Most people will go through their life without ever facing the prospect of a wrongful death lawsuit. Unfortunately, some families that lose a loved one unexpectedly could find themselves considering legal action.
If the passing of your family member resulted from the negligence of another entity or person, a lawsuit might be the best way to secure a measure of justice. These cases are complex, but an Omaha Wrongful Death Lawyer from Berry Law can guide you through the Omaha wrongful death case process.
Identifying the Personal Representative
The first step in any wrongful death case is identifying the personal representative of your loved one’s estate. In many jurisdictions, the surviving relatives of a deceased person have the right to pursue a lawsuit. However, that option is not available in Omaha.
Under state law, only the personal representative of the decedent’s estate may file a wrongful death case. However, the law does allow a personal representative to bring a claim for the benefit of the surviving spouse and next-of-kin.
While the representative is in charge of overseeing any wrongful death actions, there are other duties related to the estate they must attend to as well. In most cases, the decedent’s last will and testament will nominate someone to serve as the personal representative. A careful look at that document will determine if that individual has been identified.
Finalizing the Personal Representative
If the deceased’s will names someone as personal representative, and that individual is willing to serve, the court will generally accept that selection. However, the court has the final word on nominating the representative. There are many circumstances under which the judge is required to select the representative. Some common examples include:
- There is no will
- The will does not name a personal representative
- The person named is deceased
- The person named is unwilling to participate
In these cases, the judge often appoints a family member to serve in the role. An attorney familiar with wrongful death claims can help you request this position and begin the case process.
Working With a Lawyer in Omaha
Wrongful death lawsuits are complex, and any mistakes made during this process can have a damaging effect on the case. That is why handling these lawsuits without an attorney is risky. Hiring a lawyer can put your family in the best position to hold the negligent party accountable through a settlement or trial.
Negotiating a Settlement
Once an attorney is on the case, one of the first steps they might take is to attempt to settle with the negligent person or entity. Many wrongful death cases are resolved through a negotiated settlement, especially when insurance policies are in place.
Moving Forward with a Lawsuit
There are times when settlements are not viable. This can occur when the defendant fails to accept responsibility or when they do not have the resources to make a reasonable settlement offer. When a settlement is out of the question, the next step is to file a lawsuit and move the case toward trial.
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Let an Omaha Attorney Help With the Wrongful Death Case Process
The Omaha wrongful death case process can be challenging for anyone. These complex lawsuits are even more difficult to manage when you are grieving. If you lost a loved one because of someone’s negligence, call Berry Law today for a free consultation. We can help you pursue justice on your loved one’s behalf.