The death of a family member is a traumatic experience. In the shadow of this loss, the administrative tasks may seem trivial. However, if the deceased was a primary source of his or her family’s income, then making a wrongful death claim could help survivors avoid overwhelming debt – and attain much-deserved justice.
If the incident happened in Arizona, contact a Scottsdale personal-injury lawyer from the Rudolph & Hammond law Firm. We can gather evidence, structure your claim, handle settlement negotiations and litigate your case if it goes to trial. You may be entitled to compensation for lost income, funeral costs, medical bills and other damages. Call 480-951-9700 to schedule a consultation.
Until then, read on to learn three essential steps to take after a wrongful death:
- Identify the Personal Representative
Only the personal estate representative of the deceased can file a claim of wrongful death. Most people name this person in their wills, trusts and deeds, but many wrongful deaths occur to younger victims without lifelong-accrued estates.
In a wrongful death claim, it is wiser to file on the family’s behalf instead of the deceased. This typically improves the outcome. If there is no appointed estate representative, then the court will likely approve a close family member.
- Gather Records and Documents
Only the personal representative has the authority to collect certain records about the deceased. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this is because of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, and other privacy laws. He or she will need the following:
Depending on how your loved one died, there should be at least one incident report. In some cases, there are several. Incident reports include written notices of the accident, which may come from the police, employer, doctor or other sources. You need all incident reports to support your claim.
You will need a state-issued death certificate to purse a wrongful death claim. It will contain crucial information such as the time of death, when it happened, results of the initial findings and the cause of death. This is the official proof of your loved one’s passing.
OMI Findings and Report
The Office of the Medical Investigator will provide an in-depth analysis of the cause of death. Compared to the death certificate, the OMI’s findings offer significantly more value for your claim.
- Consult a Personal-Injury Lawyer
Insurance companies are businesses, so denying or undervaluing claims is in their best interests. Insurance companies usually have high-powered legal teams that know how to take advantage of the law. This is why you should consult a personal-injury lawyer to protect your interests and help you avoid mistakes.
If you lost a loved one due to the negligence of another person or organization, contact the Rudolph & Hammond Law Firm. A Scottsdale accident attorney can evaluate your situation to determine if you may have grounds for a lawsuit. Call 480-951-9700 to schedule a consultation.