Injury Lawyer

Wrongful Death

We help grieving families get justice

The loss of a loved one is always difficult, but it can especially be hard when the death is due to another person’s negligence. Severe injuries from events such as car accidents unfortunately sometimes result in death. Negligence can also play a role when the death occurs at a workplace, such as a construction site accident. A wrongful death suit allows the family of the deceased to recover monetary losses associated with the death of a loved one, such as loss of income.

We realize you might not want to talk to an attorney. You may want to handle a wrongful death claim on your own. Many families, however, find strength when they have reliable legal guidance and support. With the amount of resources at stake in many wrongful death claims, you may be faced with a difficult legal battle, one you don’t want to face alone.

At the Law Offices of James Morris, we have extensive experience handling wrongful death claims in Buffalo and throughout New York. We understand that your family is going through a difficult time. Our experienced attorneys can walk you through every step of the process, including:

After the loss of a loved one, especially a breadwinner, your family will need compensation. Unfortunately, to insurance companies, even a tragedy can become an opportunity to settle a claim for as little money as possible. They may try to ignore or downplay certain financial losses you’re facing. They may even argue that your loved one was responsible for his or her own death.

With help from our law firm, you won’t have to accept those answers. Our legal team can thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s death, find the responsible parties and hold them accountable. We’ll listen to your side of the story with compassion, and we’ll take a hard line in negotiations and litigation to make sure your family has all the resources needed to move on.

While no amount of money can bring back a loved one, you can take steps to make sure that the negligent individual or entity is held accountable – and, more importantly, that the family members left behind are provided for. Contact the Law Offices of James Morris right away for your free case evaluation. Call (800) 477-9044.

Who May File the Claim

The courts have established guidelines for determining who has the right to file a wrongful death claim and in what circumstances. Of course, every case—including yours—will have its own unique events and details. Some general outlines of the review process are listed below.

To sue for monetary damages:

  • The family can show that the death had a direct monetary effect on them, or that:
  • The accident would have resulted in monetary damages for the victim, had he or she survived.

To prove negligence or intent, the family must show that:

  • The death was the direct result of another’s negligence.
  • The death was the direct result of a wrongful act with the intent to cause harm.

Depending on circumstances, criminal charges may or may not be associated with the death. That does not necessarily affect the outcome of a wrongful death suit. Since the burden of proof in civil court is lower than in criminal court, it may be possible to recover damages through a wrongful death lawsuit even if the responsible party is acquitted of criminal charges.

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Establishing Responsibility

A wrongful death case requires that responsibility for the death be established between all the parties involved, including the person who died.

In many cases, it is important for the family to show that the deceased made every effort to promptly obtain medical care. Otherwise, the deceased may be held responsible for his or her own death because of the failure to seek medical care. Alternatively, the family may show that the deceased’s life was put at risk without his or her knowledge, as with an exposure to toxins.

Additionally, the family needs to show how the deceased’s own actions may have been negligent in the accident. For example, a boat passenger who did not wear a floatation device and subsequently drowned could be found to be responsible.

The other parties may try to demonstrate that the death would have occurred even without their actions or negligence. They may also try to establish that they had no ability to know, predict, or recognize the risk of their actions or decisions.

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Calculating Damages

The damages, the legal term for financial compensation, in a wrongful death case can be generally categorized into one of two groups. “Objective” damages may be calculated by costs such as:

  • Medical bills;
  • Funeral or other expenses related to laying the deceased to rest;
  • Loss of benefits, such as employer-provided health insurance, that must now be paid out-of-pocket;
  • Loss of income, depending on the age and household status of the deceased.

“Subjective” damages are based on other, less specific determinations, such as:

  • Pain and suffering endured by the deceased;
  • Emotional trauma of the surviving family members;
  • Punitive damages, should the cause of death be found to be especially egregious.

Subjective damages are particularly difficult to calculate, and insurance companies will try to downplay those factors as much as possible to obtain a smaller settlement amount. That’s why you need an experienced attorney from our firm to advocate on your behalf.

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