The death of a family member can be overwhelming and heartbreaking. Anyone who has lost a family member understands how important it is to focus on your and your family’s wellbeing after the unexpected loss. Whenever another person’s carelessness causes a fatal injury, they can be held liable by the decedent’s family in a wrongful death claim.
However, wrongful death cases can be very complex. Even if a plaintiff can demonstrate that the accident was caused by another person’s negligence, a claim for wrongful death must make an accurate accounting of the losses suffered by the decedent’s family.
An Omaha wrongful death lawyer could help surviving family members pursue wrongful death cases against private citizens, corporations, and insurance companies. The experienced injury lawyers at Berry Law handle every case with compassion and determination, and they will work to collect the full compensation needed to protect your family’s financial future.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Omaha?
State law allows immediate surviving relatives of the decedent to collect compensation in a wrongful death claim. However, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate would have to be the one to submit the actual lawsuit in the interest of the surviving family.
There are several individuals who may be eligible to receive damages in an Omaha wrongful death claim. First, the surviving spouse of the deceased individual may collect compensation, as well as any surviving children. If the decedent’s mother or father survives them, these parties may also seek wrongful death damages. A lawyer can help you identify potential beneficiaries of any wrongful death benefits.
Proving a Fatal Accident Case
In many respects, a wrongful death case is similar to other personal injury claims. A plaintiff must prove that the defendant was responsible for the injury that resulted in death. The only difference is that the plaintiff in a wrongful death is a personal representative of the decedent.
One common way to prove liability is to establish that the defendant was negligent. For example, in the case of a car accident, all drivers maintain a duty to protect other people they encounter on the road. If they fail to do so, they may be held responsible for any resulting damages or injuries.
When a plaintiff can show that a defendant was negligent and caused a fatal accident, they can prove that the defendant is responsible for providing compensation to the decedent’s family. While car accidents are a prominent example, wrongful deaths can occur in many other ways. These include:
- Commercial truck accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Slip and fall cases
- Medical malpractice
- Motorcycle collisions
- Nursing home abuse
A wrongful death lawyer in Omaha can help identify who to hold responsible and pursue maximum compensation on your behalf.
How Long is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The length of a wrongful death lawsuit from start to finish depends entirely on the facts of the case. Some wrongful death claims may be concluded in under a year, although this is more of the exception and not the rule. Lawsuits, in general, tend to take far longer than cases that are settled out of court. If a wrongful death case proceeds to litigation, it could be several years before the matter is concluded.
Calculating Damages in an Omaha Wrongful Death Case
Determining the potential value of a wrongful death case can be complicated. According to Nebraska Revised Statute §30-810, you can claim compensation for any medical costs and funeral costs accumulated due to the incident. The statute also states that surviving family members can claim non-economic damages. These damages can be difficult to describe but typically include:
- Future loss of income
- Loss of benefits
- Loss of companionship
Nebraska places no hard cap on potential damages, but it does limit when a plaintiff can bring a case. According to Nebraska Revised Statute §30-810, you must file a claim no more than two years from the date of death. A failure to bring a case within this time can bar you from recovery.
How is the Recovery Distributed?
In a successful wrongful death case, the beneficiaries of the decedent’s estate are awarded the amount of compensation set by the court. This is typically distributed as a lump sum of money. However, if your family settles the case outside of court, periodic payments may be an option. Whether you receive compensation through a lawsuit or a settlement, the money is not considered taxable income.
Consult an Omaha Wrongful Death Attorney
The loss of a loved one is never easy to endure. When a death can be attributed to the actions of another party, the family of the decedent can hold the responsible party accountable. Whether this involves a case of negligence or criminal activity, an at-fault defendant is liable to compensate the family of the decedent.
This compensation can include payments for both economic and non-economic losses. An Omaha wrongful death lawyer could help you understand what compensation may be available for your family. Contact our team today to schedule a free consultation.