When someone dies unexpectedly or through suspicious means due to negligence or carelessness instead of intent, the victim’s family may be able to file a legal claim on behalf of their loved one to collect damages or compensation. This type of suit can sometimes be challenging to prove, so it is important to gather complete, accurate information to support the claim. Here are some suggestions to consider.
Get Legal Assistance
To prepare litigation for filing on behalf of the deceased, you should consult a wrongful death attorney for guidance and assistance. The attorney can explain which documents are required by law for this type of case as well as what the court will need to review the events around the death of a loved one. A timeline of proceedings can be explained by the attorney also, so you know what to expect and how to prepare. You may be advised to make a list of prospective witnesses who can be interviewed.
Obtain an Accident or Incident Report
If you don’t already have one, an attorney can advise you how to get an accident report, for example, if a car accident caused the death, or an incident report, if the event was work-related. There may be other kinds of documentation associated with events leading up to or following the person’s death. Sometimes the attorney will request the reports on your behalf if you sign a permission form. At other times, you may be able to get the forms easier and faster than the attorney can.
Request Medical Records
Your wrongful death action may need several types of medical records for the attorney you are working with as well as the defense attorney to review during the discovery phase of the lawsuit. Reports related to Emergency Medical Services, the hospital Emergency Department, surgery, treatment, physical therapy, medications, and nursing services may be required. Your attorney can help you obtain these along with the financial billing or payment for each.
Organize Documented Financial Losses
If the victim earned income from a job, a pension, or other sources, that may be part of the wrongful death action. You will need to collect pay stubs, receipts, and possibly an employer’s statement or an employment record. Real estate, investments, and other assets will likely need to be documented as well.
Losing a loved one because of the errors of another person or entity is painful and difficult. A wrongful death lawsuit will require detailed and accurate records to prove liability for the person’s death.
Author information: Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University and now writes articles about health, business, family, and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing. You can follow her on Twitter @anitaginsburg.