The loss of a loved one is devastating. No one is prepared to lose someone they love, but a loss due to the negligence of another may be particularly difficult to bear.
If you have lost a spouse or parent due to another party’s actions, you may be able to seek justice and a Lincoln wrongful death lawyer can help. A compassionate injury attorney from our firm will advocate on your behalf so you can focus on moving forward.
How Does State Law Define a Wrongful Death?
According to Nebraska Revised Statutes §30-809, any death resulting from a wrongful or negligent act that would have justified a personal injury claim had the victim survived constitutes a wrongful death. State law grants the surviving relatives of the decedent a cause of action to pursue wrongful death claims on the decedent’s behalf. This allows families to hold the at-fault party accountable for their loved one’s unexpected passing.
Who Can File a Lawsuit for an Unexpected Passing?
State law prevents a surviving spouse or any other family member from pursuing legal action on their own behalf. Instead, only a personal representative of the decedent’s estate may file suit to obtain benefits on the family’s behalf.
In many cases, the decedent’s Last Will and Testament will nominate someone to serve as the personal representative for their estate. If they passed away without a will or the nominated person is unable to fulfill the role, it is up to the court to select a representative. One of the dedicated lawyers at Berry Law can help determine what the next steps are in your wrongful death case.
When to File a Wrongful Death Claim
Wrongful death claims may arise from a variety of circumstances. However, the following types of incidents are commonly involved in wrongful death cases:
- Truck accidents
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Nursing home abuse or neglect
- Medical malpractice
- Errors in prescription drug administration or dispensing
Although these are common scenarios, any time an individual’s failure to exercise due care directly results in someone’s untimely passing, a wrongful death claim may be appropriate. However, a party may only be held accountable for their failure to exercise due care if they owed a duty to the individual they harmed. A wrongful death lawyer in Lincoln can help assess the duty a negligent actor owed to the deceased.
Whether the incident involved one individual, a company, or a governmental entity, it can be difficult to accurately identify the responsible parties in a wrongful death case. A well-versed attorney at Berry Law can help determine which parties may be held accountable in a wrongful death action.
The Importance of Timing
Under Neb. Rev. Stat. §30-810, a wrongful death lawsuit may be appropriate when a death occurs due to negligence or a wrongful act. However, for a claim to be valid, the personal representative of the deceased must file the wrongful death action within two years of the date of death. If a wrongful death action is not filed within two years of the date of death, then the family may not be able to recover compensation.
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What Compensation is Available after a Loved One’s Unexpected Passing?
Any compensation awarded in a successful wrongful death case would go to the decedent’s estate, their surviving family, or a combination of the two. The estate can recoup funeral costs, burial expenses, medical expenses, and pain and suffering stemming from accident-related injuries.
Surviving family can also obtain compensation for loss of society, companionship, and earnings. Loss of earnings may be demonstrated through expert opinions. In consideration of the deceased individual’s employment and life expectancy, an expert may be able to calculate the earnings that the deceased individual would have made and contributed to the family.
Loss of earnings covers the value of the household services that the deceased provided. However, family members may not seek compensation for their emotional trauma from the unexpected loss of a loved one. A wrongful death lawyer in Lincoln can guide families through the types of damages that may be available in a specific case.
Work with a Lincoln Wrongful Death Attorney
If you suspect that an act of negligence or other wrongful act resulted in the death of your loved one, you may be entitled to compensation. We understand that this is often a difficult situation, but an attorney at Berry Law can help you with the legal process of recovery, allowing you more time to focus on moving forward with your family. Contact a Lincoln wrongful death lawyer from Berry Law to schedule a consultation and discuss your case.