Wrongful death lawsuits can be quite challenging. You’re trying to hold an individual or entity responsible for what happened, and they are probably going to fight you in court. At the same time, you are likely grieving.
At this moment, you’re going to want someone fighting on your behalf who is the best choice for the job. Finding the right wrongful death attorney is not always easy, but you need to do it if you’re going to win your lawsuit and get the compensation you deserve.
Here are a few wrongful death lawyer qualities you’ll want to see.
It will not do you a lot of good if you hire a wrongful death lawyer, and they don’t know all the law’s ins and outs. For instance, if you get money from the lawsuit, and the deceased individual left no will, the spouse will get one-third of the damage award, and the kids will get the other two-thirds. There are all kinds of rules like that, and your attorney should know all about them.
If your attorney doesn’t know these sorts of things:
- They can easily lose the lawsuit for you
- They will not prepare you for the various eventualities
You want to go into the lawsuit with all the knowledge you can get. That will only happen if you get a lawyer who has studied all the law’s facets and knows them through and through.
Some lawyers know the law, but they have never got up in front of a judge and jury and argued a case. That is not the person who you want representing you.
With lawyers, experience matters. You won’t get very far if:
- You have a lawyer who does not specialize in this lawsuit variety
- Your attorney has never made a prior courtroom appearance
It’s not impossible that the individual or entity you are suing might want to settle out of court before the trial ever starts. However, you shouldn’t count on that.
That is because there is probably a lot of money at stake, not to mention their reputation. They will want to dispute the charges, and that means you need a lawyer who can argue adroitly for you. If you have a new lawyer who has never done something like this before, you should choose someone else.
They Should Have Graduated from an Accredited Law School
You also probably don’t want a wrongful death attorney who graduated from some hole-in-the-wall law program. It’s true that sometimes you have excellent lawyers who got their degree from a lesser-known school, but it doesn’t happen that often.
Brand recognition does count for something, and you will probably like your chances more if you see that your lawyer is a Stanford or Yale graduate. If that’s your option versus someone who doesn’t even want to mention their credentials to you, you should go with the better-known program graduate.
You Need to Be Okay with Their Pay Structure
You also need to get yourself a lawyer you can pay according to a structure that works for you. For many people, that will mean a contingency payment setup.
Some wrongful death lawyers might charge you an hourly or a flat fee. If you have the money, and you’re okay with doing it that way, that’s fine.
However, if you lose, you still need to pay your lawyer, and you might not get anything back from the whole endeavor. This can bankrupt you if you’re not careful. It’s better for the lawyer to have the pressure on them if they want payment.
They Should Have Experience with Your Particular Lawsuit Type
If you can, you should get a lawyer who has not just handled wrongful death suits before, but one who has tackled some of the specific ones that are like yours. Truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, or car accidents can cause wrongful death. Premises liability accidents can cause it, medical malpractice, or workplace incidents.
You should ask the lawyer who you are considering hiring whether they have handled the specific case type you are bringing. If they have, ask them what the outcome was. If they lost this type of suit before, you might want to choose another attorney.
To some degree, choosing a lawyer is a gut reaction. When you have found the individual or firm that feels right, go with them. They might be the individual or entity that can get you and your family a satisfactory result.