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What Is a Wrongful Death Attorney and How Can They Help?

Injury Lawyer Team > Legal Advice  > What Is a Wrongful Death Attorney and How Can They Help?

What Is a Wrongful Death Attorney and How Can They Help?

What Is a Wrongful Death Attorney and How Can They Help?

The loss of a loved one is an incredibly traumatic experience. When that loss is due to someone else’s negligence or intentional actions, the pain can become worse. In such situations, an experienced wrongful death lawyer can handle legal matters related to wrongful death cases, providing essential support and legal representation to help families seek justice and compensation. It is also crucial to hire a knowledgeable wrongful death lawyer who can provide accurate information and insights. 

This blog will explore what a wrongful death attorney is, their role, and how they can assist families during these challenging times.

Understanding Wrongful Death

Wrongful death refers to a situation where a person dies due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of another party. 

In the event of a loved one’s death, it is crucial to seek legal guidance and representation to navigate the complexities of wrongful death cases. Wrongful deaths can arise from various personal injuries sustained during circumstances like medical malpractice, car accidents, workplace accidents, defective products, and criminal activities.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the United States recorded around 227,039 unintentional injury deaths in the year 2022.

The primary objective of wrongful death claims is to provide financial compensation to the deceased person’s survivors, including the surviving spouse, children, and sometimes parents, for their losses. These losses can encompass a range of damages, such as medical expenses, funeral costs, loss of income, loss of companionship, and emotional suffering.

The Role of a Wrongful Death Attorney

A wrongful death lawyer is a specialized personal injury lawyer who focuses on representing the families and estates of individuals who have died due to another party’s negligence or wrongful actions. These attorneys play a critical role in navigating the complex legal landscape associated with wrongful death lawsuits.

Initial Consultation and Case Evaluation

The first step to take in any wrongful death case is an initial free consultation with an experienced wrongful death lawyer. During this meeting, the attorney will listen to the details of the case, gather essential information, and evaluate the potential for a wrongful death claim. They will also provide the family with an understanding of their legal rights and options.

Contact us today for a free consultation with our expert personal injury lawyers. We’ll fight for your rights and help you get the compensation you deserve.

Investigation and Evidence Gathering

Once the attorney takes on a wrongful death case, they will conduct a thorough investigation to gather evidence supporting the wrongful death claim. This process may involve:

  • Reviewing Medical Records: For instance, if a loved one’s death occurred due to a misdiagnosed medical condition, the wrongful death lawyer would scrutinize the medical records to establish negligence.
  • Accident Reconstruction: In cases like car accidents, the wrongful death lawyer may work with specialists to reconstruct the accident scene, helping to pinpoint the fault.
  • Interviewing Witnesses: Gathering testimonies from witnesses who can provide crucial information about the incident.
  • Consulting Experts: Engaging experts such as medical professionals, accident reconstructionists, or forensic analysts to provide expert opinions and strengthen the wrongful death claim.

Filing the Wrongful Death Claim

After gathering sufficient evidence, the attorney will file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased person’s estate and surviving family members. This lawsuit is typically filed in civil court and outlines the allegations against the responsible party, the damages sought, and the legal basis for the wrongful death claim.

Negotiation and Settlement

Many wrongful death claims are resolved through negotiations with the responsible party’s insurance company or legal representatives. A skilled wrongful death attorney will use their experience and negotiation skills to seek a fair settlement that adequately compensates the family members for their losses, including securing wrongful death compensation. 

For example, if a loved one dies in a workplace accident, the wrongful death lawyer might negotiate with the employer’s insurance company to recover compensation for lost wages and funeral expenses.

Litigation and Trial

If a fair wrongful death settlement cannot be reached through negotiations, the case may proceed to trial. During the trial, the wrongful death attorney will present the evidence, call witnesses, cross-examine the defense’s witnesses, and make compelling arguments to the judge or jury. The goal is to secure a favorable verdict that holds the responsible party accountable and provides just compensation to the family.

Types of Damages in Wrongful Death Claims

Wrongful death claims can result in various types of damages, which are categorized into economic and non-economic damages.

Economic Damages

  • Medical Expenses: Costs incurred for medical treatment prior to the deceased person’s death.
  • Funeral and Burial Expenses: Costs related to the deceased person’s funeral and burial services.
  • Lost Income: The income and financial support the deceased person would have provided to their family members.
  • Loss of Benefits: Loss of pension, insurance, and other benefits the deceased person would have received.

Non-Economic Damages

  • Pain and Suffering: Emotional distress and mental anguish experienced by the grieving family members.
  • Loss of Companionship: The loss of love, companionship, and consortium the deceased person would have provided.
  • Loss of Parental Guidance: For children, the loss of parental guidance, care, and nurturing.
grieving family members of the deceased
filing a wrongful death lawsuit

Common Types of Wrongful Death Claims

Several scenarios can lead to wrongful death claims, each requiring different approaches and expertise from a wrongful death attorney:

Wrongful death cases can also involve elements of a personal injury claim.

Medical Malpractice Cases

According to Johns Hopkins University, medical errors rank as the third leading cause of death in the United States, resulting in over 250,000 deaths each year. Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider fails to meet the standard of care, resulting in a patient’s death. 

For instance, if a doctor misdiagnoses a treatable condition like cancer, leading to the patient’s death, the family may have grounds for a wrongful death claim. An attorney would review medical records, consult medical experts, and build a case showing that the misdiagnosis was due to medical negligence.

Car Accidents

Car accidents are a common cause of wrongful death lawsuits. If a driver’s negligent actions, such as driving under the influence or texting while driving, cause a fatal accident, the surviving family members can file a wrongful death claim. For example, if a drunk driver causes a crash that kills another driver, the deceased person’s family members can seek compensation for their loss. 

Other motor vehicle accidents like truck accident, bus accident, or motorcycle crash can also cause a wrongful death lawsuit. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in the U.S., there were 42,514 fatalities in motor vehicle crashes in 2022, many of which led to wrongful death claims.

Workplace Accidents

Unsafe working conditions that lead to a fatal accident can be grounds for a wrongful death claim. For instance, if a construction worker dies due to inadequate safety measures on a site, the family can file a wrongful death claim against the employer or contractor. The wrongful death lawyer would investigate the site conditions, review safety protocols, and consult with occupational safety experts.

In 2022, there were 5,486 workplace fatalities in the U.S., with many resulting in wrongful death lawsuits, as per U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Defective Products

Manufacturers can be held liable if a defective product causes a fatal injury. For example, if a faulty airbag fails to deploy during a car accident, resulting in the driver’s death, the family can file a personal injury claim or a wrongful death claim against the manufacturer. The attorney would gather evidence showing the defect and how it directly led to the death.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that defective products cause approximately 29.4 million injuries and 21,400 deaths each year (CPSC).

Criminal Activities

Families can pursue wrongful death claims even if the responsible party faces criminal charges. For instance, if a loved one is murdered, the family can file a wrongful death suit against the perpetrator. While criminal proceedings focus on punishment, the wrongful death suit seeks financial compensation for the survivors.

Nursing Home Abuse

If we believe the National Center on Elder Abuse, an estimated 5,000 deaths annually in the U.S. are linked to elder abuse in nursing homes. Elder abuse and neglect in nursing homes can lead to life-threatening injuries or even death. 

If a resident dies due to neglect or abuse, the surviving family members can file a wrongful death claim against the facility. An attorney would investigate the care provided, review medical records, and consult experts to establish negligence or abuse.

Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrian accidents, often caused by distracted or reckless drivers, can result in fatalities. Families of pedestrians killed in such accidents can pursue wrongful death claims. For example, if a driver runs a red light and hits a pedestrian, the family can seek compensation for their loss.

Premises Liability

Property owners can be held liable if hazardous conditions on their property cause a fatal accident. For example, if a person dies due to a fall in a poorly maintained building, the surviving family member can file a wrongful death claim against the property owner. The attorney would investigate the property conditions and gather evidence to support the claim.

Choosing the Right Wrongful Death Attorney

Selecting the right wrongful death lawyer is a critical decision that can significantly impact the outcome of a wrongful death claim. Here are some key factors to keep in mind when hiring the right wrongful death lawyer:

Experience and Expertise

Look for an attorney with extensive experience handling wrongful death cases. Personal injury lawyers should have a track record of successful settlements and verdicts in wrongful death cases similar to yours. For instance, if your case involves medical malpractice, ensure the wrongful death lawyer has specific experience with similar claims.

Reputation and Reviews

Check client reviews and testimonials online to evaluate the attorney’s reputation. Positive feedback can reveal insights into their professionalism, communication, and dedication. Websites like Best Lawyers, Find Law, and Nolo offer ratings and reviews that can assist in your decision-making.

Resources and Network

A well-established wrongful death attorney should have access to a network of experts, investigators, and resources to build a strong case. This can include medical experts, accident reconstructionists, and forensic specialists. These resources are crucial for gathering and presenting evidence effectively.

Compassion and Communication

Dealing with a wrongful death case can be emotionally taxing. Choose an attorney who demonstrates compassion and empathy toward your situation. They should also maintain open and clear communication, keeping you informed about the progress of your case.

Fee Structure

Understand the attorney’s fee structure before hiring them. Many wrongful death attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning their clients pay the legal fees only after they resolve the case. Ensure you are comfortable with the agreed-upon percentage and any additional costs that may arise. Most personal injury lawyers offer a free consultation to discuss the case.

Importance of Hiring a Wrongful Death Attorney to Resolve Your Case

When you’re grieving the loss of a loved one, it becomes difficult to navigate the legal complexities of a wrongful death claim. When a wrongful death occurs, it is crucial to seek legal representation. An experienced wrongful death attorney provides not only legal representation but also emotional support. They deal with the legal documents, processes, and opposition teams, allowing the family members to focus on healing.

Proving Negligence

A wrongful death attorney must demonstrate that the at-fault party’s negligence or reckless actions caused the death. For example, in a case involving a drunk driver, the wrongful death lawyer would gather evidence showing the driver’s blood alcohol level, witness testimonies, and traffic camera footage to establish negligence.

Seeking Justice

Wrongful death attorneys are dedicated to seeking justice for their clients. They work tirelessly to ensure that the responsible parties are held accountable for their actions. This pursuit of justice can provide a sense of closure and peace for grieving families.

Financial Compensation

Securing financial compensation is a primary goal in wrongful death lawsuits. This compensation can cover medical bills, funeral expenses, lost income, and other financial hardships caused by the death. It can also provide for the future needs of surviving family members, such as children’s education and living expenses.


A wrongful death attorney plays a vital role in helping families navigate the legal complexities of wrongful death claims and seek justice for their loved ones. By providing expert legal representation, conducting thorough investigations, and advocating for fair compensation, these wrongful death lawyers offer essential support during one of the most challenging times in a family’s life.

If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of needing a wrongful death attorney, take the time to research and select an experienced and compassionate professional who can guide you through the legal process and help you achieve the justice and closure you deserve.

If you’ve lost a loved one due to another party’s wrongful act, the Injury Lawyer Team is here to help you. Call (888) 424-5757 for a free consultation with our experienced wrongful death lawyers and recover financial compensation for your loved one’s death.


How much is the average wrongful death settlement in the United States?

The average wrongful death settlement in the U.S. ranges between $500,000 and $1 million, depending on the specifics of the case.

How does the attorney prove fault in a wrongful death lawsuit?

The elements of a wrongful death lawsuit include proving the defendant’s duty of care, a breach of that duty, causation of death, and damages suffered by the survivors.

What differentiates wrongful death from negligence?

Wrongful death is when another person’s actions cause a person’s death, while negligence refers to a failure to exercise reasonable care, which may or may not result in death.

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