It’s a situation that’s almost unthinkable. Your loved one heads off to another day of work in the morning, but by the end of the day you receive an ominous call from their employer informing you that ‘there’s been an accident’. Then, within hours or days, they’re gone forever.
In those early days, financial loss is typically the last thing on the mind of grieving family members.
They’ll receive monetary compensation under the workers’ compensation insurance. But in a case where the family believes that the employer was to some extent responsible, bringing a lawsuit against them for wrongful death is a course of action many will seek.
Why is this? They will need to replace the future income that their deceased family member would have been expected to earn and regain some financial security. They may wish to recoup medical costs as well as funeral expenses. Lastly, but importantly, they may be seeking justice, and want to ensure that someone is held accountable for their loss.
While dealing with traumatic loss, it’s virtually impossible to evaluate the situation clearly and from the perspective of the justice system. However, there are likely steps that will be followed, in the event of such a tragic occurrence.
- Contact a specialist lawyer
Time is of the essence, as there is a two-year limit on filing claims for job-related illness or death. This may seem like plenty of time, but insurance companies or employers may seek to obstruct or derail what can often be a complex investigation into the circumstances. Your lawyer will be responsible for filing any wrongful death lawsuit within the deadline.
- Your attorney will investigate
Once you contact an attorney, he or she will investigate to determine who was responsible for the accident or illness, whether the employer failed in their duty of care, and whether a third party was fully or partly responsible. Gathering detailed evidence will take time but is crucial to building a strong case.
- Your attorney will negotiate with the insurers
Once your case has been made, your attorney will negotiate with the insurers in an attempt to resolve the claim. It’s in everyone’s interest for cases to be settled as quickly as possible, so that you receive your compensation and costs don’t continue to spiral. If they agree to a certain sum, your attorney will ensure you receive it with the minimum delay.
- When no agreement can be reached
If, despite your attorney’s attempts to achieve a fair wrongful death settlement, the insurers refuse to pay, then a lawsuit will be filed.
- Your case will be presented in court
Your attorney’s job will be to present a convincing case to a jury, backed by solid evidence and all the relevant facts.
- You’ll receive your award
Your attorney will see to it that any award is collected and you receive it as efficiently as possible, whether it’s in the form of a lump sum or payable over time.