If you lost a loved one recently, then you might be interested in a wrongful death lawsuit. Such a lawsuit can be an excellent way of lessening the financial burdens that you are currently facing. You might be dealing an expensive funeral and reduced income as a result of lost wages. To help make sure that you lawsuit is successful, you should be aware of the following legal concepts:
The Statute of Limitations
First, you want to make sure that you file your lawsuit before its too late. Every state has a different statute of limitations for wrongful deaths, so you'll need to check the laws in your state as soon as possible.
For example, New York requires that you file within 2 years of the death, which is less than the 3 years that you are given to file for a personal injury lawsuit.
Some states also group wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits together for the statute of limitations, which means that you have the same amount of time to file a lawsuit when someone dies as you would have when someone is seriously injured instead.
You also want to be aware of how your state treats damages when it comes to compensation. If you know the maximum amount of money that you can ask for, then that gives you a good idea of how much space you have to maneuver. You might need to rethink how much money you are asking for, since you might not be fully considering the ramifications of your loss.
For example, if a provider dies, then there could be serious financial burdens down the road. The loss of income could be catastrophic, as could the the lost potential for promotion. Beyond that, there is the emotional toll of a loss.
All of these elements and more will factor into determining how much money you will win. However, there are actually an entirely different type of damages that you might not have really thought about: punitive damages.
Punitive damages are only awarded in cases where you can prove that the defendant acted out of gross negligence, which can be tough to prove. However, if you have sufficient evidence and believe that the defendant acted wholly in the wrong, then you might be able to convince the jury to impose punitive damages.
Punitive damages are meant to punish the defense, rather than reward you, which is the main reason why they are rare and difficult to acquire. Contact a lawyer, like Gregory J Hermiller, for more help.
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