When we lose a loved one unexpectedly due to the negligence or wrongdoing of another individual, it is often tragic and leaves us feeling a great sense of loss. Even during this difficult time, it is important for you to understand your legal rights and what you should and should not do, in the event you have grounds to file a wrongful death claim against the person or party responsible for your loved one’s death.

Your loved one may have died as a result of injuries from an automobile accident or from an accident in the workplace. There are also medical malpractice claims, where a patient inexcusably dies due to a lack of, or improper, care.

  1. Consult with a wrongful death lawyer in a timely manner. The best place to start, if you believe the death of your family member or loved one was the result of negligence, is to arrange a consultation appointment as soon as possible. There are statutes of limitations and, if you wait, you may exceed this time and lose the right to file a claim. In addition, your lawyer will be able to provide you with sound legal advice and how best to proceed.
  2. Submit a claim against your loved one’s life insurance policy. Even though you are distraught, putting off filing this claim can delay the benefit payment. If you are not sure how to do this or are too overwhelmed, get help from a lawyer.
  3. Avoid signing anything without reading it. There will be several forms and documents you will need to sign as part of receiving death benefits. Take the time to read these carefully and, if you do not understand any terminology, take it to a lawyer to find out what it means before you sign it.
  4. Avoid speaking directly with the other person’s insurance company. Often, in these types of cases, where it is clear there was negligence in the death of your loved one, the other party’s insurance company will attempt to contact you directly and try to get you to agree to a settlement by taking advantage of your grief.
    What the insurance company does not want you to know is they have their own team of lawyers they have already consulted with, and, often, they want to settle quietly and quickly or to try to get you to admit the circumstances surrounding the death may not have been entirely as a result of the other party’s negligence, which could hurt your lawsuit if you have sufficient grounds to file.
  5. Obtain accident reports, hospital records, and other supporting documentation. You will want to gather these items, as they can help support your claim. You can also request to have the accident investigated if no formal investigation has taken place.

Here at Johnson Garcia LLP, we understand losing a loved one unexpectedly due to someone else’s actions is a painful and traumatic time. We are here to help you through this difficult period and will fight on your behalf to ensure your rights are protected and that you receive proper compensation. Contact our office at (832) 844-6700now to schedule a consultation appointment.