A wrongful death occurs when a person dies due to a negligent act of another person. If you can prove liability and negligence, it’s possible to recover damages.
Losing a loved one due to someone’s negligence is devastating. A wrongful death attorney from Morris Bart can help take you through the necessary steps of obtaining compensation while giving you time and space for grieving.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Southaven?
When a wrongful death occurs, the decedent’s surviving family is usually eligible for filing a claim against the at-fault party. In Mississippi, only the following family members can seek compensation:
- Surviving spouse
- Surviving children
- Surviving parent (if there aren’t any surviving children, or the decedent is a minor)
- Surviving siblings (if there aren’t any surviving spouses or children)
- The executor of the estate
While there can be only one wrongful death lawsuit, all eligible parties have the right to join it.
For a free legal consultation with a Wrongful Death lawyer serving Southaven, call 800-537-8185
How Much Time You Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Southaven
The statute of limitations in Mississippi gives surviving family members three years from the date of death to file a claim.
Some exceptions may apply to the statute of limitations. If the three years are up, consider contacting an attorney anyway. Your case may be eligible for some of these exceptions.
While three years may seem like a long time, it’s not a good idea to wait. Consider filing a claim and contacting a wrongful death lawyer in Southaven as soon as possible. Keep in mind that even if the at-fault party’s negligence seems obvious, you still need to prove it.
The at-fault party is likely to hire an attorney for the defense. If you don’t do the same, you may end up getting a lower payout, or worse, losing the case.
How to Prove Negligence in a Wrongful Death Case
Proving negligence in a wrongful death case is similar to doing it in a personal injury case. You have to demonstrate four elements of negligence:
- Legal duty of care – The duty is acting reasonably to abstain from actions that could harm another person. For example, a driver needs to follow traffic laws on the road, while a medical professional should take care of the patient to the best of their ability.
- Breach of the legal duty of care – you would have to demonstrate that the defendant breached the legal duty of care. For example, a driver runs a red light and causes a fatal accident, or a surgeon makes a recklessly wrong decision during an operation.
- Causation – you would need to show that the breach of the legal duty of care led to your loved one’s death. For example, a car crash led to a highly traumatic brain injury that turned out to be fatal, or a vehicle manufacturer installs a faulty steering column.
- Damages – you have to show that the death of your loved one led to damages. For example, you lost the only breadwinner in the family and now have no source of income.
Proving negligence in a wrongful death case requires:
- Conducting a thorough investigation
- Collecting extensive evidence
- Obtaining witness testimonies
- Hiring expert witnesses
- Examining medical and crash reports (when applicable)
Since proving negligence would make the at-fault party responsible for covering damages, their legal team will likely fight to make sure you don’t do it. Wrongful death cases usually get much more attention from insurance companies and courts than other personal injury cases do. That’s why it’s imperative to hire a legal professional when building your case strategy.
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Damages You Can Seek in a Wrongful Death Claim
If you prove negligence in a wrongful death claim, you can try to recover the following damages:
These are the damages that can be backed by tangible evidence. They are:
- Pre-death medical expenses
- Property damage
- Funeral expenses
- Burial costs
- Lost wages
- Loss of inheritance
- Loss of financial support
- Loss of services and assistance
To prove these damages, you would need to present such evidence as medical bills, doctor’s reports, funeral bills, etc. You can also bring in witnesses who can testify about the loss of services and assistance.
The death of a loved one is always accompanied by suffering. You can try to seek compensation for:
- Pain and suffering of the decedent before their death.
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of affection
- Loss of guidance
- Loss of consortium
- The survivor’s mental anguish
To prove non-economic damages, you would need to present evidence and hire expert witnesses who can testify to the extent of your suffering. While demonstrating non-economic damages is often harder than proving economic damages, they can also lead to higher compensation.
How Can a Wrongful Death Lawyer Help Your Case?
Wrongful death claims are rarely simple. From determining liability and proving negligence to obtaining evidence and conducting negotiations, a person without legal experience can make numerous mistakes. A wrongful death lawyer can help:
- Design an effective case strategy
- Collect evidence
- File all documents on time
- Provide legal advice
- Evaluate the damages
- Negotiate with an insurance company
- Take the case to court if necessary
While you are grieving the loss of a loved one, taking care of legal matters can be tough. That’s why many people tend to put them off. As a result, they miss filing deadlines, lose evidence, and end up getting lower settlements.
By hiring a wrongful death attorney, you can have peace of mind about legal action and gain time for grieving.
Contact an Experienced Southaven Wrongful Death Lawyer Today
If you’ve lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligent actions, you can seek compensation. Having an experienced Southaven wrongful death attorney from Morris Bart in your corner can help you get the money you deserve.
Call us for a free case evaluation today.
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