The grief of losing a relative can be overwhelming, and it makes sense that you might not have considered hiring an attorney right away. Your need to attend to your loved one’s affairs and spend time with your family should naturally be at the forefront of your mind.
However, if someone’s negligence led to the death, you should make time to speak with our attorneys about filing a wrongful death claim sooner rather than later. Only an attorney can ensure that you don’t make any accidental errors
that put a compensation claim at risk.
Mistakes to Avoid in a Wrongful Death Claim
You're probably not thinking clearly after losing a loved one, and it’s understandable that grief might be a contributing factor to mistakes. We want you to be aware of these errors to strengthen your case and avoid giving the other side any leverage that can affect your settlement.
The most common mistakes survivors make include:
- Waiting too long to investigate the claim. No matter how guilty you believe the negligent party to be, your case will only succeed if you can prove it. Most accident scenes are cleared away in a matter of hours, losing precious evidence in your case. In addition, families have only a limited period of time to file a lawsuit before the right to receive damages is lost forever.
The more time our firm has to investigate the details of the accident and gather evidence on your behalf, the better your chances of collecting full and fair payment for your losses.
- Speaking to insurance companies. Adjusters often contact family members after a death, using carefully-prepared scripts to avoid liability while getting you to accept less (or nothing) in your claim. You should never speak to an insurance carrier after a wrongful death without first consulting us.
We can spare you the pain of talking to insurers and prevent you from saying anything in a recorded call that could be used against you later.
- Undervaluing your claim. Most family members are unaware of the lawsuit process, and don't know how much their case is worth. For instance, you may collect compensation for personal injury damages on behalf of your loved one, as well as payment for your own suffering and losses resulting from the death. If you don't calculate all of your losses properly, you may ask for far less than you’re owed.
We can perform a thorough estimate of your losses and negotiate with insurers to get an amount that fully covers your costs.
- Pushing for a fast resolution. Some cases result in a reasonable offer before the need to file suit, while others will only be resolved after a lengthy trial process. There are multiple factors that affect the timeline of an injury case, and pushing for a fast settlement almost always leaves clients underpaid.
If you're struggling with increased costs, we can examine other ways to pay the bills while the case is pending and relieve the stress you're under by taking legal matters off your plate.
- Not hiring the right lawyer. If you don't choose the right attorney for your wrongful death claim, it’s going to be very difficult to win your case or get all the compensation available to you. You need to hire a personal injury lawyer who has experience winning wrongful death cases, and who's willing to go to trial if necessary. If you hire somebody who has never filed a wrongful death case, they may not know the ways to maximize your recovery.
On the other hand, if you hire a wrongful death attorney who doesn’t handle trial work, insurance companies and defense lawyers are much less likely to offer you a fair settlement, because your lawyer isn't willing to take it all the way to court. Our trial lawyers make insurers take your claim seriously, putting you in a much better position to negotiate an adequate settlement.
A wrongful death case won't bring back your loved one, but it can help you support your family after an unexpected loss and provide the closure you need to move forward. If someone in your family was killed as a result of negligence, our wrongful death attorney at DeLoach, Hofstra & Cavonis will listen to your story and advise you on your options. Simply fill out the quick contact form on this page to set up a consultation and get answers to your questions.