When a loved one dies in an accident caused by someone else, what often follows is a storm of emotion and legal action. In order to get compensation, the family may need to begin the steps of a civil law case and begin the probate process, all the while grieving over the loss of that loved one.
In situations like these, any method to alleviate the strains of the process is a good idea, and the easiest way is to find a law firm whose primary areas of law include both probate and wrongful death. This way, you have a team backing you who knows both how to get the best settlement, and how to best protect the settlement from creditors, insurance companies, and other parties. What’s more, it is a single team with a singular goal–not two separate firms attempting to collaborate, which can often lead to miscommunication, delays, and worse. And why communicate with two firms, when you can have a single point of contact?
The process of a wrongful death case has four stages.
- Opening Actions. A personal representative, who will also act as the client in the wrongful death case, is appointed through the probate process. In addition, initial wrongful death documents are sent out, such as letters of representation to providers and insurance companies.
- Notice and Research. A notice to creditors is sent out immediately to reduce the window creditors can submit claims from two years to just four months, while research begins to identify the best strategies for pursuing a higher settlement.
- Negotiation. After careful consideration, a settlement demand is sent to the at-fault party(s), laying out the situation, the initial demand amount, and the reasoning for that amount. The at-fault party(s) will then respond, and both sides will attempt to reach an agreement. If an agreement cannot be reached, or if circumstances demand it, a lawsuit will be filed.
- Settlement, Inventory, and Distribution. When an agreement has been reached, the final settlement amount will be transferred to the estate of the decedent. The personal representative will then take inventory of all the decedent’s assets, including the settlement, and then distribute everything to the statutory heirs.
If a loved one has been killed as a result of someone else’s negligent actions, the best first step is to give us a call and schedule a complimentary meeting with one of our attorneys. We can help you determine if you have a case, and what to do next. We will walk you through the entire process with compassion, empathy, and thoroughness.