Nothing is more devastating than the death of a loved one. When an untimely death is the result of the negligence of another person or entity, the surviving family members have the right to work with a Texas wrongful death attorney to file a lawsuit and hold the responsible party accountable.
But how can you make sure that the wrongful death lawyer you hire is up to the task of going to battle and getting justice for your loved one? In this post we provide 12 critical questions for you to discuss with prospective attorneys.
Choosing the right wrongful death lawyer can be challenging, especially when faced with the weight of your loss. Wrongful death claims pose many complexities and, consequently, require an attorney who has the qualifications and resources to effectively make your case.
You have the right to pursue damages for your loss. Often, these types of damage claims are substantial. Depending on the nature of your case, you may have the right to compensation for medical bills, funeral expenses, future lost income, and more.
To recover the maximum possible compensation, your Texas wrongful death attorney must make a strong case for negligence or intentional harm.
12 Topics to Discuss with Your Texas Wrongful Death Lawyer
To identify the best Texas wrongful death attorney to assist you with your case, consider asking these questions during your initial wrongful death consultation.
TEXAS WRONGFUL DEATH LAWYER DISCUSSION TOPICS
1. What Experience Do You Have with Wrongful Death Cases?
The complex nature of any personal injury case requires an experienced, knowledgeable attorney to assist you. In Texas, wrongful death claims are especially complex, so you want to ensure you select the right wrongful death lawyer for the job.
Never be afraid to ask any lawyer what direct experience he or she has with handling wrongful death claims. You can take the discussion even further by inquiring about the firm’s experience with your specific type of claim.
Some of the most common types of wrongful death claims include the following:
- Car accident cases,
- Dram shop cases,
- Drunk driving cases,
- Truck accident cases,
- Motorcycle accident cases,
- On-the-job accidents,
- Premises liability, and
- Weapons and firearms cases.
When you ask about an attorney’s experience with wrongful death claims, be sure to ask not only how many cases they have handled but what their success rate is. How large have their cases (and awards) been?
Having an experienced wrongful death attorney on your side can help ensure you get justice for the victim and hold the responsible party accountable.Return to top ↑
WRONGFUL DEATH LAWYER DISCUSSION TOPICS
2. Will You Conduct an Investigation? What Resources Do You Have for This?
The first thing your attorney should do in a wrongful death case is to investigate the circumstances of the fatal accident or incident. The outcome of the investigation will provide the necessary evidence to prove negligence and establish liability for the resulting damages.
The Texas wrongful death lawyer you select must have the necessary resources to conduct a thorough investigation. They must also carefully collect and preserve evidence and documentation. They may require the services of investigators, subject-matter experts, and others to make the strongest possible case.
Knowing that the attorney you select has every resource necessary – and is prepared to put those resources to work for you – can help you make the right choice.Return to top ↑
TEXAS WRONGFUL DEATH ATTORNEY DISCUSSION TOPICS
3. What Will You Expect from Me Throughout the Process?
The stress of losing a loved one makes this an especially challenging time for you. If you depended on the victim’s income or assistance, you might face financial as well as emotional stress and devastation. During this time, you must focus on the important tasks before you – not on fighting a legal battle.
Ask any Texas wrongful death lawyers you interview what they will need from you. The attorney you choose should stand prepared to handle every aspect of your case. Your law firm should also provide proactive communication and keep you updated on the progress and status of your case. The last thing you need is to chase your own legal team for answers and updates.Return to top ↑
QUESTIONS TO ASK A TEXAS WRONGFUL DEATH LAWYER
4. Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?
This question is particularly important. Under Texas law, the victim’s spouse, parents, and children can pursue a wrongful death claim. Each party can file individually, or the parties may pursue the claim jointly.
Texas law also permits the executor of the victim’s estate to bring a claim if no family member pursues a claim.
In some cases, however, other family members may have the right to pursue damages. If you are not the spouse, parent, or child of the deceased, explain your relationship to the lawyer and ask what options you may have to pursue legal action.Return to top ↑
QUESTIONS TO ASK A TEXAS WRONGFUL DEATH ATTORNEY
5. Are You Prepared to Take My Case to Trial If Necessary?
In Texas, some wrongful death lawyers try to avoid going to court whenever possible. Unfortunately, not every case can be resolved through settlement negotiations. If your claim does proceed to trial, you need an attorney who is up to the task.
Ask any potential lawyer’s opinion about taking your case to court. If they express hesitation, explore the reasons why. You need a legal firm that will do whatever is necessary to obtain justice and recover the maximum possible compensation.Return to top ↑
TEXAS WRONGFUL DEATH ATTORNEY INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
6. What Specific Types of Damages Will You Pursue?
Depending on the details of your case, you have the right to pursue physical, emotional, and financial damages in a wrongful death case. This may include some or all of the following:
- Medical treatment and care related to the fatal incident,
- Funeral and burial costs,
- Property damage and out-of-pocket costs,
- Emotional trauma,
- Pain and suffering,
- Future lost income and benefits,
- Loss of future inheritance,
- Loss of consortium and companionship, and
- Loss of guidance.
Ask potential wrongful death attorneys what types of damages your case may involve and what the potential value of your claim may be.Return to top ↑
TEXAS WRONGFUL DEATH ATTORNEY DISCUSSION TOPICS
7. In Addition to Monetary Damages, How Else Can We Hold the Defendant Accountable?
For many wrongful death victims’ families, recovering monetary compensation is not enough to truly obtain justice. Ask potential attorneys whether you may have other options for holding the responsible party accountable. This could potentially involve criminal charges brought by local, state, or even federal law enforcement agencies.Return to top ↑
TEXAS WRONGFUL DEATH LAWYERS DISCUSSION TOPICS
8. What Are Your Fees to Represent My Wrongful Death Claim?
Most wrongful death attorneys will provide a no-cost, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case. After the initial consultation, you will have the answers you need to make an informed decision. Should you elect to move forward with a specific legal firm, you need to know how much they charge to handle your case.
Although some firms require a retainer to take on a wrongful death claim, most do not. Ask whether the firm will accept your case on contingency. This means that you do not have to pay legal fees until and unless they recover damages on your behalf.
If you move forward on a contingency basis, ask what percentage of your settlement the firm will take. Ask whether the fee is the same whether you settle your case or go to trial. Finally, ask for details about how the firm handles court costs and other fees that are typically involved in a personal injury case.Return to top ↑
QUESTIONS TO ASK A TEXAS WRONGFUL DEATH LAW FIRM
9. How Long Will the Process Take from Start to Finish?
Understanding the process and timeline of a wrongful death claim is imperative. This is especially true if you are struggling to make ends meet financially after losing your loved one. Unfortunately, your attorney cannot say for certain how long your claim will take to resolve.
The duration of any personal injury claim depends on multiple factors, including:
- The nature and complexity of the case,
- The type of information needed to make your case, and
- The other parties involved in the case.
Although most cases end with an agreeable settlement offer rather than going to trial, your case may be different. Ask any potential legal representative, based on the general nature of your case, how long they estimate it may take to resolve.Return to top ↑
QUESTIONS TO DISCUSS WITH A TEXAS WRONGFUL DEATH ATTORNEY
10. Who, Specifically, Will Handle My Case?
In many law firms, attorneys delegate tasks to others. Ask potential wrongful death lawyers specifically which aspects of your case they will delegate and to whom. Paralegals, legal assistants, and others can legally and capably handle some tasks. However, because wrongful death claims are so sensitive and complex, you need to ensure your case will get the specialized attention it deserves.
The attorney who conducts your initial consultation may or may not be the lawyer who handles your case. Ask which attorney from the firm will be the one in charge of your case and request direct contact information for that lawyer. You should also request the name and contact information of his or her legal assistant or paralegal, for those times when you cannot reach the attorney directly.
At Grossman Law, we handle numerous wrongful death cases every year, and we put our best people on the job. If you hire us to handle your Texas wrongful death claim, you will have a team of real trial attorneys fighting for justice for your loved one.Return to top ↑
QUESTIONS TO DISCUSS WITH A TEXAS WRONGFUL DEATH LAWYER
11. Will Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Help Prevent Future Acts of Negligence?
By pursuing a wrongful death claim, you could prevent someone else from suffering the same fate as your loved one. Although you are focused on your own loss, you can take comfort in holding the responsible party accountable for their negligence. A large award, whether through a settlement or a jury verdict, will cause others to think twice before putting innocent people at risk of death.Return to top ↑
TEXAS WRONGFUL DEATH LAWYER DISCUSSION TOPICS
12. How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Suit in Texas?
As with all personal injury claims, time is of the essence when pursuing a wrongful death claim. The Texas wrongful death statute of limitations requires you to file a lawsuit within a brief window of time (within two years of death in most cases). If your attorney fails to file legal action (should your claim progress that far), you will lose your ability to recover damages.Return to top ↑
Discuss Your Case with Texas Wrongful Death Attorney Michael Grossman
You do not have to fight this battle alone. Finding the right wrongful death lawyer to assist you will protect your legal rights and help you recover the compensation you deserve for your loss. At Grossman Law Offices, we are here for you. If you lost a loved one, contact us today to discuss your case with a Texas wrongful death attorney.