Wyoming Wrongful Death Guide
The Wyoming Wrongful Death Guide was created by Frederick J. Harrison, P.C. to help residents who have been injured in an accident obtain maximum compensation for their claim.
Your days are likely filled with stress and grief. Losing someone you love to an accident is tough. We are truly sorry it happened. We want to be able to get justice for you and your family. We can make this tough time easier by helping you with your wrongful death claim. Please call us for a free consultation.
Who Can Bring the Claim?
Not everyone is eligible to bring a claim on behalf of a passed loved one. There are laws regarding who is allowed to bring the claim. It is not always going to be the spouse or the child of the deceased. It could be a parent or sibling who was financially reliant on the deceased loved one. The only way to know for sure is to call a lawyer and discuss the claim.
Our Wyoming wrongful death attorney Fred Harrison can help guide you and your family to determine who the right person to bring your claim is. This way you know for sure you’re starting off the whole process error free. Having the right person bring the claim, as well as the right person guiding you, can make all the difference in the world when it comes to a successful claim.
Don’t Try to Do This Without an Attorney
You don’t want to be kicking yourself later on because you never hired an attorney. Go ahead and call a lawyer. You deserve to have someone on your side who knows what they are doing. You’ve likely never had to do this before. Don’t try to do it alone. Chances are you won’t get the results that you and your family deserve.
Odds are you have never had to represent a plaintiff in a wrongful death claim before. It is a challenging type of civil case to be successful in for most lawyers. Trying to represent your own claim on behalf of your deceased loved one is not a wise idea. Simply having the wrong representative on the claim can end up in the whole thing being denied. You should absolutely reach out to our skilled Wyoming wrongful death attorney Fred Harrison to represent your loved one’s case.
As mentioned, these cases are challenging. You want someone on your side of the claim who is prepared to go to trial, if necessary.
Act as Soon as Possible
You don’t have unlimited time to bring a claim. Time has a way of getting away from you. Do not delay reaching out to an attorney about your claim. By law, you are only given a certain amount of time to legally start a claim. Wyoming allows for four years between the death of your loved one and the last possible day you can file your claim.
Things can go awry in four years with evidence, medical records, and witnesses, so it is best to act right away on your claim. You don’t want to end up with no remaining proof that there was a negligent party responsible for the death of your loved one. The sooner you act, the better your Wyoming wrongful death attorney can preserve your evidence and witness testimony.
A wrongful death case is time sensitive, so don’t wait around. Call Fred Harrison, our Wyoming wrongful death attorney, right away to set up a time for a first consultation. You deserve someone who is going to give all their efforts to make this claim a success for your family.
Don’t Give Any Statements Out
You should not be discussing the case with anyone but your lawyer after the passing of your loved one. The insurance company is going to be very persistent about reaching out to you. They may seem polite and helpful. You need to be aware that they are not looking out for your best interests.
Insurance companies want to save themselves money. They will do anything to save their bottom line. It is your attorney’s job to protect you from the insurance company’s tricks. Don’t give any statements to the insurance company.
Available Benefits in a Wrongful Death Claim
The damages available in a wrongful death case in Wyoming are damages for the loss of the care, comfort, and society of that person and their economic contributions. So, if you have a small child, for instance, and their father dies, and the father was providing for that child, then the child is entitled to what the father would have provided that child until the child would become an adult or even go through college. Those things can be taken into account. Also, you take into account the loss of the care, comfort, and society of the father that the child experiences. In other words, what did the father provide for care of the child? What about the comfort of the child when the child had a bad event at school or whatever, or the care of the child and the society of the child when the child was successful at something, and the father enjoyed that with the child and told the child that he was proud of the child?
Those are the kinds of losses that we see in these kinds of cases. They’re intangibles that I would say are the most important parts of life. Look at the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible. The most important things in life are the simple pleasures in life, and the simple pleasures in life are enjoying the company of the child and the child enjoying the company of the father or the mother or whoever the lost person is. That’s what it is because every family is a whole, and as soon as you take somebody out of that family, the whole family suffers. Every case is different, but the damages can be significant, and in most cases, the big damages are the loss of care, comfort, and society for the people that are left behind. Those are the damages you can collect in a wrongful death case in Wyoming. If you have any other questions, call our office in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Can the Heirs Hire Separate Wrongful Death Attorneys?
Sometimes there’s one family member who’ll have one attorney in a wrongful death case and another family member who’ll have another attorney in a wrongful death case. Yes, they can both proceed with their own attorney in the same case. Sometimes people don’t want to participate in the case at all. That’s okay, too. In other words, we’ll have them sign away their right to proceed with the case, and we’re then able to proceed with the case. Different family members can have different attorneys in the same case, as well. Yes, that does happen. I just had a situation in a wrongful death case where one attorney that was representing one part of the family decided he didn’t want to proceed with the case, and so that family member came to me, and now I represent the whole family. Every case is different, but yes, different family members can have different attorneys. If you want to discuss your case and where you are in a case, give us a call at my office in Cheyenne.
Choosing a Wrongful Death Attorney
Sometimes I’m asked why I would be a good attorney in a wrongful death case. First of all, I’ve handled a lot of cases that involve death in the course of my career. I was a prosecuting attorney at the start of my career. I saw a lot of murder cases and prosecuted a lot of murder cases— the kinds of cases in which unfortunate people were killed and family was left behind. I’ve also done a lot of wrongful death cases as a personal injury lawyer and as an insurance defense lawyer. So, I’ve had both sides of those kinds of cases, and I’ve had a lot of experience with wrongful death. I’ve had a lot of experience with the grief that people go through, as well. I’m old enough to have had some grief in my own life and to understand that about people. I’ve done a lot of continuing legal education. I’ve done a lot of reading about grief and the impact on the family. I’ve shared those experiences with other attorneys and other clients over the years.
You need somebody who is willing to connect with the family, who is willing to spend the time to find out what the total loss really is— the real loss, the emotional loss, the impact on the family, because every family is a unit. Suddenly, a person is missing from that unit that’s not there anymore. There’s not a wholeness to the family. You need somebody to be able to tell people about that loss, and I have been successful in doing that many times. Part of the journey is learning about what people have gone through and being able to present that. Keep that in mind and, if we can help you with your case, please feel free to call us at our office in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Cost to Pursue a Wrongful Death Claim
In Wyoming, it’s always a concern when I’m dealing with people that have lost a loved one to wrongful death whether or not they have enough money to handle the case. That’s why our system is so beautiful, because it doesn’t matter how much money you have. If you have this kind of case, we can handle it. If it’s a good case, a case that we want to handle, you can have the best legal representation available in Wyoming and have to pay no money down at all because of something known as a contingency fee contract. Under a contingency fee contract, if we don’t collect anything, you don’t pay us anything.
Now, on top of that, we take the risk of hiring the experts, paying the court reporters for depositions and things like that— all the expenses of the wrongful death case. We handle those costs on your behalf, if we take your case. In the event that we lose the case for some reason or don’t recover anything, you pay us nothing. If we do win, however, you have to pay us a percentage of the case. It’s a beautiful system because it means that you can hire a lawyer like me that would charge hundreds of dollars an hour and still afford me, even though you don’t have any money. It makes you are on an even plane with the big corporations, the big companies that have highly expensive attorneys to defend these kinds of cases. You can have an attorney just as good as theirs, and you can have an attorney that’s had experience on both sides of personal injury cases like me on your side. It’s a good deal. It’s a good situation for a person because it puts you in a position to compete with big insurance companies. If you have other questions, let us know at my office in Cheyenne.
Partial Fault Wrongful Death Claim
There’s a situation in Wyoming where a person that dies because of the wrongful conduct of somebody else can also be partially at fault for their own death. That can happen. We have to evaluate every case, and usually there is some fault on the part of the injured party. The law in Wyoming recognizes that they can have some fault in their loss and still recover. The answer to the question is you can still recover. Another question is how much. If it’s significant enough, we may not want to handle the case or we may recommend you not go forward with the case, but every case is different. If the decedent is 10 or 15% at fault for their own death, they can have a pretty good claim for the other 90 or 85% of a claim. It’s average, so every case is different. We have to look at every case, and that’s why you have an attorney like me on your case. Give us a call in Cheyenne, Wyoming if you have more questions.
Recovering Punitive Damages
People sometimes wonder if they can collect punitive damages in a wrongful death case. The answer is, yes, you can. In fact, I have a case in Wyoming in federal court right now in which a wrongful woman was killed in a collision. The driver of a semi-tractor trailer drove off and left the scene with people in a roll-over vehicle off the highway. Nobody saw the crash, and he left them to die. Now, we collected punitive damages in that case because he drove off. Not only did he drive off, he communicated with his trucking company. The driver and the president of the trucking company concocted a story that they told to the trooper about hitting a deer. In that kind of case, you can get punitive damages. In fact, the wrongful death statute itself calls for exemplary damages in the right kind of case. Exemplary damages, of course, is another term for punitive damages, so yes, you can collect punitive damages in the right wrongful death case. That is a powerful deterrent to companies. If you have some punitive damages in the right case, it can look like you won’t prevent those kinds of issues in the future. Give us a call if you have more questions at my office in Cheyenne.
A wrongful death survivor in Wyoming in somebody that was related under the statute to the decedent, including a wife, a child, a father, or a mother. It could be even more extended family, as long as it’s a family member that had a connection to that person and lost care, comfort, and society of that person. We have to evaluate every case on its merits and what those people – what they’re relationship was and how they miss that person. It can even be an adopted child of the decedent, that is the person that died. We have to evaluate every case. Every case is different. Sometimes people may be closely related, say a child, but there is a division in the family where they don’t communicate on a regular basis. That will impact how much the case is worth for that particular individual. We can still bring that kind of case, and some people in the family will get more than others in the family or have a stronger case that could be argued to the jury. It depends on the case. It depends on the relationship. Every family is different.
People do understand. A friend of mine tried a case in Nevada, and in that case, the sister had died. She would not see her brothers except once a year. They were in Wisconsin, but they would talk every week on the telephone. It would be a long, extended conversation on the phone. That was a substantial case, a substantial loss to those brothers even though they were elderly themselves at the time. It was a big loss to them having lost their sister, their younger sister, in a tragic event. Every case is different. We have to take into consideration every case. We’ll look at your case if you call us in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Wrongful Death Claim Value
In Wyoming, wrongful death cases are somewhat limited in that you’re not able to collect from that actual pain and suffering of the individual as they die, which sometimes is significant in these cases. I had a burn case. The suffering of the person who died was very significnat, but you’re not able to collect that anymore. All you’re able to collect is the loss of care, comfort, and society to the family members, what they lost from that person. If you have a family member that hasn’t seen the decedent for many years and not had any communication for many years, that’s less of a loss than a spouse who sees the person every day has that loss of the care, comfort, and society of that person. Also, you need to take into consideration the economic loss of that person’s income to every particular member of the family. The whole family may have a claim, but it’s limited by the fact that it’s only loss of the care, comfort, and society or the actual financial contribution of the decedent. Those are the kinds of things that come into the equation of what is a loss in a wrongful death.
The most recent wrongful death case I tried was a wrongful death case from a truck running into the back of someone and killing the passenger in which I represented the family. The family was not even living in the same state as the decedent. Though the family lived in another state and didn’t have contact all the time, about once a year they had real contact. We were still able to regain because the contact was significant at those once-a-year events. We were able to get a pretty good recovery from the jury in that case, plus we also had another factor of punitive damages against the driver who had driven off and left the people to die. That was a significant factor in case. All those things are taken into account when we evaluate a wrongful death case. We have to look at your case, so certainly feel free to call us at our office in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Wrongful Death Settlement Process and Timeline
Wrongful death cases in Wyoming take some time to resolve, of course. Part of the time needed is to prepare, and of course, there’s a very short statute of limitations of two years on a wrongful death case. The sooner we get to work on a case like that, the better chance we have to preserve the evidence and gather evidence. You’re looking at from the time that we get the case until the end of the case somewhere between a year and three years in a wrongful death case because of the time it takes to prepare; and of course, we have to file suit fairly soon because of the short statute of limitations. We have to take all that into account. If the case is in a federal court, once it’s filed, we’ll be at trial between nine and twelve months or settle the case during that period of time. In state court, it’s slower, unfortunately. It will probably be somewhere between two years and three years if the case resolves, so it depends on what kind of court you’re in. Of course, our philosophy is we prepare the case as if we’re going to try the case, because you may very well have to try the case. If you’re going to get an accurate settlement, a real settlement on the other side, you have to be prepared to try the case. Always keep that in mind, and feel free to call us at our office in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Call Wyoming Wrongful Death Attorney Fred Harrison Today
Don’t settle for the first person you meet who handles wrongful death cases. Hire the Wyoming wrongful death attorney who knows how these cases function inside and out. Hire the attorney who you know will provide thorough investigation. Hire the attorney who you know is willing to take this case all the way to trial, if need be, and won’t settle for a low offer just to get this case over with.
We can make this tough time a little easier by taking over the wrongful death claim for you. These cases are tricky. We want to get started right away so you and your family end up with a successful result. Call us now for a free consultation with Fred Harrison.