Losing a loved one is always a traumatic experience regardless of the cause. But when death is the result of someone else’s negligence, you are understandably hurt and angry. It can be a lot to process and there is no reason to deal with the situation alone. Working with an Austin wrongful death attorney can help you and your family begin to heal and move on.
While contemplating a lawsuit may not be the first thing on your mind, there are in fact several good reasons to engage an attorney as soon as possible.
1. You Have the Right to Know the Whole Truth
It is not always clear exactly what caused a loved one’s death. And the responsible parties are not always forthcoming. For example, if a patient dies due to apparent medical malpractice, the hospital and the doctors will quickly move to circle the wagons. The grieving family members are unlikely to get a straight answer.
This is where having an attorney is critical. It may be necessary to hire outside investigators and experts to review all of the available evidence to determine exactly what happened to the deceased. An experienced wrongful death lawyer knows how to manage these types of investigations and make sure the family learns the truth.
2. Criminal Law Is Not Sufficient
Not all negligence involves criminal activity. The police typically do not arrest a doctor who commits malpractice that results in a patient’s death. And even where there is criminal act involved–such as drunk driving–prosecutors are tasked with protecting the public at-large, not seeking compensation for individual victims.
In contrast, wrongful death is a civil matter. The standard of proof is much lower than in a criminal case. When the police are unable or unwilling to charge a responsible party, a wrongful death may be the only way a family can receive any justice.
3. You Need to Protect Your Family’s Financial Future
Some people dismiss wrongful death lawsuits as a shameless grab for cash. But the reality is a sudden, unexpected death can financially devastate a family. If the deceased was the primary wage earner, the surviving spouse and children may not have sufficient income to make ends meet. There are also costs related to the death itself, such as funeral and medical bills, which can run tens of thousands of dollars.
By filing a wrongful death claim, the family can seek compensation not only for these expenses but also lost income and even the loss of the potential inheritance the victim would have provided had he or she continued to work and save.
4. You Should Not Deal With Insurance Companies Alone
In many cases the negligent party has insurance that will cover a wrongful death judgment. Insurance companies are pros when it comes to exploiting a family’s financial desperation. Many times they will present a quick offer to settle and preempt a potential lawsuit. Such offers are usually not enough to compensate the family for the full value of their economic losses.
An experienced wrongful death attorney knows to handle the insurance companies. Oftentimes, an attorney can still reach a negotiated settlement–but one that is far more reasonable and fair to the victim’s family. Simply hiring an attorney sends a message to the insurance company that you are serious and will not be ignored.
5. Time Is of the Essence
In Texas there is a two-year statute of limitations to file a wrongful death lawsuit. That may seem like a lot of time, but consider how long it may take to investigate the cause of death, negotiate with the insurance company, and deal with the other consequences of a family member’s death. Also consider the longer you wait to start the process, the more likely important evidence will be lost or destroyed.
Contact An Austin Wrongful Death Lawyer Today
The most important thing any lawyer can offer a grieving family is the promise to zealously fight for their interests. If you have lost a loved one due to negligence, you do not have to deal with the aftermath alone. Contact the office of Robert Littlefield Buford III, Attorney at Law, to schedule a consultation with a qualified Texas wrongful death attorney today.