3 Of The Biggest Mistakes People Make When Filing A Wrongful Death Claim
If a family member passes away, it's almost always an emotionally overwhelming time. If it was under circumstances that shouldn't have been, it can be tough to focus on anything else for a while. Fortunately, you do have rights if you suspect your family member's death was in a wrongful situation. But, since this is a process most people never deal with, it can be confusing. Here's a look at some of the most common mistakes people make when filing a wrongful death claim.
Mistake #1: Waiting Too Long
Every state has a statute of limitations on wrongful death claims. Usually, this is between one and three years. If you wait to start a claim beyond your state's window, your claim will be denied. While starting legal proceedings isn't an easy thing to do in the wake of a loved one's death, it's crucial to a successful claim. In some states, the statute covers only the time of the actual death. In some states though, the statute extends to the discovery of the cause of death. For example: someone passes away, then two years later it's discovered that it was through preventable circumstances in their workplace. In a state with a one year from the death statute, it would be too late to claim. In a state with a "discovery" statute, you would have a year from the date of discovery.
Mistake #2: Not Having All Your Information Together
It's not easy, but you will need to make an effort to gather as much paperwork as possible. This includes medical records, doctor's notes, a coroner's or autopsy report, and a death certificate. All of this information will help your legal counsel make their case. Having your information together makes the proceedings much easier, and increases your chance of a successful case.
Mistake #3: Not Reaching Out
Having someone in your family pass away is always a tough time. If the death was under preventable circumstances, it can be even more difficult. Add in complex legal proceedings that can drag on for months or even years, and you may have emotional issues that need serious help. Many people who file wrongful death lawsuits don't make an effort to reach out to a counselor or support group. Connecting with people in a similar situation can provide much needed mental support, and can even provide you with help through the process.
Because this process can be so confusing, it's best to enlist the help of professionals. A wrongful death attorney has dealt with this situation likely hundreds of times, and knows the specific ins and outs. Should you suspect that a loved one was killed wrongfully, your first steps should be to consult an attorney.