A previous post on this blog discussed how the right to sue for wrongful death falls upon a deceased person’s closes relatives. After all, they are the ones who are most likely to suffer both emotionally and financially when someone dies in connection with a preventable accident caused by another person’s negligence.
Some of the expenses a family will no doubt face are funeral expenses and whatever medical bills got charged in connection with any efforts doctors made to save the person’s life before he or she died. Additionally, if the person who died worked, the family will likely be out that person’s wages, a fact which can put long-term financial strain on a family and even force them in to bankruptcy or poverty.
Furthermore, a family who loses a loved one also loses the inherent value that love, affection and companionship that person brings to their lives. This inherent value, though hard to put an exact figure on, is worth some monetary compensation, as is the pain and suffering the victim of the accident suffered before death.
Our law office works hard to get our clients the most compensation we can expect in a given case. We work closely with experts of various fields in order to get a full picture of what someone’s untimely death really costs a family, as that figure is often a lot higher than what anyone might think. We then use that full picture toward getting the best result at trial or during a negotiation or mediation.
While no amount of money can bring a person back, we do try to use the law to help our clients with their bills and costs following a tragedy and, in the process, hold those who could have prevented the loss accountable.
A fatal accident at a Delaware intersection left a 62-year-old woman dead at the scene of the crash. The accident involved a commercial dump truck.
According to police, the driver of the dump truck approached and intersection but disregarded the stop sign. The woman was driving her own car also entered the intersection, where the dump truck struck her vehicle. The driver of the dump truck was not hurt.
While police say that they do not expect that alcohol or illegal substances played a role in this accident, it was not clear whether the driver will be cited for running the stop sign or if he will also face additional citations or even criminal charges in connection with this tragedy. Police spent four hours investigating and cleaning up the crash.
This sad story illustrates that while being drunk or drugged certainly can cause a fatal accident, fatalities can happen on the road for any number of reasons. For instance, the driver of the dump truck could have been too fatigued to drive or could have been distracted by something in his vehicle or even by a thought in his own head. He may well have just simply made a mental error or just didn’t see the stop sign.
Whatever the reason, though, motorists in Delaware, particularly if they are driving a commercial vehicle, have a obligation and important responsibility to follow all traffic laws, including obeying traffic signs and signals. In this case, eligible members the victim’s family may have the option of pursuing compensation against the truck driver and, possibly, his employer by filing a wrongful death cause of action.
Source: Delaware Online, “Woman dies in crash with dump truck southeast of Felton, police say,” Alonzo Small and Xerxes Wilson, Sept. 16, 2017.
Although many people are impacted emotionally, and maybe even financially, after a Wilmington, Delaware resident dies unexpectedly, not everyone can file a wrongful death suit after a fatal accident, even if the accident was caused by someone else’s carelessness.
Although this blog has discussed this before, several months ago, it is worth repeating who can sue for wrongful death and, assuming compensation gets awarded as a result of the suit or of a settlement, who will receive payment.
Under Delaware law, the people who have priority for suing for wrongful death or the deceased person’s husband or wife, children, brothers and sisters, or parents. If those people are unable to decide to file a suit, then any person who is related by blood or an in-law can file a wrongful death action. The idea behind the law is to balance the fact that others really are hurt when someone dies unexpectedly and the death is preventable against the fact that the law simply cannot allow anybody to sue in these circumstance.
The proceeds from a wrongful death case, if any, will go to the deceased person’s heirs or those whom the person wanted to inherit as specified in the patient’s will. This makes sense because those close to the person are the most likely to suffer emotional damages and also the most likely to feel the financial pinch of the person’s death.
Although not every accident is necessarily anyone’s fault, many accidents in Delaware that lead to the untimely death of a person are preventable. In such cases, a grieving family should remember that they have legal options for pursuing compensation, and they may even wish to discuss these options with an experienced Delaware wrongful death attorney.
To succeed in the legal arena, whether criminal or civil, an individual needs to have a firm grasp on many aspects of the field. Of course, a criminal defendant needs to understand the law they are accused of breaking, as well as any potential penalties they may face. But that’s not all. The legal field is shaped not only by statutory law, but also by case law, the rules of trial procedure, and the rules of evidence. These rules can be used to one’s advantage, but those who are unfamiliar with them and fail to utilize them can be taken advantage of by knowledgeable prosecutors.
Hearsay is a perfect example. Hearsay is a statement made outside court, but which is presented as evidence by another individual during a trial for purposes of submitting that statement as a fact. Although hearsay is generally inadmissible, it is only disallowed when a proper timely objection is made. Those who fail to object to it may not only have questionable statements made by others used against them, but they also fail to preserve the issue for appeal.
It is also important to know that there are a number of exceptions to the general bar on hearsay. For example, a statement made by a party opponent is not hearsay. Additionally, business records, excited utterances, statements about one’s then-existing mental condition, and statements made for the purposes of medical treatment are all exempt from the general ban on hearsay. However, in order to successfully submit these statements, a proper foundation must be laid, and the statement’s proponent must be ready to respond to a hearsay objection.
In the context of a wrongful death lawsuit, legal issues like hearsay can be critical. After all, the statement of one individual can reshape the course of a trial, having a profound impact on the outcome. Therefore, those who are seeking compensation for damages they have suffered from the unexpected loss of a loved one need to ensure that their case is fully prepared before moving forward.
Suddenly losing a loved one can flip a family’s life upside-down. They may lose the emotional love and support they need, and their finances may be thrown into disarray. Although it may be difficult to think about in the aftermath of a loved one’s passing, surviving family members may want to consider their legal rights, particularly if the death was caused by the negligence of another. After all, a successful wrongful death lawsuit may provide the sense of closure and financial stability that a family needs during such a difficult time.
It may be difficult to think of a lost loved one’s life in terms of compensation, but surviving family members must do so when pursuing damages through a wrongful death lawsuit. To determine the value of a wrongful death claim, an individual can look at many factors, all of which will be considered by the judge and jury. Amongst those factors is the loss of economic support provided by the deceased individual.
Yet, even within this category, there are factors to consider. For example, a deceased individual’s age, health, life expectancy, and earning capacity may all be taken into consideration. These issues may be challenged by a defendant, as showing an unhealthy aspect of the deceased’s life, or the fact that they were expected to make less as their life progresses, may save them from paying out more to a plaintiff who is successful in imposing liability.
This is just some of the considerations to be taken into account when seeking compensation through a wrongful death claim. Surviving family members may also want to pursue non-economic damages, which can include loss of companionship, affection, and moral support. To figure out how best to go about trying to impose liability and establish the true extent of one’s losses, family members who have lost a loved one to negligence can speak with an experienced legal professional.
Source: FindLaw, “What Is Your Wrongful Death Case Worth?,” accessed on June 4, 2017
Sometimes it seems like medical technologies and practices are advancing at a rapid pace. New medications can increase disease sufferers’ longevity and reduce symptoms, and some operations can leave a patient totally healed of their affliction. However, as is often the case, even the best medical treatments depend a lot on an accurate and timely diagnosis. A failure to diagnose, or a misdiagnosis, can lead to a worsened medical condition, forcing a patient to incur additional pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages. In the worst cases, victims of these incidences die. Perhaps, with no other illness is this more the case than with cancer.
Some cancers, though, like breast cancer, should be easily detectable. For breast cancer, medical professionals have a number of diagnostic options available to them. A physical exam may lead to the discovery of lumps and other abnormalities, and a mammogram, which is essentially an x-ray of the chest, can provide a generalized picture of any abnormalities.
But, the testing options don’t stop there. Doctors can also order an ultrasound of a breast, which can give them an image of lumps deep within the breast, and they can use MRI testing to obtain images of a breast’s interior. Once a questionable mass is found, doctors can biopsy the tissue and run even further tests on it.
So, what does this mean? It means that if a doctor misses breast cancer, then there may be a possibility that they have committed medical malpractice, particularly if they failed to either order the appropriate tests or failed to accurately read test results. When medical neglect leads to the unexpected loss of a loved one, surviving family members may want to consider their legal options. Pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit may lead to the recovery of compensation for their damages, but it may also act as a deterrent so that medical professionals and hospitals take more care in the future.
Source: Mayo Clinic, “Breast cancer,” accessed on May 26, 2017
Car accidents happen all the time. In most instances, these wrecks are relatively minor, resulting in some property damage and some bumps and bruises. Other times, though, a car crash can leave victims with serious injuries, including brain injuries. Some of these victims are left permanently disabled. Others are killed as a result. This is especially true in pedestrian accidents. These individuals lack the safety features afforded those in vehicles, and they are often taken by surprise.
This happened recently in Wilmington when a 52-year-old man was struck while he was crossing the road. The incident, which occurred shortly after midnight, left the victim with serious injuries. Although he was transported to the hospital, he was later pronounced dead. The driver of the vehicle fled the scene and is currently being sought by police. However, at this time, the only description they have is that the vehicle was a sedan of light color.
Tragically, this man’s family, and other families coping with the sudden and unexpected loss of a loved one, will have a long road ahead of it. Not only is it difficult to deal with the emotions from a loved one’s passing, but the financial ramifications can be overwhelming. Funeral costs, lingering medical expenses, and even a loved one’s lost wages can leave a family in a dire financial predicament.
This is where a wrongful death lawsuit may be able to help. If successful, compensation may be awarded to a family to help cover the damages. Winning one of these cases can be tough, though, especially when the defense tries to claim that the victim was negligent. In the pedestrian accident context, this can be seen when the victim was not in a crosswalk, or they suddenly jumped out into the road. To learn how to handle these types of issues and give themselves the best possible chance of success under the circumstances, these families may want to speak with a legal professional.
Source: 6abc.com, “Man killed In Wilmington hit-and-run crash,” May 7, 2017
If you’ve lost a loved one in a car accident or an instance of medical malpractice, then you know the heartache that can come as a result. The emotional damage caused by these accidents is a lot to deal with, but the truth of the matter is that you must also find a way to deal with the financial realities of your loved one’s passing. Funeral costs and medical expenses can eat into your savings, if not wipe them out, and your loved one’s lost wages can leave you with an uncertain financial future. Under these circumstances, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. Yet, depending on your specific case, you may be able to take legal action to help recoup your damages.
A wrongful death lawsuit, when successful, can lead to the recovery of compensation. However, in order to win such a claim, you need to ensure that you are meeting the legal elements and thoroughly proving the full extent of your losses, both economic and non-economic. In other words, you need to tell your story, and you need to tell it well. This is something with which a skilled legal professional may be able to help.
The attorneys at Murphy & Landon are trial lawyers at heart, which means we don’t back down from a fight that could lead to a favorable outcome for our clients. Our legal team diligently crafts legal strategies that fit the circumstances at hand, then sets to work gathering physical evidence, identifying witnesses, and developing testimony that supports our clients’ claims. In short, we do everything we can to tell our clients’ stories in a way that is aggressive and persuasive.
Deciding whether to obtain legal counsel can be a tough decision and choosing a particular law firm can be daunting. Yet, we encourage Delaware residents to consider their potential firms’ track record of success and dedication to client satisfaction. At Murphy & Landon, we take pride in our track record of both and stand ready to help those who have been hurt by another’s negligence find the justice they deserve.
The sudden and unexpected loss of a loved one can leave a family reeling. Not only will they no longer be able to hear their loved one’s laugh, celebrate holidays and life milestones and lean on them when they are in need of emotional support, but these families can also be left with extensive financial losses. Their lost loved one may have contributed a significant amount of income to the family, and the deceased individual’s medical expenses and funeral costs can be heavy burdens for these surviving families to carry.
Of course, if an individual’s death was caused by the negligence of another, then a wrongful death lawsuit is justified. To succeed on one of these claims a family must prove that the individual’s death was caused by negligence and that financial harm was suffered as a result. However, even once liability is imposed, then a family must prove the extent of their damages before compensation is awarded.
Yet, the process might not be over even once a jury awards compensation. In fact, the judge presiding over a wrongful death case has the ability to reduce an awarded amount if the circumstances justify it. This often happens when a deceased individual is shown to have squandered his or her money, or in situations where the deceased had low earnings despite his or her potential to earn more in the years to come.
So what does this mean to families pursuing a wrongful death claim? It means that they need to ensure that they present the best evidence possible to show their losses. This may include medical and business records, as well as testimony from witnesses who knew the deceased individual best. A competent attorney may be able to help surviving family members develop their claim to show the true extent of their losses, which, for surviving family members, could make all the difference in their financial future.
Source: FindLaw, “Wrongful Death Overview,” accessed on March 19, 2017
A person may suffer an injury while on someone else’s property in countless situations. For instance, a shopper could slip and fall in a grocery store, especially if a spill was neglected and left on the floor. Likewise, numerous Delaware residents have fallen on icy sidewalks, especially this time of year. In any case, the liability of a property owner may come into question if the victim experiences a damaging injury as the result of someone else’s negligence.
Seeking out a Delaware personal injury attorney can be highly beneficial after these types of incidents. Unfortunately, there are occasionally fatal accidents that occur on another’s property. In these situations, the victim’s family can be helped by the sound legal advice of an experienced wrongful death attorney.
One of the first things that securing an attorney from Murphy & Landon can accomplish is answering the question of who is liable for an unexpected death. In cases of wrongful death, fatal injuries are typically caused by the negligence or reckless disregard of another person or entity. It is possible to hold these individuals or entities accountable through a civil wrongful death lawsuit. Such a lawsuit will typically address the financial burden of the loss, including such matters as lost wages, lost future earning potential, funeral expenses and so on.
The attorneys at Murphy & Landon know it is impossible to ever “put a price” on the life of a family member. What a wrongful death lawsuit seeks to accomplish is accountability for negligent parties and compensation for specific damages caused by an unexpected death. In cases of dangerous property deaths, a wrongful death lawsuit can also help ensure that the same type of incident does not happen again by holding negligent property owners accountable for their actions or lack thereof. Contacting a Delaware wrongful death attorney soon after an incident can make a big difference.