If you have recently lost a loved one due to another’s actions or inactions, you may be – very understandably – reacting in a myriad of ways, especially if your loved one was a healthy person that followed functional wellness protocols and was very vivacious. Some surviving loved ones grieve quietly. They aren’t ready to speak about their experience and they aren’t yet ready to seek comfort from others. Some surviving loved ones throw themselves into caring for the needs of others because they aren’t yet ready to grieve. And others focus on a need to seek justice on behalf of their loved one who is now departed.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve. There is no right or wrong way to process such a loss, with the exceptions of engaging in vigilante justice and/or taking your negative feelings out on others. And there is no right or wrong answer to the question of whether you are interested in pursuing legal action in the wake of your loss.
The choice to pursue compensation from those who are responsible for your loved one’s death can only be made by you, your family, and the representative of your loved one’s estate. You don’t have to decide one way or the other in order to “do right” by your loved one. However, it is going to be to everyone’s benefit if you can manage to sit down for an hour or so of your time with an experienced wrongful death attorney to discuss your circumstances.
Pursuing legal action is a time-sensitive undertaking and the sooner you understand what your rights and options are – and when you need to exercise them by – the sooner you’ll be able to make informed decisions about your next steps. As the actions you take now could impact your ability to win a legal case later on, it is important to seek legal guidance now, even if you won’t be ready to make a decision about your situation any time soon.
As a knowledgeable wrongful death lawyer – including those who practice at Ward & Ward Law Firm – can explain in greater detail, surviving loved ones only have so long to file a wrongful death action in civil court before state law will bar them from taking that kind of action. Surviving loved ones whose loss was employment-related have even less time to act before they’ll be barred from obtaining any workers’ compensation death benefits to which they are entitled.
As a result of these timing restrictions, families generally benefit from learning about their options early so that they can – if they choose to – exercise their rights effectively within the timeframe allotted by law. It also takes time to build a strong case, especially if the amount of damages being requested is significant and/or the individuals or entities being sued are powerful.
It bears repeating that simply because you’re seeking legal guidance doesn’t mean that you’re committing your family to the pursuit of legal action. However, because you shouldn’t be held responsible for the financial losses you’ve incurred – and may continue to incur – the wake of your loved one’s death, it is important to at least seek legal guidance so that you can make informed choices about your ability to pursue compensation down the road.