Wrongful Death Case Process in Beaufort
Losing a loved one is always a painful experience, but the unexpected death of a family be particularly difficult to handle when it is the result of another person’s negligence. If your family member died due to the carelessness of someone else you should consider talking to a lawyer about the wrongful death case process in Beaufort.
With the help of a knowledgeable wrongful death attorney, you could seek justice for your lost loved one and obtain compensation for your grieving family. A dedicated lawyer at Schiller & Hamilton could answer all your questions and guide you through your claim.
Choosing an Executor
The only person who can pursue a wrongful death claim on behalf of surviving family members is the personal representative or executor of the deceased’s estate. This person may be named in the decedent’s will.
If there is no will, or the named executor is unwilling or unable to fill this role, the probate court can appoint another person or persons to take on this responsibility. A wrongful death lawyer in the area could assist families in the process of naming an executor.
Gathering Evidence for a Wrongful Death Case in Beaufort
Before bringing a wrongful death claim, it is important to gather all available evidence by investigating the circumstances that led to the fatal accident. This step is necessary not only to ensure that surviving family members have a valid claim but to identify the persons or entities who are potentially liable for the death.
Relevant evidence in a fatal accident case might include:
- Police reports
- Witness statements
- Medical records of treatment for accident-related injuries
- Documentation of other losses, such as property damage and lost wages
Legal counsel might also engage in the discovery process, in which both parties are permitted to request information and documents from one another. Common types of discovery requests include requests for documents, interrogatories, and depositions.
Additionally, an attorney could request to orally question witnesses while under oath. By gathering all available evidence, legal counsel may be able to advise surviving family members of their options and help them prepare for the wrongful death case process.
Identifying Liable Parties After a Fatal Accident
After analyzing the evidence, a lawyer could identify who is directly responsible for the accident. Depending on the case, there could be multiple at-fault parties. For example, a commercial vehicle driver who causes a fatal truck crash may be the primarily liable person, but their employer may also be partially responsible. It is crucial for families to work with a local attorney during this process, as naming the wrong defendants could harm the case.
Negotiating a Settlement with an Insurance Company
Once the responsible parties have been identified, an attorney could work with families to file a claim with the liable person’s insurance company or pursue a lawsuit. When initiating settlement negotiations, an attorney might present the insurance company with a clear statement of the facts, evidence to prove liability, and the damages requested.
Going to Court
Although most wrongful death claims are resolved through settlements, the case may go to trial if both parties cannot reach an agreement. In court, both parties present their evidence to a jury who determines the amount of damages to award the surviving family members. If the wrongful death case goes to trial, a seasoned attorney could represent an executor in court.
Call an Attorney for Help with the Wrongful Death Case Process in Beaufort
Attempting to handle a legal case on your own can be overwhelming. By working with a lawyer familiar with the wrongful death case process in Beaufort, you could focus on rebuilding your life after the loss of your loved one. Contact us today to learn how we could support you and your family.