Wrongful Death - What are my rights?

Wrongful death claims are a very important component of financial recovery options when a family member has died as the result of the negligence of another party. Wrongful death claims are not necessarily filed just against people, as many times commercial entities can be liable for loss of life as well.

While wrongful death claims are not always the result of highway accidents, there is also potential extended liability for transportation companies or other employers utilizing commercial vehicles in the course of business.

Work-related deaths are also common tragedies that result in wrongful death legal actions when the employer is at fault for the fatal injury. Just as in any other personal injury claim, the material case factors of each situation can be unique, complicated, and strongly defended, requiring an experienced Montana wrongful death attorney like our team at Odegaard Miller Law for legal representation.

Personal Injury Claim Rights

Victims of a fatal accident also have personal injury collection rights in certain cases where the death is delayed following an accident. Wrongful death cases commonly follow a prolonged period of medical treatment or an incapacitated state prior to finally expiring.

The standard rules for settling a personal injury case apply for the personal injury area of a wrongful death claim, including damages for pain and suffering before dying. These settlement proceeds are considered personal property of the decedent and will be assigned to the estate before any inheritance is distributed.

Wrongful Death Claim Rights

Legal standing to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of a decedent is assigned to the estate personal representative, normally filed by the wrongful death attorney providing legal representation for the family.

In addition to the estate standing to sue, dependent minor children and spouses also have legal standing to file for loss of consortium and support that would have been provided by the decedent throughout a normal lifetime.

Extended Damages

Some wrongful death legal actions are particularly egregious when the responsible party was grossly negligent in causing the accident. This is common when drunk drivers are involved or a commercial entity has failed to comply with certain OSHA or highway regulations.

Each wrongful death claim is unique is some aspect, and those material facts can often reveal a number of avenues for financial compensation, including the possibility of additional punitive damages or product liability claims.

Punitive damages can only be awarded by a jury that has heard all of the case particulars in a full trial and returned a punitive damage verdict.

Wrongful Death Claim Limitations

While Montana places no limits on the amount of damages that may be paid in a wrongful death action, all drivers involved in an accident are assessed for personal contribution to causation.

Passengers usually do not have a comparative negligence assignment, but this can be a problem for drivers who are fatally wounded.

Drivers who are pursuing damages for accident injuries can be barred from any compensation if their contribution to causing a fatal crash is greater than the negligent respondent, making comparative negligence central to any injury claim in Montana.

It is clear that wrongful death claims can be complicated and tedious legal tasks that always require the knowledge of an experienced wrongful death attorney like our legal professionals at Odegaard Miller Law.

We fight for all of the collection rights of their clients and families. Do not delay when a loved one is the victim of wrongful death. Call or click today.