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Utah Wrongful Death Lawyer

Losing a loved one is never easy. But when the person’s death results from someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, the tragedy can be complicated to cope with. Although nothing can truly make up for your loss, you may be able to secure a measure of justice and financial compensation by filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the people responsible. A Utah wrongful death lawyer from Swenson & Shelley can help.

Our trusted attorneys have years of experience helping surviving family members get answers and financial relief after fatal accidents. We have the resources to investigate what happened, determine who was at fault, and fight fiercely for the justice your family deserves.

Contact Swenson & Shelley today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation. Accident victims deserve the relentless pursuit of justice our wrongful death law firm can bring them.

Determining Whether a Wrongful Death Claim Can Be Filed

After tragic accidents, it is common for surviving family members to wonder whether they have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. There are basic guidelines that must be met to proceed with a wrongful death claim.

Was the death was caused by someone else’s negligence or cruel intent?

wrongful death is one where someone, other than the victim, is at fault. The person or entity at fault must have committed either a cruel or negligent act that directly caused the death. Examples of situations that could lead to a wrongful death claim include fatal auto crashes, deadly falls, or homicide. Although the at-fault party may also face criminal charges for their actions, a wrongful death claim is a separate civil matter intended to bring justice in the form of financial compensation.

Has the person’s death left loved ones with financial burdens and other losses?

In many cases, surviving family members depended on their loved one financially. A wrongful death claim can help recover compensation for medical bills, final expenses, and lost earnings. In a wrongful death case, you will need to carefully document your losses to show what your compensation amount should be.

Beneficiaries of a Wrongful Death Claim

Those who can benefit from a wrongful death claim are clearly spelled out under Utah law. Only those who were close to the victim, and those who were financially dependent on the victim, can sue for wrongful death. In most cases, those who seek compensation after a wrongful death will be immediate family members, such as a spouse or children. However, financial dependents and other family members may have a case if there are no immediate family members.

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    Immediate family members

    Spouses, life partners, children, adopted children, and any other dependents have a legal right to file suit against those who caused the wrongful death of their loved one. Immediate family will usually take precedence in a case. This means if any other family members, such as siblings or parents, are attempting to sue for wrongful death, the immediate family will be considered first.

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    Financial dependents

    Anyone who is financially dependent on a wrongful death victim has the right to seek compensation. Since the victim was providing and, presumably, intended to continue to provide financial resources to their dependents, those dependents should continue to receive the financial help they deserve. Though immediate family will take precedence, all financial dependents may be able to seek compensation.

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    Extended family

    If immediate family and close financial dependents do not exist, extended family may be able to sue for wrongful death. Extended family includes blood relatives who will serve as an heir to the victim. Parents, spouses, adult children, and other dependents may fall under the extended family category.

To learn whether you can sue on behalf of your loved one, contact a knowledgeable Utah wrongful death attorney at Swenson and Shelley.

How a Utah Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help Your Family

Your family is understandably focused on grieving and healing after the death of your loved one. Pursuing a legal case might be the furthest thing from your mind, especially when you are getting their affairs in order and learning to adjust to the loss of their presence in your lives and the contributions they made to your family. That’s where a Utah wrongful death attorney from Swenson & Shelley can help. While you’re focused on mourning your loved one, we can focus on pursuing your family’s legal interests by:

  • Thoroughly investigating the underlying facts and circumstances of your loved one’s death, recovering all available evidence that we can later use to build your family’s wrongful death claim
  • Identifying the party or parties who might be held liable to provide compensation, including determining what insurance coverages may apply
  • Hiring expert witnesses in fields such as accident reconstruction, medicine, and finance to help us persuasively explain how the other party or parties caused your loved one’s death and how much compensation you need to recover
  • Gathering documents to calculate your expenses and losses
  • Filing demands for compensation or insurance claims on your behalf
  • Handling communications and negotiations with insurance adjusters and defense lawyers to try to reach a fair settlement that compensates you financially as much as possible
  • Filing a wrongful death lawsuit and advocating for your rights at trial, fighting for the justice that your family and your departed loved one deserve

What Are the Common Causes of Wrongful Death in Utah?

A wrongful death claim may arise from any kind of accident that would normally give rise to a personal injury claim, if the accident victim had survived their injuries. At Swenson & Shelley, we assist families who have lost loved ones due to:

Wrongful Death FAQs

What should I look for when choosing a wrongful death attorney?

If you are looking for a wrongful death attorney, unfortunately, that probably means that somebody close to you has died. For that, we’re sorry. You may be wondering how to find a good attorney in the state of Utah to help you with this claim. You should get somebody who’s experienced in handling wrongful death, who understands the laws dealing with wrongful death and understands the damages you have incurred.

Second, get somebody who focuses on that area and it’s a significant part of their practice. Wrongful death cases can be difficult, so you need an attorney who will prepare right from the beginning as if you were going to have to go to trial. Hopefully, you won’t, but you need a lawyer to prepare as if you were. You want the insurance company to know right from the beginning that you’re willing to go to trial and that your attorney is ready to fight to verdict, if necessary.

What should I know about wrongful death claims in Utah?

If you have a claim for wrongful death in the state of Utah, it’s important to understand the different areas of damages that you can claim. The first area is for economic loss. It allows you to claim for any of the economic support that the deceased individual would have provided you had that individual continued to live.

The second area of loss is non-economic loss. These are sometimes categorized as loss of love, loss of affection, or loss of guidance.

To understand the full value of your wrongful death claim, you need to speak with an attorney who has handled cases like yours before.

Who can file a wrongful death claim?

In the state of Utah, a wrongful death claim can be brought by any heir of the decedent or by a personal representative who is appointed by the court. If you have any questions about who’s entitled to bring a claim or any questions about wrongful death in the state of Utah, feel free to call our office.

How much will it cost to hire a wrongful death attorney?

Oftentimes when we’re meeting with somebody who has a wrongful death claim, one of their big concerns is how much the claim is going to cost. Sometimes the loved one they’ve lost was their economic support. We explain to them that to run the case, it’s not going to cost them anything. We pay for all of the costs of the case to prove their damages, to prove the loss of income, to pay any of the court fees, and any of the litigation costs. In the end, we only get compensated if we are successful in getting a settlement or a jury verdict on your case.

What damages can be recovered in a wrongful death claim?

If you have a wrongful death claim in the state of Utah, you’re entitled to damages for what was lost as far as the economic loss that would have been provided by the individual who died, plus you’re entitled to pain and suffering and other general damages.

How much is my wrongful death case worth?

If you’re looking at a wrongful death claim and are trying to determine the value of that case, the main areas you’re going to be looking at are what was lost by those who relied on the individual who was wrongfully killed. You’re also going to be looking at the love, and support, and those types of damages. They’re damages that are very difficult to put a number on.

If you’ve got a wrongful death claim that you’re trying to work through, we can help you talk about the damages, the types of damages that are allowed, how a jury looks at those, and how they calculate damages.

How Long Do Families Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Families of a person whose death is caused by the wrongful acts of another party have limited time to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Under Utah’s statute of limitations, a wrongful death suit typically must be filed within two years of the date of the decedent’s death. However, wrongful death lawsuits filed against the state, a local government, or a public agency must be filed within one year of the decedent’s death.

It is crucial to consult with a trusted wrongful death attorney as soon as possible to ensure your family does not miss any important deadlines.

Damages Available for Bereaved Loved Ones

There are many types of compensation that can come from wrongful death suits. If there are eligible surviving family members who were affected by the wrongful death, compensation can be claimed. Before a suit is filed, the family will need to decide the type of compensation they are looking for. They may want to claim just one type of compensation, or they may want to file for every type they can. An attorney can point bereaved families in the right direction and help them decide what compensation they deserve.

Medical and funeral expenses

After a tragedy, bills related to the death of a loved one can start to pile up. If efforts were made to save the victim’s life, or there was an extended hospital stay, the family should not be responsible for those expenses. Additionally, any costs for a proper funeral and other final expenses should be covered by the person at fault. These expenses can accumulate quickly, leaving the family in financial ruin. By hiring an attorney to fight to recover these damages, the victim’s family will be able to focus on moving forward with their lives, rather than worrying about the financial demands of medical bills.

Lost earnings

When a victim has people depending on them financially, those dependents will be left without the financial support they were used to. Since wrongful deaths occur suddenly and unexpectedly, dependents of the victim will not have time to arrange other sources of earnings. This can be especially devastating for those with children and those who do not have a significant amount of savings. The loss of a loved one who also was the main provider can be so devastating that families lose their homes and other possessions. This burden should never befall bereaved family members. By hiring a wrongful death attorney, the victim’s family can avoid this terrible fate and keep the home and comforts provided by their loved one.

Pain and suffering

The mental and emotional scars from losing a loved one can be devastating. In Utah, punitive damages, for the pain and suffering of the bereaved family, can also be awarded. These damages are intended to help the family recover, mentally and emotionally, from their loss. Therapy, counseling, and other professional help can be instrumental in allowing the family to accept the loss of their loved one. Facing the wrongful death of a loved one is never easy, but the damages claimed from pain and suffering can help to ease the burden.

Loss of value of inheritance

In addition to the loss of a loved one’s income and regular financial contributions to the family and household, surviving family members may be entitled to recover compensation for the loss of growth in the value of the inheritance that their loved one would have left behind had they lived longer. This loss may include the growth of the value of pension benefits, stock options or other equity compensation, and other money the victim would have saved or invested in annuities, bonds, or stocks.

Loss of household services

Surviving family members who lived with a deceased loved one might also be entitled to recover compensation for the value of household services that the victim performed and that the family now must hire others to perform. This may include lawn or pool maintenance, house cleaning, or home repairs.

Loss of a loved one’s relationship and emotional support

Surviving family members may also be entitled to receive compensation for the loss of their loved one’s emotional support. Emotional support is a catch-all term that covers love, affection, companionship, intimacy, guidance, society, and advice. Although no amount of money can truly make up for the loss of your loved one, obtaining financial compensation can provide some measure of justice and peace of mind.

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Get Advice from an Experienced Utah Wrongful Death Attorney Now

If you have lost a loved one due to the wrongful acts of another party, you deserve to pursue financial recovery and justice. Contact Swenson & Shelley today for a free initial consultation with a knowledgeable Utah wrongful death attorney. It won’t cost you anything to learn how our firm can help you pursue accountability and financial recovery for your loss.