When the Unthinkable Requires Legal Intervention
The unexpected loss of a loved one is a tragic scenario. It can be met with even more distraught if the family believes it could have been prevented or it occurred under negligent or intentional circumstances. The purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is to help surviving family members recover compensation from those who are to blame. This is an extremely unfortunate situation that should always be handled by a qualified attorney.
In Idaho, only certain parties are eligible to file a wrongful death claim, typically close family members such as the spouse, children, parents, and, in some cases, siblings. If there is no eligible family member, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate may file the claim.
Statute of Limitations
There is a limited time frame within which you must file a wrongful death claim. In Idaho, the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is generally two years from the date of the person’s death. Failing to file within this timeframe might result in your claim being dismissed.
Collect evidence that supports your claim. This might include medical records, accident reports, photographs, witness statements, and any other relevant documentation that shows negligence or wrongdoing.
Consult an Attorney
Seek legal advice from an experienced wrongful death attorney. They can guide you through the process, help you understand your rights, and evaluate the potential strength of your case.
Initiate the Claim
Your attorney will help you draft a complaint that outlines the details of the wrongful death and the basis for your claim. This complaint is then filed in the appropriate Idaho court.
Investigation and Discovery
Both sides may engage in discovery, which involves sharing evidence and information relevant to the case. This process helps build a clear picture of the events leading to the death.
Negotiation or Litigation
Often, wrongful death claims are settled out of court through negotiation between the parties and their attorneys. If an agreement cannot be reached, the case may proceed to trial.
Trial (If Necessary)
If the case goes to trial, both sides will present their evidence, question witnesses, and make arguments. A judge or jury will determine whether the defendant is liable for the wrongful death and, if so, what damages should be awarded.
If successful, the damages awarded in a wrongful death case can include medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, lost income, loss of companionship, and more. The specific damages depend on the circumstances of the case.
Appeal (If Necessary)
If either party disagrees with the outcome of the trial, they may have the option to appeal the decision to a higher court.