Vermont Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Families in Hartford
Losing a loved one is incredibly difficult and devastating under any circumstances. At Sabbeth Law, we know that it may not seem possible to think about anything beyond your grief in the days, weeks, and even months after a loved one’s death. Yet when a family member’s death results from another party’s negligence, it is important to hold the at-fault party accountable. Outside of criminal prosecution, the civil damages via a wrongful death suit allows the only justice that can be had. It reinforces and validates that the bad actor indeed acted badly and often causes changes in the way people and companies act to prevent future similar incidents. Sabbeth Law routinely represents families in wrongful death claims arising out of truck accidents, car crashes, and other types of accident and injury cases. An experienced Hartford wrongful death lawyer can speak with you today about your case and whether you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim.
What is a Wrongful Death in Hartford, VT?
Under Vermont law, when a person dies because of “the wrongful act, neglect, or default of a person or corporation, and the act, neglect or default is such as would have entitled the party injured to maintain such an action, and recover damages in respect thereof, if death had not ensued,” then a wrongful death lawsuit may be possible.
To put that statutory language another way, wrongful death law is an area of the law that is closely connected to personal injury law. In personal injury law, the law says that an injured person has a right to seek compensation by filing a lawsuit against the party whose negligence caused his or her injuries. In a wrongful death claim, the law recognizes that the injured party did not survive when death occurred. Yet that person who suffered fatal injuries should still have a right to seek compensation. Accordingly, the law allows a personal representative of the deceased to step into the shoes, metaphorically, of the deceased in order to file a claim against the at-fault or negligent party therein.
Who is Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Case in Hartford and White River Junction?
According to the wrongful death statute in Vermont, a personal representative of the deceased person’s estate must be the one to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If the deceased did not name a personal representative in estate planning documents, the court can appoint a personal representative upon someone’s death.
While a personal representative may file the lawsuit, the family members of the deceased are eligible to receive damages from a wrongful death claim.
Statute of Limitations in a Hartford, VT Wrongful Death Case
Vermont’s wrongful death cases come with a two-year statute of limitations. What this means is that a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within two years from the date of the deceased person’s death, in order for the surviving family members to remain eligible for financial compensation. By working with a Vermont wrongful death attorney, you can ensure that the wrongful death claim will be filed in a timely manner.
Hartford Wrongful Death Damages
Surviving family members may be eligible to receive two types of compensatory damages known as economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages provide compensation for direct, financial losses like hospital bills and funeral expenses, while non-economic damages provide compensation for losses that are difficult to place a value on, such as the pain of losing a loved one to a wrongful death. Examples of both types of compensatory damages may include but are not limited to:
- Hospital bills;
- Lost wages;
- Funeral expenses;
- Burial costs;
- Compensation for loss of love and companionship; and
- For example, how this loss will affect the intangible things that created bonds between people that have been permanently severed by the wrongful death of a loved one.
- Compensation for loss of a parent-child relationship.
- Exactly as it sounds.
Contact a Hartford and White River Junction Wrongful Death Attorney
Accidents involving the death of a loved one are devastating. We know how difficult it can be to think about filing a lawsuit to seek justice while you are grieving the death of a parent, a spouse, or another family member. Yet we also know that it is extremely important to take legal action to hold the at-fault party accountable and to seek financial compensation for your losses. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney at Sabbeth Law who has significant exposure specializing in trucking and commercial motor vehicle cases in addition to other types of injury cases.
We are members of various professional associations, including the Association of Truck Accident Lawyers, AAJ Trucking Litigation Group, and the National Trial Lawyers Top Truck Accident Lawyers. When you have been injured in a collision or another on-site accident, we make sure to get to the scene of your injury as soon as possible. When we prepare for personal injury claim cases and fatal accidents, we use the best experts in the U.S., and we are have achieved seven-figure and eight-figure results for our injured clients and their families. We were excel at handling these complex injury cases, and we will go to you if you cannot reach our firm. An experienced Hartford and White River Junction wrongful death attorney can begin working with you on your case today. Contact Sabbeth Law for more information.
What evidence do we need for a wrongful death case?
The evidence will depend on the accident. If your loved one was killed in a truck accident, then we typically rely on witness statements, physical evidence from the crash, truck company records, and data from the electronic logging system. Our legal team can ensure that this information is preserved so that you can use it during your case.
Other cases will rest on other evidence. It’s important to meet with an attorney and gather evidence as soon as possible. Evidence tends to disappear the longer you wait.
How much compensation can we receive?
There are many factors. As discussed above, you can receive compensation for economic losses, like hospital bills and lost income. There are certain limitations, however. The defendant might not have much money. If a car driver killed your loved one, then any settlement is paid out of the driver’s insurance policy. Unfortunately, the driver might not have any coverage, or they have only the minimum liability coverage. However, if a truck driver caused the death, we can typically sue the trucking company for damages, and recover compensation for medical and funeral expenses because these companies usually have larger liability policies.
Why doesn’t the prosecutor file a wrongful death case?
A wrongful death lawsuit is civil, not criminal. Civil cases are filed by members of the public. You can sue someone for causing your loved one’s wrongful death suits even if the prosecutor doesn’t think there’s enough evidence to bring criminal charges. For example, many wrongful death cases are just civil lawsuits based on negligence. But negligence often doesn’t rise to the level of a crime in Vermont.
Also, the standard of proof is lower in a civil case. To win in a wrongful death action, your lawyer only needs to show that it is more likely than not that the defendant killed your loved one. That’s much lower than “proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” which is the criminal standard.
What if more than 2 years have passed since our loved one’s death?
If you are over the statute of limitations deadline. That means that if you sue, the defendant can ask the judge to dismiss the case—and judges will do just that. You will lose out on the ability to claim a wrongful death settlement. Also, there is no incentive for the defendant to settle the case out of court. They know if you are unhappy with what they offer, you can’t go into court and vindicate your rights. Please contact experienced attorney at our firm immediately to discuss your impending death case. We can file a wrongful death lawsuit before the deadline if there is time remaining.
Will I have to testify at trial?
You might. Typically, we can settle cases outside of court with the defendant, which makes a trial unnecessary. But if we can’t settle, then we’ll need to go into court and file a lawsuit. You might need to testify if you observed the car accident yourself that killed your loved one. You might also need to testify to establish your non-economic losses, such as loss of companionship. We know testifying is stressful, but our firm can prepare you for the experience.
“Immediately after my son’s injury at work, he was treated poorly. Over the course of the next few days it became even worse, so I called Mike and he and Crystal have been absolute lifesavers during the process. Mike is not your typical stuffed suit lawyer who only cares about the bottom line he genuinely cares about his clients and his assistant Crystal is beyond amazing! My thanks to you both!”
“Immediately after my son’s injury at work, he was treated poorly. Over the course of the next few days it became even worse, so I called Mike and he and Crystal have been absolute lifesavers during the process. Mike is not your typical stuffed suit lawyer who only cares about the bottom line he genuinely cares about his clients and his assistant Crystal is beyond amazing! My thanks to you both!”LUKE PARMENTER
“I could never ask for a better attorney, to fight for me, to believe in me, and have faith in me, than what I found in Mike Sabbeth, He doesn’t treat you like a client, he treats you as if you are one of his own family members, He will fight for you, with all he has, and is ALWAYS up front and honest with you about everything!”SANDRA DRUGE