A Step By Step Breakdown Of Wrongful Death Litigation Process
Interviewer: What is the process going to be like? What’s the first step that I should take after the death of a loved one has been caused by negligence of another person or entity?
Stephen Boutros: The first step you should take is to hire a lawyer and lawyer can open up an estate in probate court and that becomes the jurisdiction for the wrongful death court case or you can file on district court the wrongful death case on behalf of the beneficiaries for the wrongful death case. Then, we proceed it with litigation on the wrongful death and/or survival claim and ultimately, we develop the evidence and we get closer to trial. You see insurance companies and corporations feeling more and more pressure to get the case resolved.
If the Insurance Companies Make a Fair Offer to the Beneficiaries, then the Case is Settled
If they make a fair offer to the family and the beneficiaries, then we can settle the case, if not then we go to trial. We have no fear of trial at this law firm because we’re always extremely well prepared to present the evidence, to make the arguments on behalf of our clients and motivate the jury to make an award of money that will prevent other families from having to suffer the type of pain that our clients have as a result of the negligence of some company or corporation or drunk driver or hotel operator or whoever it is.
The Compensation for Pain and Suffering is Included in the Wrongful Death Claim
Interviewer: In addition to wrongful deaths, can a family member also sue for pain and suffering?
Stephen Boutros: No. The only time someone can sue for pain and suffering would be the personal pain and suffering from their injury, otherwise they’re suing under the wrongful death and their pain and suffering due to the death. So it’s not in addition to unless you have your own personal injury.
It is in the Best Interests of a Claimant to Contact an Attorney as Soon as Possible
Interviewer: How quickly should someone contact an attorney for a wrongful death case?
Stephen Boutros: It depends on the type of accident, the type of incident that occurred. If it’s the type of incident where evidence is needed to be gathered immediately, then you should hire a lawyer immediately and it’s no disrespect to the person who died, it’s just insurance companies are going to have lawyers and investigators gathering evidence immediately and you want to make sure that the evidence is preserved. It’s no disrespect to your loved one who died, it’s just protecting ultimately what their legal interests are.
People Are Generally Not In the Frame of Mind to Hire an Attorney Immediately After the Death of a Loved One
If it’s a type of thing where evidence doesn’t necessarily need to be preserved, then you hire a lawyer in what you believe is the appropriate time in which people can make that decision. The answer to that question is you should hire a lawyer as soon as possible, but then again, some people are in no frame of mind dealing with the death and they don’t go out and hire a lawyer right away although it would be in their best legal interest if they did.
Attorneys Handle Wrongful Death Cases On a Pure Contingency Basis
Interviewer: Don’t attorneys get paid on a contingency for wrongful death cases?
Stephen Boutros: We work on a pure contingency fee basis, meaning that we are paid nothing on the case including for expenses until the case is either resolved by settlement or a judgment and after a jury verdict. So, there’s no expense to the client whatsoever in the prosecution of the case, with regard to the case expenses or attorney’s fees and there’s only a recovery for attorney fees and expenses in the event that there’s recovery for the case. If there’s no recovery, there’s no fee, it’s a risk-free contract to our clients.