After losing a loved one in an accident, you may choose to pursue a wrongful death claim to hold the negligent party responsible. A wrongful death claim can mean compensation for you and your family.
When you file your wrongful death claim, you will receive a trial date. The trial may not be held for several weeks or months, depending on the court’s schedule.
What you need to prove at trial
Part of preparing for your trial means gathering the evidence you will need to establish that the other party acted negligently. This means proving that they had a legal duty of care toward your loved one, they failed to do what was necessary as part of this duty and this failure directly caused your loved one’s death.
You must also provide evidence of your damages, which are calculated expenses that you now have because of this loss.
Responding to the insurance company
While you get ready for your wrongful death trial, you will likely hear from the other party’s insurance company, who will try to get you to settle the claim rather than proceed to trial.
Be careful in this situation. Some insurance adjusters can offer you much less than what your case is worth. They might act like they are on your side, but remember that they work for the insurance company, not you.
Therefore, their goal is to save the insurance company money, not to compensate you for your damages.
Settling vs. trial
However, that does not mean you should go to trial no matter what. Many wrongful death cases are settled for favorable amounts.
Settling is not always a bad thing. You take a risk going to trial because the judge may end up awarding you less than what the insurance company was offering.
If you hear from an insurance adjuster or an attorney for the insurance company, it is best to not speak with them and discuss your situation with a wrongful death attorney.
Attorneys experienced in wrongful death cases have the knowledge and negotiation skills necessary to advocate on your behalf.