Losing a loved one in an accident is an unthinkable tragedy, and the suffering experienced by surviving family members is devastating. When the accident could have been prevented if someone else had been more careful, alert, or responsible, that pain and grief are often rightfully accompanied by anger and a demand for answers.
Although no family should have to suffer a preventable loss like this, an experienced wrongful death lawyer in Cheyenne could help you demand the answers and justice that you are looking for. At the Olson Law Firm, respected attorney Sean Olson and his compassionate legal team will fight to protect you and your loved ones from the financial fallout that often comes with the unexpected loss of a family member.
Because time is limited to take legal action after a wrongful death, it is important to turn to a lawyer who has the experience necessary to help you in your time of need. At the Olson Law Firm, our skilled Cheyenne wrongful death lawyer has the trial skills, the track record, and the unwavering commitment to customer service that your family needs during this difficult time.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Wyoming?
In Wyoming, every wrongful death action must be brought by a representative on behalf of the person’s beneficiaries. Individuals who can seek damages for their specific losses include:
- Any other dependents
The deceased person’s representative can also seek damages on behalf of the person’s estate. If you want to learn more about your right to pursue a wrongful death claim on behalf of a loved one, please contact our Cheyenne law firm now.
What Do You Have to Prove in a Wrongful Death Case?
A wrongful death case will involve the same basic elements central to any negligence claim:
- First, you are going to have to prove that the negligent party had a duty of care to your loved one, usually an expectation that the person was going to conduct themselves safely and lawfully. Examples include a driver’s duty to operate a motor vehicle safely or a property owner’s duty to keep their premises safe for visitors.
- You will then have to prove that the negligent party somehow breached that duty of care. For example, the driver was distracted or the property owner refused to fix a dangerous staircase.
- Finally, you will need to prove that this breach of care resulted in your loved one’s death, and your loved one’s death resulted in damages.
Even if the person responsible for your loved one’s death is facing criminal charges, such as in a DUI, your family may still be able to pursue justice and financial compensation through a civil wrongful death claim. To learn more about your legal rights, please contact our Cheyenne wrongful death attorney today for a free consultation.
Compensation in a Wrongful Death Claim
Surviving family members could be eligible to recover damages for the losses they have suffered after a wrongful death, including:
- Loss of companionship and society
- Loss of care and comfort
- Pain and suffering associated with the person’s final days and eventual passing
Damages that could be recovered on behalf of the estate include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Payment of the person’s final medical bills
- Cost of damaged property, such as a vehicle damaged in a fatal car accident
- Lost wages that the person would likely have earned if he or she had survived
- Suffering that the person may have experienced before passing
Our respected Cheyenne wrongful death attorney will negotiate with the insurance representatives for the at-fault party with the goal of obtaining a settlement agreement that fully compensates the family members for their loss. When a fair settlement is not offered and negotiations prove to be fruitless, then Sean Olson and his team can help you file a wrongful death lawsuit to demand justice.
If your case goes to trial, Sean will tell your family’s story to the jury and make a persuasive argument for maximum compensation to be awarded.
How Fault Factors into Wyoming Wrongful Death Cases
It is crucial to be aware that Wyoming adheres to a modified comparative fault rule to resolve wrongful death cases. This means that if a person was more than 50 percent at fault for the accident that caused their death, the estate cannot recover damages through a wrongful death claim. If the person was 50 percent or less at fault for the fatal accident, the estate could recover damages, but those damages would be reduced by the percentage of fault the victim is assigned.
For example, if a victim dies in a car crash but the deceased is determined to be 25 percent at fault for the crash, then the total compensation awarded would be reduced by 25 percent. So if the total damages are calculated at $100,000, under Wyoming’s comparative fault rule, the estate could recover $75,000 in damages.
Because victims of fatal accidents can no longer give their side of the story, insurance companies will try to capitalize on this comparative fault rule. They will try to push blame onto the victim in order to reduce or deny the family’s claim. This is one of the reasons why having a knowledgeable lawyer on your team is critical to the success of your claim.
Wyoming Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death
Wrongful death actions can be pursued if someone’s wrongful act, default, or neglect leads to the death of another. One of the most important differences between a wrongful death action and traditional personal injury lawsuits in Wyoming is that the statute of limitations is far shorter on wrongful death claims.
Wyoming law indicates that a wrongful death action must be commenced within two years of the date of a person’s death, which is only half as long as people have to file a personal injury lawsuit. Some accident victims pass away several days, weeks, or months after the accident that led to their fatal injuries, so the date of death could be different from the date of the accident.
Another possible complicating factor in wrongful death cases can involve individuals who file personal injury actions against negligent parties but die while those cases are pending. A survivorship action or survival action is what a family will file when a person dies from injuries after filing a personal injury claim.
Although two years may seem like a long time, it is a relatively short timetable to take legal action. Your lawyer will need as much time as possible to investigate the accident and secure the necessary evidence to build a strong case. Your attorney will need time to negotiate with the insurance companies, and if a lawsuit must be filed, your legal team will need to prepare the case for trial.
Grief can often make it difficult to think of anything beyond the loss you’ve suffered, and that is entirely understandable. However, it is vital to consider you and your family’s right to compensation and financial security, so consider speaking with a lawyer as soon as possible. Our compassionate wrongful death attorney in Cheyenne will take the burden of legal action off your shoulders and will let you and your family focus on supporting one another during this difficult time.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
No one should have to endure the loss of a loved one, particularly in the case of sudden and unexpected accidents or intentional acts. Some of the most common causes of wrongful death actions arise from:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Dangerous drugs or medical devices
- Defective products
- Dog bites
- Medical malpractice (including birth injuries and misdiagnosis)
- Nursing home abuse
- Accidents on dangerous property, such as slip and falls
- Criminal activity
Our compassionate wrongful death lawyer will fight for the answers and justice that your family is owed in the aftermath of your tragic loss. We are committed to providing an unwavering customer experience and outstanding support during this difficult time.
How Our Cheyenne Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help Your Family
Was your loved one killed in an accident caused by another party’s negligence in Cheyenne or a surrounding area of Wyoming? Attorney Sean Olson and the team at the Olson Law Firm are ready to listen to your story, support you and your family through this difficult time, and seek the justice your loved one deserves.
We know that no amount of money can bring someone back, nor can it ever replace what they meant to you and your life. We do believe that you shouldn’t have to suffer financially in addition to the deep emotional pain that you’re feeling, which is why we’ll seek full and fair compensation for you when you need it most.
Our firm handles wrongful death cases on a contingency fee basis, so you will only pay when you receive a financial award. Call (307) 317-4529 or contact us online to set up a free consultation with us today.