Losing a loved one as the result of another party’s negligent or reckless acts can be devastating. Quite often, families are left with the burden of stacking financial obligations resulting from the incident. Losing a loved one in a car accident can result in thousands of dollars in medical expenses, damaged property, medical expenses, and lost wages. Losing a loved one is extremely difficult to deal with, and it is even more difficult to grieve through the loss when it was unexpected and caused by another person’s actions, but it can be made even worse by mounting debts and threats of repossession.
Although nothing can replace your loved one or bring them back, Utah law provides a legal route for surviving family members to alleviate some of the financial burdens they experience in the aftermath of a tragic incident. Surviving family members are able to file wrongful death lawsuits against the responsible party to obtain remuneration for both economic and non-economic losses. Working with an experienced attorney from Siegfried & Jensen will ensure your family recovers the maximum amount of compensation for which you are entitled to for your loss.
What Is A Wrongful Death Claim In Utah?
When a person is injured due to the negligent acts or wrongdoing of another party, they are able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party to obtain compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, medical expenses, and other damages that resulted due to the negligent or reckless acts. In cases where a person dies due to the careless or wrongful acts of another person or party, a wrongful death claim may arise. In these cases, the decedent is not around to file a lawsuit to recover reimbursement for their injuries, so the obligation to do so is passed along to surviving family members who are impacted by the loss.
Wrongful death lawsuits enable surviving family members to obtain repayment for various damages including:
- Pain and suffering;
- Medical expenses;
- Lost wages;
- Property loss; and
- Funeral and burial expenses.
In cases where extreme negligence led to the incident, courts can assess punitive damages against the at-fault party as a form of punishment for their extreme wrongdoing. There are also various claims for loss of consortium that can be filed against the at-fault party. Working with an experienced Utah wrongful death attorney will ensure you recover the maximum amount of compensation for the tragic loss of your loved one.
Who Is Entitled To File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit In Utah?
Under Utah law, only certain surviving family members are able to file wrongful death claims against at-fault parties. These individuals are considered “heirs” to the decedent. In other words, they are legally entitled to receive some part of the decedent’s estate under Utah’s intestacy laws.
Utah’s legal code refers to entitled parties as presumptive personal representatives, which means those who fall under this category are able to file wrongful death claims on behalf of themselves or other heirs to the decedent. Parties who are able to file wrongful death claims in Utah include:
- The decedent’s surviving spouse;
- The decedent’s surviving adult children, if no spouse exists; or
- The parents of the decedent, if no spouse or adult children exist.
These parties are all presumed personal representatives and may not depict the actual personal representative listed on the estate by the decedent. In cases where the decedent designated a personal representative, the designee is able to file a lawsuit on behalf of the estate. The representative will then be required to deposit any compensation recovered into the estate so it can be distributed according to law. Working with a Utah wrongful death attorney will ensure you are legally qualified to file a wrongful death claim in order to protect the legal rights of your family and the decedent.
Statute Of Limitations For Wrongful Death Claims In Utah
The state of Utah has some strict statute of limitations established for individuals who are interested in filing wrongful death claims in Utah courts. Insurance companies will often tell individuals that they are only able to resolve wrongful death claims after a 45-day waiting period. This is not true. Personal representatives do have the option to resolve wrongful death claims after a 45-day waiting period, but they are not forced to accept any offers provided by the insurance companies immediately. Instead, personal representatives should consult with a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible before communicating with the insurance company.
The statute of limitations for wrongful death varies depending on who the claim is against. In cases where the lawsuit is filed against a government entity, claimants have only one year from the date of death to file a legal claim. In all other cases, the claimant has two years from the date of the death to file a wrongful death lawsuit in a Utah Court.
Waiting to file a lawsuit can damage your case as it may result in a loss of evidence, documentation, and other useful information that helps support your claim against the at-fault party. It is crucial to speak with an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible to ensure you are able to establish the strongest legal case possible.
A Salt Lake City Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help You
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit can be extremely complicated. Dealing with the stress and grief of this type of tragedy is often more than enough for families to deal with. Instead of navigating through the court system during this highly emotional time, it often benefits immensely to hire a Utah wrongful death attorney to help protect your legal rights.
Attorneys at Siegfried & Jensen have helped over 35,000 personal injury and wrongful death claimants recover over $850 million in damages during the last 30-years. Our attorneys work diligently to ensure the legal rights of victims and their families are protected. Wrongful death claims, in particular, require a firm sense of determination, extensive experience, and compassion for struggling families in order to obtain the best results possible. If your loved one lost their life due to the negligent or wrongful act of another person or party, contact Siegfried & Jensen at (801) 845-9000 to schedule a free consultation today.
Content checked by personal injury attorney Todd Bradford. I worked for a small law firm in Utah County, where I handled various types of cases. My main focus was personal injury and I decided that is what I enjoyed doing the most. I rejoined Siegfried and Jensen in 2012 where my focus is solely on helping personal injury clients. I take pride in helping personal injury clients and enjoy serving them. If you need an attorney for auto accidents or injuries of any kind in Salt Lake City, UT, Ogden, UT, Spokane, WA, or Boise, ID, contact us.