If you lost a loved one in an accident, you should reach out to Stewart Miller Simmons Trial Attorneys. We bring wrongful death cases on behalf of spouses, children, and other family members who are trying to pick up the pieces after losing a loved one. In even the best of circumstances, these are tricky lawsuits to bring. But there are also mistakes which family members make that undermine their ability to secure a meaningful settlement. We look at some of the most important to avoid in this article. Call us to speak with an Atlanta wrongful death lawyer today about the tragedy which claimed your loved one.
1. You Assume You Have No Legal Case
Not every death will justify a wrongful death lawsuit. However, you might sue if someone killed your loved one negligently, recklessly, or intentionally. For example, many of our reach out to us after losing a family member in:
- Car accidents caused by a careless or distracted driver
- Drunk driving accidents
- Fatal workplace accidents
- Truck accidents caused by a negligent trucker or dangerous truck
- Hazardous products on the market
- Violent crimes, like assault
- Negligent security which leads to criminal attacks
If you are unsure whether you have a case, call our law firm. It costs nothing to explain your situation and get expert legal advice about whether you can sue.
2. You Wait too Long to Call a Lawyer
Georgia law gives you only two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit. You can try to negotiate a mutual settlement with the defendant before this time runs out, but you don’t want to go past the deadline. If you do, you can’t file later, and you lose any leverage you have in negotiations. It’s highly likely you will walk away with nothing.
Ideally, you should pick up the phone and call our law firm, (404) 529-3476. We will ensure your case is filed properly before any deadline.
3. You Fight with Family over the Case
This is a very emotional and stressful time. Naturally, everyone grieves in different ways, but it’s critical to try and come together as a family. When family members disagree, they can miss critical deadlines and fail to preserve relevant evidence. They might also fight for control of the wrongful death case, which can hamstring your family’s ability to hold the defendant accountable.
Choose a law firm where communication is a foundational value. Our legal team understands that clients bring their emotions to a case, and we strive to ensure everyone feels that their voices are heard.
4. You Talk with Reporters about the Incident
Some accidental deaths make the news. For example, your loved one might have died in a large chain store, like an ALDI, or they were killed by a driver for a multinational company like Walmart. Other deaths which make the news include any caused by violent crime. We strongly encourage you not to speak with the media without talking to an attorney first. You never know if you might say something that could impact your case. Silence is always an option.
5. You Answer Insurance Company Questions
Wrongful death cases usually involve insurance companies defending the person or business who caused the death. This happens with deaths that occur in businesses, as well as fatal motor vehicle wrecks. Insurance companies often quickly step up and try to find evidence to use against your loved one. In your grief, you should not be answering questions, which might be vague or tricky. You could say something you don’t really mean, and the insurer runs with it to their advantage.
Insurers can also dig and ask very personal questions. For example, they might ask if your loved one had a drug problem or mental illness. These invasive questions hurt in a real way. Let an attorney serve as a gatekeeper between you and the defendant. We can provide any relevant information they need.
6. You Accept a Settlement Offer without Running it by a Lawyer
Any settlement should fairly compensate you and your family for lost income, grief, and other losses. Of course, money is clearly inadequate to “replace” a lost child, parent, or spouse. No money replaces someone.
Still, you deserve as much income as the law allows. The death of a spouse, for instance, can devastate a family’s finances. This is your chance to secure your family’s future by obtaining a large settlement.
Unfortunately, many insurers make small initial offers. Someone without a lawyer might snatch it, believing (wrongly) that it’s the best offer they’ll ever see.
Show any proposed settlement to a lawyer. Our firm can analyze your injuries and losses, including how much your loved one made before death. Based on this review, we can recommend whether the amount offered is fair or whether you can do better. Ultimately, it’s up to you to accept the settlement, but we make sure you make an informed choice.
7. You Don’t Hire a Lawyer to Save Money
It’s possible to negotiate a settlement without a lawyer’s help—but we don’t recommend it. Our experience shows that a seasoned lawyer is often able to secure much more compensation for a wrongful death case. Why leave money on the table?
Even better, our services are entirely affordable. You never have to pay upfront legal fees or out-of-pocket expenses. In fact, you won’t owe us a penny unless we win your case. There is no reason to try and handle a claim when you could spend your time grieving properly and drawing closer to your family.
Call Our Law Firm for a Consultation
The lawyers at Stewart Miller Simmons Trial Attorneys have tackled many wrongful death cases for clients in and around Atlanta. Our phone lines are always open for anyone to call and have a confidential meeting with a member of our legal team. If you like what you hear, we can discuss how to formalize the attorney-client relationship. Reach out to us today by calling (404) 529-3476 or contacting us online.