If you have decided to bring a lawsuit against the person or entity that caused your loved one’s death, you may want to hire a wrongful death lawyer Des Moines IA trusts. Proving a wrongful death can be complicated and takes a lot of preparation. An experienced lawyer has likely handled other wrongful death cases and knows what it takes to win. In order to recover compensation for a wrongful death, you must prove these elements.
Duty of Care: The first step in winning a wrongful death lawsuit is proving duty of care. Your wrongful death lawyer in Des Moines IA must provide evidence to the court that the defendant was responsible for protecting your deceased family member from harm. There are many duties of care that are owed to members of the public. Drivers owe a duty of care to pedestrians and to other motorists by following the rules of the road, including obeying speed limits, avoiding distractions, and following traffic signals. Doctors owe their patients a duty of care by acting as other competent doctors would act under the same scenario. Store owners owe their customers a duty of care by keeping their property free from hazards.
Breach of Duty of Care: Your wrongful death lawyer Des Moines IA respects must also prove that the defendant breached the duty of care he or she owed your deceased loved one. For instance, let’s say you are trying to prove that the car accident that killed your loved one was caused by a driver who was texting. There must be evidence that proves that the driver was using a phone while driving, such as cell phone records.
Causation: To receive compensation in a wrongful death claim, your wrongful death lawyer Des Moines IA counts on must show that the defendant’s negligent act directly resulted in your loved one’s death. In some cases, it is very easy to prove causation. For example, if a driver hit a pedestrian and the pedestrian dies shortly after, it’s easy to see that collision resulted in the death. However, if a doctor delays diagnosing a patient with cancer and the patient dies, it might be more tricky to prove causation. There may be an argument that the diagnosing the cancer earlier may have not made a difference in the prognosis.
Damages: Finally, the death of the victim must have resulted in monetary damages, including medical bills, funeral and burial costs, loss of income and loss of guidance. Your Des Moines wrongful death lawyer has to calculate the amount of money needed to recover all these losses and present it in court. Because the calculation process can get quite complicated, your wrongful death lawyer Des Moines IA depends on may hire experts, like economists and actuaries, to give their advice on the proper amount of damages.
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Lawsuits
If you wish to file a wrongful death lawsuit, keep in mind that you only have a certain amount of time to do so. In Iowa, you generally have to file a claim within two years of your family member’s death. After this deadline passes, you give up your right to seek compensation through a civil suit. There are certain situations where this deadline might be extended past the two-year mark, so be sure to speak with a wrongful death lawyer Des Moines IA trusts if you believe that your case may be an exemption.
Damages in Wrongful Death Cases
If your loved one was killed because of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to recover several types of damages, including:
- Medical Bills
- Funeral Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Pain and Suffering
- Loss of Consortium
A wrongful death lawyer in Des Moines IA may go over all of these damages with you during your initial consultation and estimate how much compensation you should expect to receive.
Benefits of Hiring a Wrongful Death Lawyer
While it is possible to file a wrongful death claim by yourself, it is not recommended. Pursuing a wrongful death claim can be a very complex process. A wrongful death lawyer Des Moines IA respects may simplify the process and reduce some of your stress. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of hiring a wrongful death lawyer:
- Offer Objectivity: It may be difficult to think straight and make sound decisions when you have just lost a loved one. For example, you may be tempted to take a low settlement just to get things over with. That is what a wrongful death lawyer Des Moines relies on is there for. He or she can think clearly and offer objective advice. With a skilled lawyer on your side, you may be less likely to make poor decisions.
- Assistance With Paperwork: Filing a wrongful death lawsuit requires a lot of paperwork. If you are not familiar with the terminology in the paperwork, you can make mistakes and delay the entire claims process. An experienced wrongful death lawyer Des Moines IA counts on can help you fill out this paperwork without any errors.
- Negotiate With Insurance Companies: Insurance companies are in the business of making money and may try to get away with offering you the lowest compensation possible. A Des Moines wrongful death lawyer will not let the insurance companies take advantage of you. He or she may negotiate a fair settlement with insurance adjusters and go to trial if they are not willing to budge.
- Prepare for Court: If your case makes it to trial, a good wrongful death lawyer Des Moines IA offers may help you prepare for court. Going into a courtroom can be intimidating if you are by yourself. Your lawyer may tell you what to expect and give you advice on what to say and what not to say.
To speak with a wrongful death lawyer Des Moines IA offers, contact Johnston | Martineau, PLLP at 515-493-4878.