Salt Lake City Wrongful Death Attorney
The Caring Support Your Family Needs
When you unexpectedly lose a loved one in an accident, your life changes. You may find yourself without the financial support of a breadwinner or the emotional consent of a partner, parent, or child. While you will never forget your loved one, you must also think of yourself as you find a way to move forward.
Our attorneys at Cutt, Kendell & Olson can help you file a wrongful death claim if you recently lost a loved one to an accident caused by someone else. A successful claim can provide a safety net for you and any dependents. Having financial security is a massive boon in such a difficult time.
If you are considering whether a wrongful death claim is the right next step for you, come speak with our attorneys to learn more. Our personal injury lawyers provide compassionate support and honest guidance to help people like you make informed decisions in challenging situations.
Our caring team wants to know how we can help you. Call our Salt Lake City office at (801) 901-3470 to schedule your free consultation.
Bringing a Wrongful Death Claim
If you lost a loved one in an accident or mishap caused by another party, you might be eligible to file a wrongful death claim. Third-party liability is an essential factor in these personal injury cases. An excellent way to determine whether you can start a wrongful death claim is to ask whether your loved one could have filed a personal injury suit had they survived and who they could have filed it against.
A wrongful death may occur as a result of a:
- Trucking accident
- Car accident
- Dangerous product
- Medical malpractice
- Construction accident
- Other fatal accident
If you are not sure who is liable for your loved one’s death, our personal injury lawyers can launch an investigation of their accident.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
In Utah, a wrongful death claim may be brought by the heirs of the deceased or the representative of that person’s estate. Often, these categories overlap; but sometimes, the named representative is not a blood relative. Additionally, family members who are not technically linked by blood (such as adoptive parents or stepchildren) also have the right to bring a wrongful death claim.
How Soon Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim?
The Utah statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is 2 years from the date of death. Therefore, if you believe the government was liable for your loved one’s death; (i.e., they were killed in a TRAX accident), you will only have 1 year to file your claim.
Especially when bringing a wrongful death case against a government entity, it’s essential to speak with an experienced Utah personal injury lawyer to learn about the unique procedural requirements of these cases.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim
In Utah, a successful wrongful death suit can compensate you for any economic or non-economic losses related to the death. These are called compensatory damages and may include:
- Premortem medical bills
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost wages
- Future wages
- Any potential benefits or inheritance the deceased would have left behind
- Pain and suffering endured by surviving family members
- Loss of care, companionship, and guidance
- And more
If the defendant’s behavior was particularly egregious, intentional, or reckless, you might be able to request punitive damages as well. For example, suppose someone fatally injures your loved one while driving under the influence. In that case, the court may award additional compensation to punish the drunk driver and discourage instances of drinking and driving in the future. Unlike a criminal fine, punitive damages go directly to the plaintiff to provide them with a personal sense of justice, financial comfort, and peace of mind.
When a Survival Action Is Appropriate
Though often filed with wrongful death claims, survival actions are separate legal actions. While a wrongful death claim addresses the losses of the survivors of the deceased, a survival action requests compensation for the failures of the dead. Therefore, they are only appropriate in wrongful death cases where the deceased did not immediately die following the other party’s negligence.
Any compensation recovered through a survival action will be awarded directly to the estate of the deceased. You may be able to request:
- lost wages,
- medical bills,
- pain and suffering,
- and any other losses the deceased suffered before death.
As with a wrongful death claim, you must prove third-party liability to prevail in a survival action. However, any evidence showing harm will apply to both types of claims.
How Wrongful Death Cases and Criminal Charges Affect Each Other
When someone’s behavior causes injury to or the death of another party, that person may be held responsible in both criminal and civil courts. However, even if the at-fault individual is facing criminal charges, you must take individual action to receive compensation for your losses.
When the at-fault party is convicted of a crime, the outcome of their criminal suit can serve as evidence in your civil case. However, even if that person is found not guilty, you may be able to win a wrongful death claim against them.
This is because civil cases have a lower burden of proof than criminal cases. For example, when someone is charged with murder or negligent homicide, the prosecution has to prove the defendant’s guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” However, when someone faces liability for wrongful death, the plaintiff must only show that the defendant is liable by a “preponderance of the evidence.” This means if there is a 51% chance that the plaintiff’s claim is valid, they can recover damages from the defendant.
Our Salt Lake City law firm does not handle criminal cases, but we know how these claims can be used to support a wrongful death lawsuit. For more clarification on the matter, please feel free to contact our law office.
Caring Representatives, Tough Litigators
Cutt, Kendell & Olson has successfully represented countless families and heirs of fatal accident victims. With a hand-picked group chosen from some of the nation’s leading medical experts, engineers, accident specialists, and other professionals, our wrongful death lawyers work to build the most robust case possible. We have the resources and ability to get results in these personal injury cases. We will work to obtain total compensation and justice for you. We are prepared to do so if this means taking your case to trial. Our team of proven litigators knows how to present compelling arguments in front of a court.
At the same time, we understand you are grieving and going through a tough adjustment in your life. Therefore, we strive to make the legal process as effortless as possible for you. Whether that means being available to answer your questions or handling endless phone calls with an insurance adjuster, our staff can provide the general support you need.
Reach out to our Salt Lake City office for a free consultation by calling (801) 901-3470. Our caring wrongful death lawyers are here to help you understand your legal rights and options.