We currently have several passenger cases where there is either a serious injury or a death. The death cases are a special sort of case in many different ways. We handle these differently than we do the serious injury cases.
The Wrongful Death Case
First and foremost, we will be required to open an estate and to have someone appointed to assist us in making legal decisions. Keep in mind the person injured died and so initially the Court appoints someone to work with the lawyers in handling the insurance claims. They serve as either an administrator (no will) or an executor (chosen by the terms of the will). Later on in the case, this administrator or executor help us to decide how to divide the money, who gets paid and which claims to pay. Lawyers call this the probate process.
The lawyers also need someone to make decisions as the case progresses. Some of these decisions are simple, others require a lot more discussion and thought.
Opportunities Requiring Decisionmaking
- To file suit or when to file suit.
- Where to file suit.
- Who to sue.
- When to make a settlement demand.
- How much to demand for settlement purposes.
- Which experts to hire.
- Whether or not to engage in mediation when appropriate.
- When to settle.
- To sit at counsel’s table during a trial.
- Literally, to speak for the person who died.
Personal injury accidents resulting in the death of the injured passenger, worker or pedestrian always require someone other than the injured person to make decisions. In Iowa, who might be a qualified candidate can include the spouse, an adult child, a relative, a significant other, a banker, a family friend or even a family lawyer. The important thing to keep in mind is who receives part of the recovery depends on whether or not there is or isn’t a will. And that is a different discussion entirely from today's blog.
As always, if you have questions about the things we write about, then call to discuss having us handle your case.
Additional articles about how to avoid problems with your wrongful death claim.