Putting a price on someone's life is not something that is going to feel good to anyone. But if you have recently lost someone close to you, you can seek monetary damages as a way of being made whole again while also punishing the person that caused your loved one to leave too soon. The exact laws regarding wrongful death cases will vary by state, but in general, here are some tips that can help you get this complicated process started.
Make Sure You Qualify
Before you can file a wrongful death suit, you will first need to make sure you are eligible to do so. Again, the rules by state can vary, but in general, you need to be a spouse, be a parent, have power of attorney, or be the executor of the estate in order to file the wrongful death suit on your loved one's behalf. If someone close to you dies and you are not immediately apparent as the one who could file the lawsuit, you should reach out to any other family members who fit the bill. If there is still confusion, you may need to have a court name you as the executor of the estate before you can move forward.
Don't Forget Future Earnings
When people think about damages in a wrongful death case, they often think about damages due to emotional anguish caused to the rest of the family. While this is certainly something to consider, there's another area you don't want to overlook, and that's your loved one's future earnings. If someone close to you lost their life while they were still employed and earning, you can seek the amount of money your loved one would have brought into the family over the next 10 or 20 years and so on. This can be more complicated when the loved one is a deceased young person, but you might be able to prove that your child or teen would have gone to medical school or law school or taken up a certain career that would have paid them a certain amount of money.
Don't Move Forward Without an Attorney
For best results when it comes to wrongful death cases, you need a wrongful death lawyer with you every step of the way. He or she will make sure you are qualified, help you calculate future earnings and other potential awards, and may be able to get you a settlement that will keep the family from a painful trial.
For more information, contact a wrongful death lawyer.