If your loved one has been killed in an auto accident, including being killed as a pedestrian or riding a bicycle, through no fault of their own, you need to consult with a personal injury attorney that has experience in wrongful death cases. There is no benefit to speaking to insurance representatives. This type of case is complicated, and you need an attorney to represent your interests. The following are a few things they can do for you.
They can help determine if you have a case
The laws are specific about what constitutes wrongful death. Just because someone has died in a car accident, doesn't mean anyone is to blame. But if you're loved one has died due to the negligence of another driver, you may have a case of wrongful death. If your loved one was killed by a drunk driver, this is likely negligence. If the death occurred because your loved one was in a crosswalk when the light was green when they were struck by the car, it is likely a case of wrongful death. These are only a couple of examples.
They can assist in calculating compensation
Surviving family members are those who are entitled to compensation. Some of this compensation may be for medical expenses incurred prior to death and funeral expenses. You can also be compensated for the loss of income that your loved one would have earned in life, and there is also compensation for the loss of companionship. For children, there is the loss of guidance that a parent would have provided. There have been precedents established by court rulings that an attorney can use to calculate how much money you are entitled to.
They can negotiate a settlement
A lawyer can identify who is to blame and where the compensation will come from. Sometimes there is more than one person at fault, so there will be more than one insurance company to deal with. If one of the parties had no insurance, but your loved one had uninsured motorist, it is possible that their insurance company will be paying compensation. There is also the issue of insurance policies having maximum payouts. In some situations, an attorney may have to sue an individual for part of the compensation.
It is understandable that you will need to go through a grieving process, but you should know that there are limitations placed on how long a wrongful death suit can be filed. The laws regarding these limitations are made at the state level, so they will depend upon the state the accident took place in. In general, you will have several months to bring legal action against an insurance company, but the sooner you can consult with a wrongful death lawyer, the better he or she will be able to help you.