There are very few things in life more difficult than dealing with the loss of a loved one. Finding out that your loved one died as the result of another party’s negligence can make an overwhelming situation all the more unbearable. In cases where individuals have their lives cut short due to the negligence of others, the surviving family members are able to file a wrongful death lawsuit in order to recover compensation for their loss.
Although no amount of money can ever replace the loss of a loved one, having compensation available can greatly help alleviate some of the financial burdens surviving spouses and their children face.
What Is A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In Utah, a wrongful death lawsuit is filed by the surviving family members of a victim who lost their life as the result of another party’s negligence. These lawsuits are filed to recover damages for funeral expenses, loss of income, emotional pain and suffering, and other financial or material hardships caused by the death.
In some cases, courts can award punitive damages to penalize the at-fault party for their extreme negligent acts. Working with an attorney from Siegfried & Jensen will ensure you recover the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to for your loss.
Who Can File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit In Utah?
In Utah, several parties are able to file wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of their deceased loved ones. These parties include:
- The surviving spouse of the decedent;
- The surviving adult children of the decedent;
- The surviving birth parents of the decedent;
- The surviving adopted parents of the decedent; and
- Other surviving relatives of the decedent.
Also, there are instances where the personal representative of the decedent’s estate can file a lawsuit. In cases where a personal representative is designated to do so, funds recovered are deposited into the estate of the decedent and distributed according to law.
Laws governing who is allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit are designed to ensure only relatives and heirs of the decedent are compensated for their loss. These restrictions ensure people who have no interest in the decedent are able to file lawsuits to recover compensation for their own financial benefit.
Sometimes, there are exceptions to entitlement requirements. There are instances when other parties may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, it is critical to work with a wrongful death attorney to ensure you meet the legal requirements for the exceptions.
Statute Of Limitations
In addition to strict laws governing who is able to file a wrongful death lawsuit, the state of Utah dictates the time in which a lawsuit can be filed. The time constraints in which a lawsuit can be filed in a wrongful death case are referred to as the statute of limitations.
In Utah, wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within two years from the date of the death of the decedent. If a government entity is responsible for the death, the statute of limitations is set for only one year following the death.
Failure to adequately file a wrongful death lawsuit within the statute of limitations can prevent you from taking any legal actions against the responsible party. Cases filed after the statute of limitations are often thrown out and unheard in court. It is crucial to work with a wrongful death attorney from Siegfried & Jensen to ensure your lawsuit is filed on time.
Recoverable Damages In A Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Heirs or surviving family members of wrongful death victims are able to recover compensation for numerous damages. These damages include:
Lost Wages: The surviving family members are able to recover compensation for wages which would have been earned by the decedent had they continued on with their life. Wages are often calculated to include the remaining time the decedent would have worked and any raises they would have experienced over their lifetime.
Lost Benefits: In cases where the decedent supplied health insurance and workplace savings plans, family members can request compensation for these benefits.
Medical Expenses: The surviving family members of the decedent can recover compensation for all medical expenses related to the decedent’s final injuries or illnesses.
Loss Of Care, Companionship, and Guidance: These damages are supplied to surviving family members as compensation for the lost relationships they experience due to the death. Spouses lose their companion and suffer a drastic change in their lifestyle. Children losing parents often suffer immensely and lack guidance from the decedent. Courts recognize these losses and the damaging impact it has on families.
Pain and Suffering: These damages are awarded to surviving family members to compensate them for the emotional suffering they experience from losing their loved one. There is no way to put a price on a person’s pain and suffering, so working with an experienced attorney will help you prove the extent of suffering you endure and will endure in the future due to the loss.
Punitive Damages: In some cases, punitive damages are awarded to punish the negligent party for their intentional or reckless behavior and to send a message that the nature of their conduct will not be tolerated in court.
Hiring A Utah Wrongful Death Attorney Will Help You
If your loved one was killed due to the negligent or reckless actions of another person or party, it is critical to contact a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. You may be entitled to compensation for damages you sustained from losing a loved one.
At Siegfried & Jensen, we handle all cases with care and compassion. We work diligently to help families recover compensation in these tragic circumstances. It is true that compensation cannot bring back nor replace their loved one. However, having the compensation available greatly helps grieving families deal with the stacking financial burdens they face. Contact Siegfried & Jensen at (801) 598-1218 today to schedule a free consultation. We are determined to help you recover a full and fair amount of compensation for your loss.
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.