How Our Attorneys Handle Wrongful Death Cases: Meeting the Needs of the Family
In all of our cases, we take the time to get to know who the person who died was, what that person meant to the family (both financially and emotionally), what the person’s job was and what future prospects the person may have had, and what the person’s hobbies and other community activities were.
We try to get as full a picture as possible of the person’s life because we have to persuasively present evidence as to the value of that life. The process is difficult for the family, but we understand and try to make it part of the healing process and not an additional burden.
Our goals are to get justice for families and to make sure they do not needlessly suffer financially.
Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death?
When someone dies due to the negligence of another, the law allows the heirs and “next of kin” of the decedent a claim for money damages. This is called a “wrongful death claim.”
The “next of kin” generally includes the following family members: wife, husband, son, daughter, parent, grandmother, grandfather, grandson, granddaughter, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew and cousin. We recently had someone contact us who said her uncle told her she could not sue for the wrongful death of her parent because she was an adult child. This is absolutely false. Adult children have the right to sue when their parents are killed due to the carelessness of another (person or company).
The person who brings a wrongful death lawsuit is usually called a “trustee.” He or she is appointed by a judge to sue for compensation on behalf of all of the heirs (spouse and blood relatives) of the person who died.
Proving Fault in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
A wrongful death lawsuit is brought against the person or company whose fault caused the wrongful death. The law in most states requires the trustee (through his or her lawyer) to prove the fault of the defendant (the person being sued) is greater than the fault of the deceased person.
Compensation for Loss
A wrongful death lawsuit is not a criminal prosecution. Only state or federal prosecutors can bring criminal charges. The sole reason for a wrongful death claim is to compensate the heirs of the decedent for their loss.
Each state has different laws about the type of losses for which wrongful death compensation is allowed.
•All states allow for the recovery of lost income the decedent would have provided his loved ones.
•Most states do not allow recovery for grief or anger suffered by the surviving heirs, but do allow money damages for the loss of advice, care, comfort and companionship the deceased would have provided had he or she lived.
•Some states also allow money damages for the pain and suffering of the deceased person prior to death.
Types of Wrongful Death Cases
Wrongful death lawsuits are typically pursued in cases involving auto accidents, medical malpractice, product liability and any other situations in which the fault of someone other than an employer caused the death (in most states wrongful death lawsuits are not allowed if the death was caused solely by the fault of the deceased worker, the employer or a co-worker).
Many states have interpreted the wrongful death statutes to allow families to sue for compensation for the death of an unborn baby due to an accident, malpractice or defective product.
Court Approves Division of Proceeds
Once the trustee and his or her wrongful death lawyer collect all of the financial compensation allowed by law, it is up to the court to approve the wrongful death settlement and divide the proceeds. In most cases, the family agrees upon how the money should be divided and the judge simply approves the agreement. But if the family cannot agree upon a distribution that is fair to all, the judge will take testimony and then decide the amount each person will receive.
Wrongful Death Attorney:
Experience, Excellence, and a Record of Success
Because of our past successes, Krupp Law Offices PC has the resources and experience to take on complex wrongful death cases and obtain significant compensation for families.
KRUPP LAW OFFICES PC
161 Ottawa NW Suite 404
Grand Rapids MI 49503