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Fatal injuries resulting from accidents are rising at an alarming rate in the United States. In 2016, there were 34,439 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States resulting in 37,461 deaths, an increase of over 2,000 deaths from the year before.  Fatal workplace injuries showed a dramatic uptick in 2016, rising by 7% over the number of fatalities accounted for in 2015. Unfortunately, these car accident and workplace fatalities do happen and they can completely ruin a family’s life. There are, however, ways to at least receive proper damages after these terrible accidents — but that can be quite complicated.

Here is everything you need to know for hiring a wrongful death attorney and filing a claim:

Hiring an attorney

  • Ask for recommendations — Since these wrongful death cases are extremely complex, it’s best to hire a qualified wrongful death lawyer. By asking for recommendations from friends, family members, and colleagues who have gone through similar situations, you should find the help you need.
  • Utilize state bar resources — If you can’t get a good recommendation, try using your state bar’s website to get a legitimate referral. Since every state has a list of licensed attorneys, you’ll be able to find a great legal professional who can help you and your family throughout this difficult time.
  • Be prepared for contingency fees — Ask the attorney you’re going to be working with how much they charge. Most attorneys work on a contingency-fee basis, meaning they will not require initial fees but instead will collect a certain percentage of the award if you win the case. Keep in mind, however, this amount can vary depending on the length and complexity of your case.

Filing the claim

  • Establish liability — The first element of a wrongful death claim is negligence. This must be proven in order to show that the defendant acted in a negligent (or even reckless or purposeful) manner that resulted in the workplace fatality.
  • Determine causation — Secondly, causation needs to be proven. You and your attorney have to prove that the defendant caused the death of your deceased family member by acting in a willful or negligent manner.
  • Talk with witnesses — As soon as you know what you need to prove in order to win your suit, you will need to start gathering evidence in order to support your case. Alongside the wrongful death attorney, talk to coworkers, customers, and anyone else who might have witnessed the accident.

If you want to learn more about personal injury laws, or work with an experienced wrongful death attorney, give Hayhurst Law a call right away.