Wrongful Death Attorneys
In Maine, there are three major steps that need to be taken in order for a wrongful death claim to be filed.
The first step before a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed in Maine is to have someone designated as the deceased’s “Personal Representative”. Sometimes the deceased has a Will that names the person the deceased would want to act as Personal Representative. If there is no Will, the remaining spouse or other close family member can be appointed.
The second step in a wrongful death lawsuit is to prove (1) that the wrongdoer was careless and that the negligence of the wrongdoer was more responsible for the death than anything that your loved one did, and (2) that your loved one’s death was caused by the wrongdoer’s act, and not some unrelated condition or mishap.
The approach to proving that the death was caused by someone’s carelessness or reckless conduct depends on the manner of death, the people or products involved, and numerous other factors. At Briggs & Wholey we are experienced in proving the cause of death due to car accidents, trucking accidents, medical malpractice, faulty products, nursing home negligence, motorcycle accidents and careless property maintenance. Whether the case calls for accident reconstruction, analysis of government regulations or detailed medical research and hiring experts, our firm is willing to do what it takes to win.
Third, and finally, the Personal Representative has to prove damages, including:
- The amount of income that the family will lose as a result of the death of their loved one.
- The value of the lost comfort, companionship, advice and guidance that the family will lose as a result of their family member’s death up to $500,000.
- The conscious pain and suffering experienced by the decedent between the injury and the death.
- The deceased’s medical and funeral expenses.
Insurance companies for careless drivers, negligent medical care providers, and companies whose products kill, will place the lowest possible value on the life of your deceased family member.
Some of the discussions that must take place touch on extremely sensitive subjects, such as the loss of a deceased father’s advice, discipline and guidance, or a mother’s special nurturing and parenting skill—valuable influences that children were relying on to guide them through childhood’s challenges. The death of a husband that managed the finances, or a wife that managed the home and meals, or a spouse that took care of the family’s property or provided the bulk of the children’s care—these are losses that are a mixture of money damages and emotional damages. Our attorneys and staff are experienced in helping our clients through these intimate reflections on the family’s loss that are a necessary part of the lawsuit process.
Except in medical malpractice cases, a family has only two years from the date of death to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. Many families still feel the death as a fresh injury after two years, yet action must be taken or there will never be a chance to recover compensation.
No lawsuit, no amount of money, can truly repay a family for the loss of a loved one. Money damages for a wrongful death are only meant to help minimize the devastating effects of the loss. Briggs & Wholey understands this, and will work to help your family recover all that the law allows.