If you believe your loved one has died as the result of the actions or omissions of someone else, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Read on to understand what you should expect in your initial meetings with a wrongful death lawyer.
When you meet with a wrongful death lawyer in Philadelphia, try to have with you documents that will be necessary in determining whether you have a viable case. Documents that may be necessary include: death certificate, decedent’s work history, will, and medical records. Your wrongful death attorney will also want to review your loved one’s personal items, like their cell phone, which may have pictures, videos, emails, texts, and other media which may help establish their health and well-being prior to their death. All of this data, while admittedly personal, can help to build the wrongful death case. Your wrongful death attorney in Philadelphia has the difficult task of piecing all of these items together to establish liability on the part of the defendants, as well as to build the damages portion of the case.
The “plaintiff” is the person who has the right to sue — that is, to bring the wrongful death case. Your Pennsylvania wrongful death attorney will need to figure out whether you can be the plaintiff. Only personal representatives of the decedent can file a wrongful death lawsuit.
If the decedent died with a will, the person appointed in the will as the “executor” or “executrix” represents the estate of the decedent. This executor or executrix may file a wrongful death lawsuit.
If the decedent died without a will, usually a spouse or other family member would be assigned personal representative of the decedent’s estate. If there are no surviving family members, the court may appoint a close friend or someone else to be a personal representative of the decedent’s estate. Whether a family member or not, the personal representative appointed by the court is called an “administrator” or “administratrix.” This administrator or administrator may file a wrongful death suit.
Thus, if you are either the administrator/administratrix or the executor/executrix, you will be able to be the plaintiff and file the wrongful death lawsuit.
Once it has been established that you are a personal representative (again, either an administrator or executor), you will have to sign various forms so that your Pennsylvania wrongful death attorney can file the lawsuit. The forms will give the wrongful death lawyer the right to obtain life insurance information, financial reports, employment records, and medical records to prove your case.
But before the Pennsylvania wrongful death lawyer can use any of these forms to obtain all that crucial information, you need to sign a Contingent Fee Agreement with them. This agreement establishes the client-attorney relationship. It stipulates that you, the client, do not need to pay the lawyer anything upfront. The lawyer will assume all the costs and expenses to build and try your case. The lawyer only gets paid back for all of those costs and expenses (and all of their time and effort) if the lawsuit is successful. So, in the event of a successful outcome, a portion of the award goes to your wrongful death lawyer.
To find a wrongful death lawyer in Pennsylvania who will build and try your case successfully, contact the attorneys at VSCP Law.
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