For anyone involved in a wrongful death suit involving the death of a family member or friend, these are tragic situations that may involve plenty of emotion. Anything that further complicates things here should be avoided, and one example is the realm of myths and misconceptions that have cropped up over the years regarding wrongful death cases – having the right information allows families and individuals to proceed ideally with no confusion.
At the offices of William Rawlings & Associates, we’re proud to offer caring, compassionate wrongful death attorney services to clients around Salt Lake City, Provo and nearby parts of Utah – this in addition to our numerous other personal injury solutions. Sadly, we’ve heard a number of harmful misconceptions about wrongful death cases that may misinform clients or, in the worst cases, cause them to give up on their pursuit of justice altogether. Here are some of these frequent myths, plus the proper information in each area so you can be informed.
Myth #1: Wrongful Death Claims Are Only for Medical Malpractice
While it’s true that medical malpractice is one major reason for wrongful death claims, it’s by no means the only one. A wrongful death claim may ensue from any kind of negligence that causes a fatal injury, including in areas such as car accidents, work-related fatalities, defective product deaths and more.
In fact, anyone who tries to tell you that wrongful death cases are limited to only one small area probably doesn’t know what they’re talking about. These claims absolutely can arise in any instance of wrongful death.
Myth #2: Only Family Members Can File
Once again, while family members are indeed the most common filers of wrongful death claims, this isn’t a requirement in every state. In certain states, you may be able to file even if you weren’t related to the decedent. More commonly, though, states do allow family representatives or personal representatives to file these claims in many cases.
It’s important to check with your local legal team for specifics here – they’ll know exactly who is eligible to file based on current laws and regulations.
Myth #3: You Must Prove Intentional Wrongdoing
Another frequent misconception here is that the accused party must have acted with intention – in other words, they meant to cause harm. In reality, most wrongful death claims are based on negligence or careless behavior. The only times you may need to prove intent usually involve situations such as murder and assault.
For instance, if a driver was speeding and caused a fatal accident, you would not necessarily need to prove intent. So long as negligence can be established, that’s usually enough to form the basis of your claim. Again, speak with an experienced legal team for further explanation on this specific point.
Myth #4: Only Medical or Funeral Expenses Can Be Covered
As you can see, many of these myths fall in the realm of attempting to restrict the types of compensation you can receive – in this case, suggesting that only medical and funeral expenses can be paid for.
In reality, you may be able to pursue much more than this. You could potentially demand coverage for lost wages, pain and suffering, burial expenses or even punitive damages if appropriate. It’s impossible to guess precisely what you’ll be eligible to receive until you speak with a qualified attorney, but don’t believe anyone who tells you that only medical and funeral expenses will be covered.
Myth #5: You Have an Unlimited Time Period to File Wrongful Death Claims
This myth is potentially quite harmful to victims, as it suggests that they can wait indefinitely to file. This is absolutely incorrect – while time limits may differ from state to state, you usually have a specific period in which to act after the death has occurred.
Once this limit passes, you will be barred from filing your claim and receiving compensation. So don’t take chances here – be sure to consult with a legal team as soon as possible after the death has occurred.
By being aware of these myths, you can ensure that you don’t waste time or make bad decisions based on misinformation. With the right understanding and approach, you will be better equipped to handle your wrongful death case in an ideal manner.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to the offices of William Rawlings & Associates for help in this area. Our experienced wrongful death lawyers are ready and willing to answer your questions and work with you to achieve the best possible outcome for your unique situation, or to help you with any other personal injury case in SLC, Provo or surrounding parts of Utah.