Wrongful Death

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Wrongful Death Attorney in Vermont

Wrongful Death

The passing of a loved one is devastating for surviving family and friends. But when you discover that their death was caused by someone else’s negligent or reckless actions that could have been avoided, it can also leave you and your family feeling angry or despondent.

Although no amount of money can undo your loved one’s passing, you and your family nonetheless may be entitled to compensation, not only for the financial losses caused by your loved one’s passing, but also to provide your family with some measure of justice and closure.

At Lynch Legal Services, PLLC, we recognize that pursuing a legal claim may be the furthest thing from your mind after you’ve tragically lost a loved one. We also know that hiring an attorney can seem intimidating or even unnecessary. But we believe that you and your family shouldn’t have to be left with the financial burden created by someone else’s carelessness.

Sometimes it takes a lawyer to sort out the financial issues surrounding a family member’s wrongful death. At Lynch Legal Services, PLLC, we believe that an attorney is your voice, and your voice – and that of your deceased family member – deserve to be heard.

For 30 years, Vermont attorney David Lynch has worked to protect the rights and interests of Vermont families like yours. David provides personal attention and years of experience to the handling of your case to help make the process of recovery as easy as possible and help provide a light at the end of the tunnel during a difficult period in your life.

Many of our past clients have reported that they found solace and closure from working with an attorney to seek justice on behalf of their lost loved one.

With our firm’s purposely limited caseload, you can expect to receive the personalized attention that you and your case deserve. When you choose Lynch Legal Services to help with a wrongful death claim, you will not be charged any fees unless and until we win compensation for you and your family.

Contact our firm today to set up a free case review with a compassionate Vermont wrongful death lawyer to discuss your family’s legal rights and how our firm can help pursue the recovery you need and the measure of accountability and justice that you deserve after suffering the loss of a loved one.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Vermont?

Under Vermont law, the personal representative of the estate of the deceased individual files a wrongful death claim – this is the executor or administrator of the estate, which usually is a family member of the decedent.

However, the damages that are recovered in a wrongful death claim are obtained on behalf of eligible surviving family members and on behalf of the estate itself.

What Do You Have to Prove in a Vermont Wrongful Death Case?

In order to successfully recover compensation in a wrongful death claim, you must prove that your loved one’s death was caused by the negligent, willful, or reckless actions of someone else, and that your loved one, his or her estate, and your family have suffered damages for which you can be financially compensated.

Most wrongful death claims are based on a claim that the at-fault party negligently caused the decedent’s death. A claim of negligence requires proving that the at-fault party owed the decedent a duty of care, acted in such a way to breach this duty of care, and that this breach was directly and proximately responsible for causing your relative serious bodily injury or death.

Proving willfulness requires showing that the party at fault for your loved one’s death intended for his or her actions to result in serious bodily injury and/or death to your loved one. For example, if your loved one was the victim of an aggravated assault or a homicide, this could be considered willfulness.

An at-fault party recklessly causes an individual’s death when they consciously disregard a substantial risk that their actions or omissions will cause someone to suffer serious bodily injury or death. For example, your wrongful death claim may be based on a claim of recklessness if your relative was killed in a motor vehicle accident by another driver with a history of DUI convictions who again gets behind the wheel while intoxicated.

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Pursuing Full Compensation for Your Family

Although no amount of money can bring back someone who has passed away, a wrongful death claim seeks to recover compensation for the losses suffered by surviving family members of the decedent, along with losses that were incurred by the decedent and his or her estate directly.

Damages that are recoverable for the surviving family members of a deceased individual include:

  • The loss of the family member’s love, companionship, care, and guidance
  • The loss of a parent-child relationship
  • The loss of services performed by the deceased family member for the family and the household
  • The loss of reasonably anticipated financial contributions by the deceased family member to the surviving family members and their household

These damages are obtained on behalf of the deceased individual’s spouse and any surviving children (including legally-adopted children) or descendants. If a wrongful death victim left behind no surviving spouse or descendants, then these damages can be awarded to surviving next-of-kin, such as parents or siblings.

In addition, the decedent’s estate may be entitled to compensation for losses incurred by the decedent prior to his or her death and by his or her estate following his or her passing, including damages such as:

  • Costs of medical treatment for last injury or illness
  • Conscious pain and suffering experienced by the decedent prior to his or her death
  • Funeral and burial expenses

Vermont Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death

Vermont’s statute of limitations on wrongful death claims can vary based on the circumstances of the case. Generally, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within two years of the decedent’s death. However, other factors can change the statute of limitations, such as:

  • If the alleged at-fault party is not located within the state of Vermont, a lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of the party’s return to Vermont.
  • If criminal charges are filed against the alleged at-fault party in connection to the decedent’s death, the lawsuit must be filed within two years of the date of conviction, or within seven years of the filing of criminal charges or a determination of probable cause to file charges.

If your family’s wrongful death lawsuit is not filed before the statute of limitations expires on your claim, the court will have grounds to permanently dismiss your claim and your family will lose the right to pursue compensation in court.

Common Causes of Wrongful Death

Any sort of accident can inflict injuries or another medical condition that ultimately becomes fatal. Some of the most frequent causes that give rise to wrongful death cases in Vermont include:

If your family has lost a loved one due to one of these accidents or due to some other accident or incident caused by another party, our firm can help your family with your wrongful death claim.

How Our Vermont Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help You

While simply losing a loved one creates a difficult and stressful time for you and your family, when your loved one’s death was caused by somebody else’s wrongdoing, it can make the process of grieving even harder. Let our Vermont wrongful death attorney help you and your family begin the process of recovery after your loved one’s passing by:

  • Being available to speak with you and your family at your convenience, so that we can answer all your questions, ensure that you and your family have everything you need, and keep you up-to-date on the progress of your case
  • Thoroughly investigating the circumstances of your loved one’s passing to recover all available evidence
  • Working with experts to sift through the evidence to determine how your loved one’s accident and injuries occurred and identify the party or parties that bear legal responsibility to you and your family
  • Identifying potential sources of compensation such as insurance coverages
  • Preparing a strong, persuasive case to hold the parties at fault for your loved one’s death accountable
  • Filing your family’s claim, communicating with insurance adjusters, company representatives, and defense attorneys on your family’s behalf so that you have the space to grieve and heal
  • Working diligently to pursue full compensation for your family’s financial and personal losses
  • Drafting a lawsuit to prepare your family’s claim and advocating in court and at trial, if necessary

Get a free, no-obligation consultation with a Vermont wrongful death attorney at Lynch Legal Services, PLLC today to learn more about your family’s rights and options and to discuss how our firm can help your family seek the compensation and justice that you deserve after your loss.