate from a criminal case. The outcome of a criminal case can be used in support of your civil case however.
Who can file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit?
In general, a wrongful death claim must be filed by the survivors who suffered harm from the decedent’s death. These survivors are called “real parties in interest” and the eligibility of family members differs state to state. In Utah, the only people who can file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit are: Surviving spouses, children, including adopted children and adult children, and Parents and adoptive parents. If none of these are available, the executor of the decedent’s estate can also file. However, siblings, friends, and colleagues are not permitted to file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit.
Determining whether or not you have standing to bring a wrongful death claim can be difficult, and your experienced St. George wrongful death attorney is standing by to help. We will assess the facts and circumstances of your situation, and determine if a family representative is possible, and if not whether it is possible to assign a representative for your lost loved one’s estate to bring the wrongful death action. The law provides various options and paths to pursue the best possible compensation in your case, and the best way to take advantage of all the potential options to collect what you are entitled to is by working with a wrongful death lawyer.
Statute of limitations for wrongful death claims and lawsuits
In every type of case in Utah, there is a deadline in which to file a claim and lawsuit, also known as a statute of limitations. In Utah, this statute of limitations is two years from the date of your loved one’s death. If you are outside of this time period, there are some exceptions that may extend this deadline, but you need the careful analysis of a knowledgeable wrongful death attorney to determine if these exceptions apply to your case.
The statute of limitations is basically an expiration date for your claim, and if you miss it, your claim is spoiled and will get thrown out if you ever try and bring it. You will no longer be able to collect compensation for any of the associated damages of your wrongful death, and your household will have to bear the financial brunt of your loss. The purpose of a wrongful death claim is to ensure that this does not happen and that your family is not left in a worse-off financial position. Your loved one can never be replaced, but through a wrongful death action the negative financial repercussions of their loss are minimized.
If you wait too long to file your claim, you may lose the right to seek any compensation for the tragedy you have endured. The two-year limit is actually not a very large window when you consider how complicated wrongful death cases can be. They require extensive investigation, evidence collection, and preparation before an attorney can file them. A wrongful death lawyer can be an invaluable resource during this time of hardship and can help you plan the steps you can take to obtain compensation on behalf of the estate.
The limited circumstances where you can bring a claim after the two years depend upon when the injury was discovered. For example, when it comes to carcinogenic chemicals, those that cause cancer, the statute of limitations begins when the injury is discovered. It may take decades of exposure to toxic chemicals in the workplace before cancer emerges, but once it is discovered and learned to be due to chemical exposure, the clock will start ticking. Protecting your rights involves filing your claim or case in a timely manner, and your St. George wrongful death attorney from We Win Injury Law will keep the schedule, and get your claim in so that it is fully considered, and ideally completely awarded.
Call today for a Free Consultation
Our promise to you is that we guarantee that we won’t charge any fees in your wrongful death claim and lawsuit until we settle your case or receive a jury verdict. This is because if we take your wrongful death claim, we will take it on contingency. That means we only get paid if we win, out of a portion of the earnings that we’ll agree upon before getting started on your case. There is no up-front cost for your initial consultation, and you will pay nothing out of pocket ever throughout the entirety of the process. You only stand to win, and we only get paid if that happens.
For your risk-free, cost-free case assessment, schedule a consultation or call (435) 688-9558 to discuss options. Our dedicated St. George wrongful death lawyers are standing by to review your case and help you collect what you deserve.