When it comes time to do real-life work with a wrongful death attorney or personal injury lawyer, many people find themselves underprepared for the experience and what it means, thanks to stereotypes and media portrayals.
So get ready: As someone seeking the help of a wrongful death lawyer, you're about to undergo a multifaceted and not-at-all-like-the-movies experience – an experience that justice depends on.
But try not to feel intimidated because JD Haas & Associates, PLLC is here to help. Our team of personal injury lawyers knows how to simplify the legal process and offers compassionate, straightforward answers to all your sensitive questions.
Let us set the record straight about common misconceptions we hear as wrongful death lawyers licensed to practice in 12 states.
Wrongful Death Lawyers Spend All Their Time in Court
It's a common scene in crime dramas: The lawyer fiercely battles against the opposition with their sharp wits and strong mind as their only weapon. But while real-life wrongful death lawyers can and will sometimes take cases to court, much preparation goes on behind the scenes first, which takes up a lot more time than television would make you believe.
Wrongful death lawyers must do everything from consulting with their clients and collecting evidence via phone calls to speaking with experts and learning all they can to help their case. Most of the work happens behind the scenes, which is why you need a competent and passionate wrongful death attorney to help you win your case.
Wrongful Death Cases Are Always Settled in Court
The media tends to focus on courtroom drama when it comes to legal matters; Dramatizations make for good television. But when you work with a wrongful death attorney, there's no hard-and-fast rule that you must make a legal battle out of your case.
While a court is a viable option for various wrongful death cases, and our legal team is willing to pursue it if you are when your case is viable, we can also work toward a monetary settlement by negotiating with the liable party's insurance company.
In other words: We may be able to get you compensation without going so far as court.
When you speak with a wrongful death lawyer about what you and your loved ones have been through, you generally have options regarding how to proceed. Don't let any legal professional try to force you one way or the other.
Wrongful Death Lawyers Are Cold & Calculating
It's a typical media stereotype: Lawyers are both frigid and uncaring, unable to relate to the human element of their jobs. While we can't speak for every injury lawyer out there, we at JD Haas & Associates, PLLC can certainly speak for ourselves, and we say this perpetuated idea is nonsense.
As wrongful death lawyers, warmth and compassion are at the forefront of what we do, day in and day out. Our passion is helping others through times of great strife with our legal skills, and we're fueled by the drive to make right what is wrong.
Wrongful death law is a deeply humanistic field. Great lawyers understand that compassion is irrevocably tied to what they do. Our team takes care to phrase sensitive questions delicately and spares no effort to make you feel welcome in our office.
As a small law entity, we can also spend more time with each of our clients and give them the personalized attention and listening ear they deserve.
Wrongful Death Cases Are for Greedy People
Understandably, you don't want to turn your loved one's death into something you can profit from. Maybe you also don't want to punish the opposing party for moral or ethical reasons. But don't let this stop you from pursuing a wrongful death case.
The damages recovered from a wrongful death case are intended to cover damages caused by the wrongful death. Plus, only some wrongful death cases incur damages intended to punish the opponent.
Where the money comes from in a wrongful death case varies depending on state law. In Minnesota, it covers medical and funeral expenses, loss of income and potential income, pain and suffering, and loss of companionship. All of these things can cause significant strain on a family, and it's not greedy to want unwarranted strain to end.
If punishing your "opponent" is of concern, know that Minnesota Law only allows punitive damages for cases that fit a certain set of criteria. Furthermore, these damages are meant as a discouraging factor for the other party against future similar behavior – not as profit from the case.
You Don’t Need a Wrongful Death Lawyer; Just Use Insurance
Wrongful death cases are covered under certain types of insurance. While you can go through the claims process on your own, we don't recommend it.
For one, policies are incredibly complex, often making up packets upon packets of information. In other words: They're incredibly easy to misinterpret for the average person.
Insurance companies also have it in their best interests to pay out small settlements, which might mean you lose out on rightful compensation.
When dealing with your wrongful death case, it always pays to have a wrongful death attorney or personal injury lawyer. They'll help interpret your policy and get you the settlement you have previously paid for.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim Is Inherently Materialistic
You may especially feel this way if you've received compensation from a life insurance policy – as if you're profiting off of a horrible event. However, there are plenty of other reasons a person might seek compensation after a wrongful death, even though financial compensation may still come out of it.
For instance, they may seek closure or desire to discourage the opposing party from behaving negligently.
Insurance Companies Will Always Pay Enough
Under the law, if the death was wrongful, you could have the right to be compensated for the loss of companionship and emotional pain and suffering.
But life insurance policies are for more practical matters, such as getting oneself back on one's feet financially after a significant portion of income was lost.
If the Death Involved an Accident, It Wasn't Wrongful Death
It's an easy line of logic to follow: If someone didn't mean to harm another person, you might reason, then their actions cannot be qualified as wrong in the eyes of the law. The reality is that there's a fair bit more of a grey area there than many people think.
It isn't necessarily intent that dictates whether a wrongful death case is viable or not; It's whether there was negligence or wrongdoing by the other party involved.
A car accident lawyer, for example, might deal with wrongful death cases, even though very few people intentionally crash their vehicles.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits Can Be Filed Any Time
Another unfortunate misconception is that there are no time restrictions regarding a wrongful death lawsuit. While each state varies, there is a statute of limitations for these types of cases, and in some situations, it may be as short as one year.
This is why it's critical to seek out a wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible to ensure the case is filed appropriately.
You Can’t File If the Deceased Had a Pre-Existing Condition
Even if the deceased had a pre-existing condition, there is still a possibility of filing a suit, especially if the situation was aggravated or made worse by negligence or actions of the defendant.
Each experience will have multiple variables to consider, and only an experienced wrongful death attorney can give you a professional assessment to help you decide the best action to take.
Contact JD Haas & Associates for Compassionate Legal Help
We'd be privileged to hear your story and determine how we can help. Whether you're looking to explore your options or have a path forward already in mind, our team of wrongful death lawyers is here to guide and support you through this no-doubt difficult time. Contact us online or give our office a call today at (952) 234-2925.