If you recently lost a family member in an accident, filing a lawsuit may be the last thing on your mind. However, if someone else’s carelessness led to your family member’s unexpected passing, exploring the legal options available to you for recovering compensation may be important.
Filing a wrongful death action in Omaha can be a complicated and emotional experience, but it could be made easier with the help of a knowledgeable attorney. An Omaha Wrongful Death Lawyer at Berry Law can help you understand how these types of cases work and ensure you avoid pitfalls that might otherwise impact your available damages.
Who Is Allowed to File a Wrongful Death Action under State Law?
The grounds for filing a wrongful death case in Omaha are generally the same as any other personal injury case. The defendant must have violated a duty of care they owed to the decedent, and that breach of duty must have directly led to their wrongful death.
However, not everyone is permitted to file a fatal accident claim. According to Nebraska Revised Statutes §30-810, only the legal representative of the decedent’s estate can file a wrongful death suit. Furthermore, the representative may only file on behalf of the decedent’s spouse and next of kin. Those individuals will be the beneficiaries of any compensation awarded.
It should be noted that if an accident results in the death of both the prospective plaintiff and defendant, the estate representative of the party with cause to file suit may pursue compensation from the estate of the party responsible for the accident. Recoverable damages and the amount of compensation available would not change in either situation.
How Much Time Does the Representative Have to File Suit?
The estate representative does not have long to file wrongful death claim after an accident. Neb. Rev. Stat §30-810 sets a two-year deadline from the date of their passing to file a wrongful death claim. If the deadline is missed, the case can be dismissed entirely.
Civil vs Criminal Consequences for a Wrongful Death
Omaha residents who want to file a wrongful death action on behalf of a deceased loved one may do so even if a criminal case is pending against the party they intend to sue. These cases would proceed separately from each other, and the outcome of one case typically has no impact on the other.
Additionally, it may still be possible to recover civil damages for a wrongful death claim even if a criminal case for the same incident does not result in a conviction. Since the standard of proof for civil cases in Nebraska is different than criminal cases, a defendant may still be held civilly liable for something they were not found guilty of in criminal court.
Let an Omaha Attorney Help File a Wrongful Death Action
The aftermath of a wrongful death is characterized by grief and difficult choices, not the least of which is whether you should pursue legal action against the party responsible for causing your loved one’s passing. While filing a wrongful death action in Omaha may seem like a daunting endeavor, the financial benefits of a successful claim could be crucial to protecting your family’s future.
No matter what specific circumstances surround the loss of your loved one, talking to a legal professional could be the best way to clarify what your options are and determine the best course of action moving forward. Call Berry Law today to discuss your case in a free consultation.