Is a person or company to blame for your loved one’s death?
First, my deepest sympathies. A fatal car accident is a horrible tragedy no one should have to experience. It’s even more devastating when the death is due to another driver’s negligence or a malfunctioning vehicle. Anger and sadness are normal and expected during this time.
You might not know what to do. That’s also perfectly normal. You shouldn’t expect to know what to do or what your rights are when someone you love passes.
The Judnich Law Office is here to help the families and friends of those tragedies. We’ll help you figure out what to do and what your options are. If you or someone you know has suffered a loss like this, please contact our office for free advice and understanding.
Why Do I Need a Wrongful Death Attorney?
With a history of experience and understanding in these specialized cases, our wrongful death lawyers ensure that all insurance issues are resolved and the estate of the loved one is looked after. Loss of life coupled with endless telephone calls from insurance companies, law enforcement, and medical providers can be extremely stressful and traumatic. Allowing a negligent death attorney to assist you with those matters is often vital to recovery.
Our wrongful death attorney can stop the phone calls and give you time and peace to grieve and understand your legal options. We know money can never replace your loved one, but you shouldn’t have to suffer from financial hardship on top of your grief and pain. Don’t let an insurance company make you feel guilty about talking to a wrongful death attorney.
Missoula Wrongful Death Claims
A negligent death at the hands of another driver or entity is a special civil claim in the state of Montana, and one that must be handled with the utmost care. As a survivor of this tragedy, you have claims that need personal attention.
A negligent death may occur from action or inaction. If someone’s actions could have caused someone else’s death, he or she may be charged with wrongful death. But so could someone who failed to do something to save someone’s life. It’s the job of a wrongful death lawyer to prove that your loved one would still be alive if not for this negligence.
Besides individuals, the following may be held accountable:
- Government organizations
- Car companies
- Road builders or designers
- Bars or liquor stores (if the offending driver was impaired)
Damages in Wrongful Death Cases
“We’re going to sue for damages.” You may have heard this on TV but not know exactly what it means. Damages are money or another type of compensation for your loss. Because a wrongful death case is a civil case and not a criminal one, the guilty party will not go to jail, but rather pay you damages.
There are three types of damages: economic, non-economic, and punitive (for extremely negligent behavior).
Economic damages cover the financial contribution your loved one would have made to you if he or she were still alive. They also include money you had to pay because of the death that you wouldn’t have had to pay otherwise, such as funeral and medical costs. If your loved one supported you financially, such as a parent or spouse, you deserve compensation. If you were on his or her health plan, you may also receive economic damages. The same is true if the death adversely affected your inheritance.
Non-economic damages cover your emotional turmoil. You may feel squeamish about someone attaching a dollar amount to love, but these are very real losses someone took away from you. This may include your emotional pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of the following from the deceased:
- his or her love
Punitive damages are meant to punish the wrongdoer in extreme cases. They are relatively rare in fatal auto accidents. However, they may occur if a driver was drunk, knowingly did not maintain safe brakes, speeds excessively, and so forth.
A recent instance of punitive damages happened right here in Missoula. Two Missoula teens died in a car crash in July 2011. A faulty steering wheel part in a Hyundai vehicle was the culprit. Because Hyundai knew about the issue for over a decade yet did not address it, the court ordered Hyundai to pay $73 million in punitive damages.
What Happens in a Wrongful Death Case?
Your wrongful death lawyer at the Judnich Law Office will work with you to ensure a fair and just result. We know you would rather have your loved one back than any amount of money. We wish you were not in this situation. At least compensation can help give you closure and make it less difficult for you financially as you try to recover.
Our wrongful death lawyer starts by investigating your family member’s death. Our office has connections to economists, medical professionals, and local authorities. We know who to contact for expert testimony in your case. Our research will uncover who or what is at fault for the negligent death so they can be held responsible and you can begin to move on.
You may be able to be compensated without litigation (having to file a lawsuit). If not, our negligent death lawyers will prepare for the litigation process, including filing a complaint, the discovery phase, depositions, and going to trial.
Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death Suits
In Montana, you have to file a negligent death suit within three years of when it happened. Don’t wait. These cases are complicated, but our negligent death attorneys have expertise in these cases and know exactly what you’ll need for a strong case. We can advise you on every step of the process, including whether to settle.
Loss is difficult enough. You shouldn’t have to figure out the rest on your own. It can be difficult to take care of yourself while you’re grieving, much less hold a drunk driver or car company accountable.
Contact the Judnich Law Office today. Our Missoula wrongful death lawyer will listen with compassion and give you free advice about your case.