The Most Important Legal Actions to Take in Cases of Wrongful Death

By VSCP LAW

When your loved one has died as the result of someone else’s actions (or inactions), you may be able to seek legal recourse in the death case. But wrongful death cases are complicated.  There are legal requirements related to filing an estate, the timing of your claim, and what damages you can claim. There are often complex medical records to review and understand. Here are some important legal actions your wrongful death attorney can take, which will help you win legal remedies for your wrongful death case.

 

FILE A TIMELY LAWSUIT

 

Under the Pennsylvania wrongful death statute, you have two years after the official death date to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This restriction is typically referred to as the wrongful death statute of limitations. 

Two years may seem like a long time, but your wrongful death attorney will need ample time to investigate the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s death. They will need to order records such as medical records or employment records. They will need to talk with various individuals who were involved in or had substantial knowledge about the circumstances leading up to your loved one’s death. They will need to fully understand whether someone or multiple people are at fault for your loved one’s death.  

SET UP AN ESTATE

 

It is essential to know who represents the estate prior to filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

If your loved one died without a will, the court may appoint a personal representative called an “administrator.” An administrator of an estate may be a surviving spouse, other family member, or family friend. The administrator collects all the assets of the decedent, pays creditors, and distributes remaining assets to heirs or other beneficiaries.  

If your loved one died with a will, the person appointed in the will as the “executor” has similar responsibilities to the administrator in that they must collect assets, make sure all debts and taxes are paid, and then distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries in accordance with law and the will.

 

The other important function of an administrator or an executor is the ability to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

 

Your wrongful death attorney in Philadelphia will help you figure out who should represent the estate.

 

PURSUE AND PRESERVE CRITICAL EVIDENCE

 

One of the first essential steps in pursuing and preserving evidence is to order an autopsy on the deceased. And when ordering the autopsy, your experienced wrongful death attorney knows whether to order toxicology along with the autopsy. Toxicology includes a search for chemicals or drugs in the blood, saliva, and urine. Obviously, this autopsy must be done prior to the burial or cremation so your attorney will act swiftly to ensure that all necessary actions are taken before the decedent is buried.

 

Other examples of evidence that needs to be gathered in a timely fashion include police reports, witness statements, photographs and videos, death certificate, and physical objects that are related to the wrongful death. It is imperative that you help your lawyer gather these necessary pieces of information to the extent that you can. The presence or absence of this evidence will determine whether your wrongful death lawsuit is successful or not.

HIRE THE RIGHT (AND BEST) EXPERTS

Your wrongful death case is likely complicated. It will require expert review and analysis. In a medical malpractice wrongful death case, for instance, your attorney will have to find a doctor that is trained in the same practice of medicine in which the defendant doctor practices. Your wrongful death attorney has access to the best experts in the country and they will ensure that the most qualified experts review your case and write an ironclad report to bolster your claim in court.

FILE THE COMPLAINT, INCLUDING ALL NECESSARY CLAIMS

A wrongful death attorney evaluates the case with knowledge of all possible causes of action and claims for wrongful death damages. They know how to work with bereaved families to help them achieve a fair outcome for their wrongful death claim. Your wrongful death lawyer understands how to maximize the value of your wrongful death lawsuit so you get all possible legal remedies for wrongful death. 

The above are a sampling of some important legal actions to take in cases of wrongful death. To talk with an experienced wrongful death attorney who will walk you through the essential steps, contact the lawyers at VSCP Law.

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