Eugene Wrongful Death Lawyer
Several types of accidents could result in the wrongful death of a loved one. When negligence or intentional actions cause a loved one’s death, certain family members can file a wrongful death action against the defendant, usually through the decedent’s personal representative. The decedent’s estate can recover several types of damages in a wrongful death action.
If you lost a loved one because of another’s negligence or intentional actions, contact a Eugene wrongful death lawyer at Strong Law by calling 206-741-1053 or visiting our website.
Causes of Wrongful Death
People can be negligent in many ways, whether from the actions of a caregiver in a nursing home to the person who climbed behind the wheel when he or she was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Some types of wrongful death lawsuits that we handle include:
Car accidents are often caused by negligence. In some cases, a third party is negligent, such as a municipality that did not properly maintain the roads or another driver that caused someone to crash into your loved one. Vehicle manufacturers and auto technicians could also share the responsibility for a wrongful death action. A car accident lawyer will investigate your case to determine whether more than one defendant should share in the responsibility for your injuries.
Motorcycle riders need to pay more attention to others on the road, if only because they do not have the same protections that someone in a car or truck has. When a motorcyclist gets into an accident, the consequences are sometimes deadly. The impact of the accident often throws a motorcycle rider many feet. Thus, the rider suffers injuries from the initial impact and the secondary impact of landing after being thrown through the air or skidding on the ground.
When choosing a wrongful death attorney, always choose a firm with experience in handling motorcycle accidents, too.
Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents
Pedestrians and bicyclists also have no protection from negligent drivers. Even if pedestrians and bicyclists wear personal protective equipment, including long pants, helmets, and long sleeves, they could still suffer catastrophic injuries or death. While they have more options to get out of the way of on-oncoming, out-of-control vehicles, they cannot move faster than the vehicles.
Truck accidents often cause catastrophic injuries and death because of the size and weight of the truck. A fully loaded big rig could weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Overweight loads could weigh up to 100,000 pounds, and special overweight loads are even heavier. A truck driver is not always at fault for the accident. Sometimes other drivers cause a truck to wreck. At other times, a truck driver might wreck because of poorly maintained roads, manufacturer defects on the truck or trailer, or even because an auto mechanic installed a defective part.
Truck drivers can also wreck because the driver or his or her company does not properly maintain the truck or because a dispatcher “insists” that a driver deliver a load on time regardless of which laws he has to break.
During our investigation of a truck accident case, we will find out if those other than the truck driver should share in the responsibility for the loss of your loved one.
Nursing Home Abuse and/or Neglect
Abuse and neglect are common in residential facilities, including nursing homes. Actions or inactions – such as excessive restraints or withholding food or medications – could cause the death of a loved one. If you suspect abuse or neglect, you should always contact a Eugene wrongful death attorney – even when you are not sure if what you see is neglect or abuse.
Slip and Fall Accidents
Anyone could have a trip or slip and fall accident in any place, including retail establishments, friends’ homes, and even your own home. Property owners have an obligation to remove or repair hazardous conditions on their properties or warn visitors of the condition. Ice, uneven walkways, potholes in parking lots, uneven floors, weak or broken railings, and broken steps are all common causes of slip and fall accidents.
Medical Malpractice Incidents
Unfortunately, many medical malpractice incidents cause wrongful death. Common causes of medical malpractice include misdiagnosis, surgical errors, medication errors, and even infections caused by being in the hospital. When you suspect a medical professional or facility caused the death of a loved one, a wrongful death lawyer will investigate the incident to help you recover the compensation you deserve.
How a Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help
We understand that you are dealing with a lot right after the death of a loved one, and you do not have the emotional room to deal with a lawsuit. We also understand that money cannot bring a loved one back. However, it can significantly reduce the financial stress caused by the death of your loved one. Wrongful death lawyers in Eugene will investigate your loved one’s death and start gathering evidence of negligence or intentional wrong-doing as soon as possible.
Once we have the evidence, including medical records, witness statements, police reports, autopsies, and more, we will start negotiating with the defendants’ insurance companies. If the insurance company refuses a fair and reasonable offer, we will not hesitate to bring your case before the court to get the compensation you deserve.
When you retain a Eugene wrongful death lawyer, you hire a team of lawyers and other professionals to help you recover the compensation you deserve, whether the defendants were negligent, grossly negligent, or their actions were intentional.
When to File a Wrongful Death Action
If you suspect your loved one died because of the negligence of another person or entity, contact a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. You could also have a wrongful death case if your loved one did not die immediately after an accident or incident. Sometimes, a person seems to be on the road to recovery when he or she takes a turn. If the accident or incident injuries caused the death of a loved one, even months later, you could have a wrongful death action.
You could recover compensation for the medical expenses and other damages your loved one incurred while trying to recover and for the death of your loved one.
Recovering Damages After a Wrongful Death
After a loved one dies because of an accident or accident injuries, you could recover compensation in the form of compensatory and punitive damages. The court orders compensatory damages in an attempt to make you whole again. However, the court orders a defendant to pay punitive damages as a punishment for his or her gross negligence or intentional behavior that caused the death of your loved one. Compensatory damages are comprised of economic damages and non-economic damages.
Sometimes referred to as special damages, economic damages have a monetary value and include:
Even though your loved one died as a result of his or her injuries, you can still recover medical expenses for those incurred prior to his or her death. Medical expenses include:
- Doctors’ appointments
- Followup appointments
- Appointments with other medical professionals
- Therapy expenses, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, cognitive therapy and psychological therapy
- Ambulatory aids
- Hand controls for vehicles
- Upgrades to your home, including grab bars, ramps, and widened doorways.
You can recover wages lost for the time your loved one was out of work. Additionally, you can recover loss of future earning capacity. This amount is based on what your loved one would have earned up to his or her retirement date.
In some accidents, you can recover compensation to repair or replace personal property. For example, in a motor vehicle accident, you could recover compensation to repair or replace your vehicle and anything of value inside the vehicle, such as cell phones, computers, and even clothing you picked up from the dry cleaners.
You could also recover death-related expenses, including but not limited to funeral, burial and/or cremation expenses, probate court filing fees, and probate attorney fees and costs.
General damages, often referred to as non-economic damages, include:
- Pain and suffering, including emotional distress
- Loss of companionship and consortium
How to Recover Compensation After a Wrongful Death Accident
Once you win a settlement or trial award, the insurance company forwards a check to your attorney, who must deposit it into an escrow account. If your loved one had any outstanding medical expenses, the attorney would make sure those are paid. He also reimburses your loved one’s insurance companies for any medical care they paid on behalf of your loved one. He then deducts attorneys’ fees and costs.
The balance of the money must be deposited into your loved one’s probate account for the personal representative to distribute. If the attorney did not pay any debt your loved one incurred because of the accident but instead deposited the entire amount into the probate account, the personal representative must first pay all expenses and fees incurred in the wrongful death action, including medical expenses.
The personal representative then must distribute the money according to your loved one’s wishes or by agreement of the beneficiaries.
How long do I have to bring a wrongful death action?
Who can file wrongful death actions?
How do I know if the death of a loved one is “wrongful?”
How do I pay for a wrongful death lawyer?
Do I have to retain a wrongful death lawyer to help me recover compensation?