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Will You Have to Go to Court for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Published on May 13th, 2020

Personal Injury Lawyer

A wrongful death lawsuit is a legal claim brought when a person dies through the negligent or malicious actions of another person. Generally the estate of the deceased brings the claim to the court. The beneficiaries are either determined by state law or the last will and testament of the deceased. A wrongful death case is complex. Although no amount of money can ever bring the person back or make up for the loss, financial compensation can protect the survivor’s future and prevent the loss from harming the family financially.

Why You May Want to File a Lawsuit 

A wrongful death claim must usually be brought within a specific time frame of the incident. This is known as the “statute of limitations.” Typically, the statute of limitations is around two years. However, the time frame depends on the type of case and how each state defines the statutes of limitations. Filing a lawsuit stops the timeline. In many cases, the lawsuit is filed to protect the family’s rights.

What Happens Once the Lawsuit Is Filed

In many courts, a lawyer can electronically file the lawsuit. In the past, the lawyer might have to take the documents to the courthouse to file a lawsuit. Simply filing a wrongful death case doesn’t mean you will have to go to court. Once the lawsuit is filed, the defendant is served a copy and given time to formally answer the case. The lawyers for the deceased family and the lawyers of the negligent party may even try to find a solution outside of court. It is almost always better to try and settle the case without a judge or jury. However, when the two sides cannot come to a mutual agreement, then the case may be decided in a courtroom.

How to Act If You Do Have to Go to Court

Going to court sounds very intimidating. You should be prepared to be professional and calm. Dress conservatively, as if you were going to a job interview or to your mother-in-law’s church. Court is not a time to be flashy or conspicuous. Take court seriously and remember to put your cell phone away in the courtroom. Address the judge as “your honor,” and only speak in turn. Try to put away your anger if you need to testify. Be respectful to the other side.

Not all wrongful death cases go to court, but filing a lawsuit can be in your best interest. Discuss your case with a wrongful death lawyer, like a wrongful death lawyer in Phoenix, AZ, to take the right steps for your situation.

 


 

Thanks to Kamper & Estrada, PLLC for their insight into going to court for a wrongful death lawsuit. 

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