Unlike an accidental death which is unintentional, wrongful death occurs due to the negligent or intentional actions of another party. According to our Des Moines wrongful death lawyer, wrongful death in Iowa can be the result of the following incidents:
- Car, truck, or motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Dog bites that lead to infection or excessive bleeding
- Negligent security incidents
- Nursing home abuse
- Premise liability injuries such as drowning in a swimming pool, electrical fire, or an accident on another person’s property
- Pharmaceutical injuries due to a defective drug or medical device
Hiring an experienced wrongful death lawyer in Des Moines can help determine if you have a claim against another party and can investigate the cause of your loved one’s death to prove negligence or intent. Since your loved one cannot pursue a claim, another party can file the claim on behalf of the deceased.
How Do You Prove Wrongful Death?
Several factors will need to be proven to have a valid wrongful death claim, such as that the defendant owed your loved one a duty of care and breached that duty of care, resulting in the death of your loved one.
In addition, according to our Des Moines wrongful death attorney, for this type of claim, you will need to prove the following:
- Cause. The cause of what happened and led up to the death of your loved one
- Defendant. The defendant’s negligence or intent was the direct cause of the death
- Value. The value of the damages that resulted from your loved one’s death
To prove liability, a wrongful death lawyer in Des Moines will conduct a full investigation of the accident or incident that caused your loved one’s death. An experienced attorney will gather the necessary evidence to support the wrongful death claim to determine liability. Evidence that may be relevant to the case may include:
- Photos or video of the accident or incident that led up to the death of your loved one
- Copies of medical reports and records
- Police or accident reports that detail the accident or incident
- Physical evidence preserved from the scene of the incident or accident scene
- Eye witness and expert witness testimony
- Interrogatories and depositions
- Copy of your loved one’s death certificate
When to Hire a Des Moines Wrongful Death Lawyer
Hiring a lawyer may not be at the top of your list after losing a loved one due to negligence or an intentional act, but it is essential to contact one as soon as possible for many reasons. A Des Moines wrongful death lawyer can ensure your legal rights and potential compensation stay protected for the duration of the claim.
Statute of Limitations
Since the time to file a claim in Iowa for wrongful death is not unlimited, hiring a lawyer can help ensure you meet any necessary filing deadline. Iowa has a statute of limitations to file a wrongful death claim of two years from the date of the death. If you miss this deadline, your claim will be dismissed, and you will not be able to recover any damages or be able to seek future damages.
Preserve Evidence and More
A wrongful death case can be challenging and can take time to prepare. An experienced wrongful death lawyer in Des Moines will understand what is required to build a strong case against the negligent party. Contacting a lawyer immediately after your loved one’s death can also help preserve evidence that can be used in the case. In addition, hiring an attorney as soon as possible will take the stress off you so you can focus on grieving the loss of your loved one instead of focusing on the case.
How to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Des Moines
An wrongful death lawsuit does not formally begin until a complaint is filed with the court. Even if negotiations have started with the insurance company, this does not mean the complaint has been filed, and the lawsuit has begun.
Filing a wrongful death claim in Des Moines, IA, can be complex, and having a wrongful death attorney can help ensure that you meet all the court’s requirements and file the claim before the statute of limitations expires. In Iowa, this is two years from the date of your loved one’s death.
Parties Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The deceased person’s estate has a legal right to bring forth a wrongful death lawsuit in Des Moines. This can include relatives of the deceased such as:
The administrator of the decedent’s estate or personal representative of the estate is who is ultimately responsible for filing a wrongful death lawsuit to recover damages. Only those with a legal relationship with the deceased person can bring forth a case. If you are unsure if you have a legal right to file a claim, our Des Moines wrongful death lawyer can determine if you have the legal standing to do so. If the person wanting to file a lawsuit does not have the legal standing to do so, the court will dismiss the case.
How a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Works
Wrongful deaths can be devastating, and most people do not understand how a lawsuit works. A wrongful death lawyer in Des Moines can explain each step of the process, so you are not left with unanswered questions. The lawsuit begins once a formal complaint is filed in court. During this time, your attorney may continue negotiating a settlement with the insurance company. A lawyer will protect your legal rights and work for a full and fair settlement amount. You will not need to talk to insurers since your attorney will handle that aspect of the case. Once negotiations are complete, a settlement is often reached. Your attorney can take the case to court if the insurance company does not settle.
There will be specific legal deadlines to be met, and your lawyer will make sure that you file your claim accordingly. A Des Moines wrongful death attorney will gather and preserve the evidence needed for the claim and ensure witnesses’ testimony is obtained. They will also present any arguments for the case to the court.
Wrongful Death Damages
Several types of damages can be recovered for wrongful death, such as:
- Medical costs from the time of the accident until the time of death
- Lost income and future earnings
- Out-of-pocket expenses such as funeral costs
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
How to Find the Best Wrongful Death Lawyer in Des Moines
Finding the right lawyer to handle your wrongful death case can affect the overall outcome of your claim. There are several factors to consider when choosing the best Des Moines wrongful death lawyer for your claim. You can often search for information on a law firm’s website that can be used to help you make a decision.
In addition, other factors found online that can be used in deciding what wrongful death lawyer to use are:
- Reviews. Past client testimonials can provide information on how satisfied others clients have been with the lawyer for their wrongful death cases.
- Awards. You can see how a wrongful death attorney rates in their local community by browsing the various awards and recognition they have received.
- Case Results. By looking at a lawyer’s case results, you can find examples of what other Iowa wrongful death clients have been awarded as settlements.
- Experience Matters. Similar to the bullet point above, you will want to look for a lawyer with experience in handling wrongful death cases and the resources to take your case to court if it does not settle with the insurance company.
You can also find wrongful death lawyers by asking the people around you for recommendations. You may already know a lawyer personally or may have used a particular lawyer in the past. If you think of using them, be sure they can handle a wrongful death case.
Once you have compiled and identified potential lawyers to use for your case, you will want to call the law office to schedule a free consultation. During the initial meeting, be sure to ask questions that can be used to help make a decision. The answers to the questions, along with your gut feeling, can help determine whether the lawyer is the right fit for you.
Contact Our Wrongful Death Attorney for a Free Consultation
If you lost a loved one due to another party’s negligent or intentional act, contact our wrongful death lawyer in Des Moines as soon as possible. The experienced team at Hupy and Abraham are available for a free consultation to discuss your case. To set up a confidential appointment, fill out our convenient contact form below or call us at 1-800-800-5678.