How Does a Wrongful Death Claim Work?

A wrongful death claim is a type of lawsuit brought when someone dies as the result of someone else’s negligent or intentional act. It is hard enough to cope after the death of a loved one, but it can seem even more devastating if their death could have been avoided. You may be wondering, How does a wrongful death claim work?

The experienced California wrongful death attorneys at The Larsen Firm Law Firm understand how difficult this time can be. With over 40 years of experience representing wrongful death claims across the state, we understand the intricacies of the law and what it takes to get you the compensation you deserve. No monetary amount can ever make up for the loss of the loved one, but achieving justice may help bring some sense of peace. We can help you understand how a wrongful death suit works and guide you through the process. 

How Does a Wrongful Death Claim Work?

The legal process is rarely pleasant and can be confusing at best. Wrongful death is a cause of action that falls under the umbrella of personal injury law. This type of case is brought in civil court. 

A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed even if a criminal case is ongoing at the same time. This type of case often begins with an insurance claim, though it does not always have to. Here are the general steps to answer the question, How do wrongful death suits work?

File an Insurance Claim

Your first step is to file a claim with the negligent party’s insurance company. If you are claiming liability belongs to a government sector, you will need to file with that specific municipality. It is important to remember that insurance companies often have their own legal counsel. They are rarely going to take into consideration all your needs when offering a settlement. 

Calculate Damages

To avoid being taken advantage of by the insurance companies, determine how much your claim is worth. This takes into account careful consideration of the deceased’s funeral and burial expenses, any medical expenses related to the death, wages, future earning potential, relation to the family member, pain and suffering, post-traumatic stress, and more. If you do not know how much your claim is worth, you cannot know what constitutes a reasonable settlement offer. 

Send a Demand Letter

A demand letter is sent to the insurance company or appropriate party by your attorney, explaining the circumstances of the claim. It will also outline the necessary actions and amounts that you and your legal counsel deem reasonable for a settlement offer. 

Receive Initial Settlement Offer

The insurance company or municipality will assess the demand letter and offer a settlement based on policy terms, the circumstances of death, and how much liability they believe belongs to their client. 

Offer Denial or Acceptance

You do not have to accept the first offer you receive if it does not reasonably meet your demands. The legal team at The Larsen Firm strongly recommend that you give a settlement careful consideration before acceptance. Do not accept an insufficient offer. 

Settlement Negotiations

If you choose to make a counteroffer, it is best to have your wrongful death attorney negotiate with the insurance company and their legal team. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, you may pursue other legal options for recovery. 

Pursuing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

You have up to two years from the date of death to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. It’s important to make sure the insurance negotiation process doesn’t extend so long that it prevents you from bringing your case. Once you and your attorney decide to file the lawsuit, they will assist you in filing the proper paperwork and preparing your case. 

Do I Have a California Wrongful Death Claim?

Eligible survivors of the deceased must be able to prove specific criteria to have a valid wrongful death lawsuit. If you are wondering, How does a wrongful death lawsuit work? it starts with gathering proof of all the necessary elements for this cause of action. 

It must be true that someone died. Additionally, you have to show that the death was the result of someone else’s negligent or intentional act, the survivors suffered monetarily due to the death, and there is a representative for the deceased’s estate. 

Hiring a Wrongful Death Attorney

The Larsen Firm Law Firm has a 99% success rate for our clients. Our practice focuses on wrongful death and other serious personal injury cases. This means we have a full understanding of the California legal system and the sensitive nature of the grief and frustration our clients may be experiencing. The Larsen Firm has been named one of the top personal injury law firms in the state of California by Best Lawyers. Contact us to schedule your case consultation.

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