Unintentional injuries are the 4th ranking cause of death in the United States. It’s an unfortunately common occurrence, but in many cases, there’s someone at fault.
These are wrongful deaths. If you think someone you love was the victim of negligence or wrongdoing that led to their death, you should start looking for an attorney.
But how do you hire wrongful death attorneys? What should you look for in one? Read on for the answers to these questions and more.
What Is a Wrongful Death Attorney?
A wrongful death attorney is a lawyer who helps clients when someone they care for passes away as the result of someone else’s actions or negligence. They specialize in cases in which a death was the result of a wrongful act, such as a car accident, medical malpractice, or a dangerous product.
The attorney’s main goal is to seek justice for the family of the person who died. They work to hold the responsible parties accountable and help the family recover compensation for their loss. This compensation can cover things like medical bills, funeral expenses, lost income, and emotional pain and suffering.
The wrongful death attorney will investigate the circumstances surrounding the death, gather evidence, and build a strong case. They will negotiate with insurance companies, represent the family in court if necessary, and fight for a fair settlement or verdict.
Having a wrongful death attorney by your side can provide comfort and support during a difficult time. They are there to help you navigate the complex legal process, protect your rights, and help you obtain the justice and compensation you (and your deceased loved one) deserve.
When Should You Hire a Wrongful Death Attorney?
So how do you know when it’s appropriate to hire a wrongful death attorney? In short, if you have any doubts or questions about your loved one’s death, it’s a good idea to at least schedule a consultation.
During a consultation, the wrongful death attorney will help you determine whether or not you have a viable case. If you do, they’ll be able to start collecting evidence so you can pursue compensation and justice.
If you don’t, or they’re not convinced, they may reject your case. We’ll discuss more about the consultation later on so you can prepare yourself.
Often, these cases are confusing. You shouldn’t try to pursue them on your own, even if the case is “open and shut.” No matter how obvious it may be that the offending party is at fault, please consult a wrongful death attorney so they can help you.
Even clear cases can go wrong if the other party has an excellent lawyer or insurance company. You don’t want to take that risk.
Remember, it’s essential to reach out to a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible to increase the chances of a successful outcome in your case. They’ll help you avoid any potential wrongful death claim mistakes and get the ball rolling on your case. Click for more information about mistakes with wrongful death claims.
How to Find and Hire Wrongful Death Attorneys
So how do you go about finding good wrongful death attorneys in your area? It’s not always easy! This isn’t a decision you want to mess up, but there are so many attorneys competing for your attention!
First, we’ll discuss how to start your search and then we’ll talk about how you can narrow down your options by looking for specific qualities.
Your first resource is going to be the people you know. If you have friends, coworkers, or family members who have had to hire a wrongful death attorney in the past, ask them about their experiences!
If they live in your area, they may be able to recommend their former attorney (or warn you away from a bad attorney they’ve had in the past). If not, they may still be able to help you learn what to look for and give you practical advice based on their real-life experiences.
You could also ask local online groups on sites like Nextdoor or Reddit. People are often happy to share their experiences (good and bad) with friendly strangers.
Browse the Web
You’re going to want to browse the web by searching for “wrongful death attorneys near me” or “wrongful death attorneys in [your town or city].” This will give you a list of all of the local attorneys who do the work you need them to do.
Not all of these attorneys will be suitable for your needs, but this is an excellent starting point. Note that the attorneys at the top of the search engine may not be the best or most popular, they’ve just spent the most time or money on marketing.
You can briefly check star ratings and reviews when you’re making your list of lawyers to reach out to. Reading online reviews can let you know if an attorney has happy previous clients (which is a good sign).
Reach Out to Several
Once you have a small list of wrongful death attorneys, it’s time to start reaching out to them! You can contact them either by phone or via whatever online messaging system they have available. Often, you can request consultations through a form on their website.
Remember that reaching out to an attorney isn’t a commitment, so you don’t have to limit yourself to just one. You may love the first attorney you talk to, but that isn’t always the case. It’s both okay and normal to have several consultations with several options for attorneys before committing to someone.
What Qualities Should You Be Looking For in a Wrongful Death Attorney?
So now that you’ve scheduled all of those consultations, it’s time to figure out what you’re looking for in a wrongful death attorney. How will you know when you’ve found the right one for you?
Everyone is different, but we’ve compiled a few qualities you should be looking for when you’re trying to make your decision.
Experience is key when you’re hiring a wrongful death attorney.
There’s nothing wrong with hiring a brand new lawyer who just opened their own private practice after finishing school and taking the bar exam, but you will be taking a bigger risk. More experience is always better.
You should also look for wrongful death attorneys with experience in cases that are similar to yours. For example, if the victim passed away as a result of medical malpractice, you won’t get as much benefit from an attorney who specializes in car accident cases even though they both fit into the “wrongful death” category.
This isn’t to say that attorneys without specific experience can’t do an excellent job, but it’s in your best interest to pick someone who understands the details of your specific type of case.
Excellent communication skills are essential when it comes to hiring an attorney for your wrongful death case.
When you reach out to your potential attorney, are they quick to respond? Do they explain things in a way that makes sense to you? Do they treat you with respect and avoid talking down to you when you’re confused about things?
Not all attorneys are good communicators. For people with plenty of experience handling legal issues, this isn’t always a problem. For someone who is hiring an attorney for the first time, you want to make sure that you’re getting someone who is able to communicate promptly and clearly.
You should also look into communication methods. Some attorneys prefer to communicate via email while others prefer in-person communication all the time. Some charge for messages or phone calls while others do not.
Make sure the communication method that the attorney uses aligns with your specific needs.
Of course, you want a lawyer with integrity. You want them to be both honest and trustworthy, which isn’t always the case with excellent and successful lawyers.
You want to “win” the case because the other party is genuinely at-fault, not because your lawyer is manipulating the situation. This isn’t important for everyone, but if you want to honor your loved one, it’s best to do things in an honest way.
If a lawyer implies that they want you to lie or otherwise stretch the truth, you may want to choose a different one.
When you’re hiring a wrongful death attorney, you’re likely feeling somewhat sensitive. After all, it means that someone you care for has passed away, and you need an attorney that can treat the issue with sensitivity and care while still doing an excellent job.
If the attorney makes you feel uncomfortable with how they’re addressing your case (or you as their client), they won’t be a good fit for you.
This is hard to determine before you commit to an attorney, but you can start to see hints of it during the consultation. Try to figure out if you and your attorney will be able to develop a good rapport.
So what does this mean?
See if you “vibe” with them. When you talk, are you comfortable? Does it feel as though they listen to you and respect your opinion? Do you feel safe asking them questions or disagreeing?
If so, great! Proceed. If not, you may want to pick a different wrongful death attorney.
Having previous happy clients is a great sign. Does your potential employee have a list of happy clients that they can show you?
Some attorneys keep testimonials on their websites. Others will be happy to provide you with contact information for previous clients that have agreed to share their experiences with new clients.
This may seem counterproductive, but trust us. You don’t want to go with an attorney who claims that they can guarantee that you’re going to win your case.
Why is that?
Often that means the attorney isn’t reputable. Any good attorney knows that there is no such thing as a guaranteed case. It doesn’t matter if you have all of the evidence on your side; there’s always a chance that something can go wrong.
A good attorney will be realistic about your chances. Even if they’re confident that you will win the case, they’ll let you know that it’s possible for something unexpected to come up and change the mind of the judge or jury.
The attorney should be confident (after all, you don’t want someone who thinks you’ll lose right away), but not cocky. The difference is crucial here.
It’s no secret that hiring legal help is expensive. Lawyers work hard and go through many years of school to do their jobs, and they need to be paid accordingly.
With that in mind, you can still have preferences regarding the price. Some attorneys will have you pay regardless of whether or not you win while others will work on contingency.
Find what works for you, but don’t let cost be the only factor if possible.
What to Expect During Your Consultation
During your consultation, you and your attorney will be interviewing each other. You should arrive with all of the applicable information of the case that you can gather and a list of questions.
The attorney will evaluate your case and determine whether or not it’s viable. They’ll answer your questions and discuss how things will look moving forward if you decide to work together.
This is a great time to ask about prices, how much involvement they expect you to have in the case, and any other relevant questions.
Hire an Attorney for Your Wrongful Death Case
It can be confusing to try to hire wrongful death attorneys for the first time. Hopefully this guide has provided you with helpful information that can make the process easier.
You’re going through a tough time right now, but with the right attorney, you can honor your loved one and get justice.
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