A wrongful death attorney deals with legal suits for estates that have been lost due to the wrongful or negligent act of another party. In such cases, the surviving family of the dead person can file a wrongful death civil suit against the estate. In addition to dealing with these legal suits, wrongful death attorneys also often have experience in personal injury cases. Wrongful death laws vary from state to state. It is important to hire a qualified and competent wrongful death attorney to handle such a case.
Wrongful Death Statute
The wrongful death statute of most states varies. Some statute provides that any death that results from negligent conduct by a public entity such as a hospital, nursing home or hospice, or by an individual, including a doctor, surgeon, physician, nurse or other medical personnel, the term ‘wrongful death’ applies. The statute further provides that all damages recovered by a plaintiff must be paid by the defendant unless it can prove that the plaintiff’s death was due to reasonable cause.
If the defendant can show that there was reasonable cause, it is entitled to recover its costs associated with the litigation, along with compensation for its losses. There is no automatic stay on the death of a resident of Honolulu under the Honolulu statute. However, if the plaintiff does not succeed in recovering any damages, then the death of the resident is deemed to have occurred notwithstanding the statute of limitations.
Compensation for Loved Ones
Some people also wish to have more than one state to provide compensation for their loved ones. Under this type of situation, one spouse files the lawsuit in one state, while the other spouse files the lawsuit in the other state. In these situations, both spouses must obtain legal assistance from an attorney who is knowledgeable in the nuances of the wrongful death statute in the state in which they live. An experienced trial attorney will know exactly where to file and how to obtain the most favorable judgment. Attorneys can also help make amends to any financial agreements that were made as a result of the marriage and can help obtain rehabilitation for the surviving spouse.
A Honolulu wrongful death lawsuit may be filed in the state with the help of Honolulu Wrongful Death Attorney. For example, if two plaintiffs are related through birth, then one parent can file the lawsuit in the name of the surviving spouse, and the other parent in the name of the child. Similarly, if one spouse is deceased, then the lawsuit can be filed jointly with the other spouse. Additionally, if one spouse is related more heavily to one side of the family than to the other, then he or she may file the lawsuit using the name of that spouse’s surviving spouse.
At-fault parties have their own interests in pursuing a civil suit. For example, many times one spouse will falsely accuse the other spouse of murder for the basis of a divorce proceeding. If an at-fault party is named as a defendant in a civil suit, then he or she must retain its own attorney to fight the lawsuit. Often these attorneys are quite competent at defending the at-fault party from unfounded allegations. At-fault parties also may attempt to “set-up” a situation so that they can gain custody of their children, which is often referred to as a “clean slate” theory. The civil lawsuit laws do not prevent a child from being adopted by an at-fault party or vice versa.
Statutes allow for a wrongful death lawsuit to be filed in either county or federal court. Because the statute of limitations may have run out on many issues, it is suggested that families consult with a local attorney who has experience with the specific issue that they are filing a lawsuit on. It is best to hire an experienced family law attorney who has knowledge of both civil and criminal law. Additionally, an experienced attorney should be familiar with the entire process, including discovery, pleadings, motion practice, trial preparation and appeals. Having an attorney with experience will make the lawsuit experience more pleasant for all involved.
Types of Attorneys
There are two types of attorneys that families may choose from when filing a wrongful death lawsuit. One type of attorney is a criminal defense attorney, while the other type of attorney is a family attorney. Many criminal defense attorneys specialize in fighting these types of lawsuits. In the case of criminal defendants, the attorneys will be responsible for explaining the potential criminal actions taken against the defendant and providing mitigating circumstances for his or her guilt.
A criminal defense attorney will attempt to prove the cause of action taken against the defendant. This includes proving that the defendant in the case committed a crime, whether it was intentional or not, and that damages resulted from such action. In instances where a defendant pleads “not guilty” before a grand jury, the prosecuting attorney has the duty to prove that there is probable cause to believe that the defendant committed the crime. If successful in this aspect of the case, the plaintiff will receive damages from the defendant as a result of that crime.