7 Wrongful Death Claim Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
More than 200,000 people die as a result of an accident each year in the U.S. Sometimes these accidents were the fault of another party who should be held responsible. When this is the case, survivors and loved ones have the right to pursue a wrongful death claim.
The claims process in a wrongful death case isn’t easy and it’s common for survivors to make mistakes. How can you avoid making mistakes?
Keep reading for the top 7 wrongful death claim mistakes to avoid and how to avoid them.
1. Missing Deadlines
One of the worst wrongful death claim mistakes you can make is missing important claim filing deadlines.
Each state has its own laws that dictate how long you have to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This is called the statute of limitations.
If you miss this deadline, you lose your right to pursue a claim in almost all cases. In rare cases, you may request to toll the statute, but this is uncommon.
Your best bet is to resolve your claim or file a lawsuit before the statute runs in your state. To avoid making this mistake, talk to a wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible.
2. Representing Yourself
A common mistake survivors make in wrongful death claims is representing themselves.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of insurance adjusters, who make you feel like they have your best interest at heart. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.
They will do everything they can to deny or devalue your claim. Insurance companies make money by collecting as much as they can in premiums and paying as little as possible for claims. Insurance adjusters are trained to look for ways to trip you up.
They may try to get you to admit fault to reduce your settlement amount. When you represent yourself, you likely won’t know what all compensation you are entitled to. Insurance adjusters are counting on that.
When you are represented by an attorney, you send the message that you know what you deserve and the adjuster will take your claim more seriously.
3. Accepting an Unfair Settlement
Insurance adjusters try to get victims to accept low-ball settlement offers by playing on their suffering.
They know that claimants are often in a difficult financial situation and think they can offer them an unfair settlement and they will take it with no questions asked. By doing this, insurance companies save money and close files quickly.
Remember that you don’t have to accept an offer that you’re not comfortable with. Hiring a lawyer can ensure you get the settlement you deserve.
Your attorney will negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf to get you a better offer. If a settlement can’t be reached, your attorney will represent you in court.
4. Not Enough Documentation
Successful wrongful death claims require lots of documentation.
Your case depends on the strength and relevance of your evidence. If you don’t have enough documentation, it will be hard to win your case. This is also true if you have documentation that contradicts your claim.
It’s not uncommon for medical records and police reports to contain errors. Getting these errors corrected can be challenging, but failing to catch them can threaten your claim.
The best thing you can do to ensure you have the proper wrongful death claim documents is to hire an attorney. A wrongful death lawyer knows what you need to prove your claim and will help you collect the necessary documentation. They will also look out for errors in records and get them corrected.
5. Getting Distracted
One of the most common wrongful death claim mistakes we see is victims losing sight of what’s important.
Survivors in wrongful death claims have a lot to deal with while they are simultaneously grieving the death of a loved one. The claim filing process can be overwhelming but this is especially true in wrongful death cases.
This stress commonly leads to in-fighting within surviving families. Hiring a wrongful death lawyer can alleviate some of this stress and keep your family members focused.
Experienced attorneys know how to work with grieving families and ensure everyone’s best interest is protected.
6. Not Casting a Wide Enough Net
In many wrongful death claims, more than one party holds liability for the accident.
Survivors often make the mistake of going after only a single party, when others may be responsible as well. When you cast a wide net and pursue every party that may have liability, you increase the amount you can recover.
Families who have lost a loved one due to wrongful death are often left with numerous expenses as well as lost income. Every little bit helps and contributions from multiple parties can add up quickly to increase your settlement.
7. Doing Nothing
Of all the wrongful death claim mistakes you can make, the worst is to do nothing at all.
Many survivors in wrongful death cases never pursue a claim even though they deserve compensation for their loss. The worst thing you can do is nothing. Liable parties should be held responsible and victims should be compensated.
When victims pursue justice, they hold responsible parties accountable and send an important message.
If you think you may have a claim, talking to an attorney is free and easy. Wrongful death attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This means that you only pay if they win your case.
If they don’t win, you don’t pay. Wrongful death attorneys understand that survivors in wrongful death cases aren’t usually in a position to pay for legal help, but they still deserve justice. If you’re wondering whether you might have a case, it can’t hurt to talk to an attorney.
Avoid These Wrongful Death Claim Mistakes
If you lost your loved one in an accident, you may have a wrongful death case.
Avoiding these wrongful death claim mistakes can protect your right to pursue a claim and help you get the compensation you’re entitled to. The best thing you can do is hire a lawyer. Your attorney will stay ahead of the insurance companies and know what mistakes to avoid.
At Alpha Accident Lawyers, our wrongful death lawyers can help. Schedule a free case evaluation with a wrongful death lawyer today.