Our Wrongful Death Practice
Please accept our condolences on the loss of your loved one. Perhaps the only part worse than losing a loved one is knowing that it did not have to happen.
Our wrongful death practice is focused on meticulously building and advancing the cases of our clients and seeking to recover for them full compensation. We accept all types of wrongful death cases.
We Are Trial Lawyers – How Your Case May Benefit
A popular misconception is that all personal injury lawyers have trial experience. This is not the case. Today, it is believed that approximately 95% of all personal injury cases settle prior to trial. Because of this high percentage, even many personal injury lawyers who have been practicing law for years have never tried a case before a jury.
Our firm is different.
We have had numerous jury trials, and have recovered tens of millions of dollars for our clients in trials ranging from personal injury cases to complex business matters.
We believe that our trial experience benefits our clients in two important respects. First, defendants and insurance companies know of our trial experience, and that we will not hesitate to take a case to trial if an acceptable and fair settlement offer is not forthcoming. Second, in the event a case does go to trial, we have the experience to know how to try a case to a jury. You won’t need to be concerned about your case being our first trial.
Filing a Wrongful Death Case in Utah
Under Utah’s wrongful death statute, the family members entitled to recover for a loved one’s death include:
The surviving spouse,
Surviving adult children (including adoptive children),
Surviving parents (including adoptive parents),
Surviving stepchildren who were under age 18 at the time of the death, and who were financially dependent upon the decedent,
Certain other blood relatives as specified in Utah statutes.
A wrongful death claim may be filed on behalf of these classes of individuals by a personal representative of the estate of the decedent. Often, this person will be named in a will or trust, but if a person has not been named to act in such capacity in these documents, we can assist with the declaration of a personal representative for purposes of a wrongful death lawsuit. As legal counsel, we thereafter will work with and take our direction from the personal representative.
What Types of Compensation May Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Case in Utah?
In Utah, the types of compensation that may be recovered in a wrongful death include:
Property damage, such as if a car or other vehicle was destroyed in a crash
Reasonable funeral and burial costs
The costs of medical treatment and any associated costs arising out of the care and treatment of the injury which resulted in death
Lost wages that the decedent would have earned over the remaining course their working lifetime
Loss of consortium/companionship, which means the love and affection for which the surviving family members were deprived, and, with respect to minor children, the loss of parental instruction, guidance, and affection that would otherwise have been provided by the deceased spouse.
In some types of cases, punitive damages (which are damages designed to punish wrongdoers in certain egregious cases of wrongful conduct)
Other damages that can be shown resulted directly from the loved one’s death.
Calculating and Recovering for Lost Wages
Calculating lost wages requires retaining an experienced wage loss expert. This expert will then consider the current earnings of the decedent, the opportunities for advancement and increased wages that likely would have been earned, bonuses and other fringe benefits, and the number of years the decedent likely would have worked. Once these factors are known, the expert will determine the present value of such amounts, and this amount will be sought at trial.
Calculating and Recovering for Loss of Consortium/Companionship
Calculating and recovering for loss of consortium/companionship is a much less exact science. Ultimately, juries will make this determination based upon the evidence introduced at trial, often taking into account matters such as the relationships of the family members, the number and ages of minor children, and other factors that the jury deems to be relevant.
Our role is to show the jury the full scope that the loss of your loved one has had on the family unit. We can do so by introducing testimony, video, and other evidence so that the jury can more fully appreciate the loss of your loved one.
We Accept Wrongful Death Cases on a Contingency Fee Basis, and Advance All Costs
You have just lost a loved one, and likely will not only be going through the grief process, but also trying to figure out how to pay the bills and sort through financial matters. You shouldn’t have to be concerned with paying legal fees or costs during this difficult period.
We offer full service representation, and will be available when you need us. We can meet with you during off-work hours (including nights and weekends) to answer your questions. We will help you sort through medical and other bills associated with your loved one’s death, and will advise healthcare providers and insurance companies that litigation is pending seeking a recovery for costs associated with your loved one’s death.
You will not owe us any fee for our representation while your case is proceeding, as our fee will be deducted from any compensation that is received. If there is no recovery, you will not owe us any fee.
We also will advance costs that are incurred on your behalf while litigation is proceeding, such as court costs, expert fees, and costs related to depositions. These fees will also be deducted from any compensation received (our engagement letter describes this process in full).
We offer a no-risk, no-obligation free consultation so that you can meet with us and learn about our representation and the options that are available for recovery from those legally responsible for your loved one’s death. We can also answer any questions that you might have at that time about the legal process.