Falmouth is a city in Maine that has been featured in a number of stories and novels by Stephen King, including Salem's Lot, a novel involving vampires. As in other cities, serious car accidents happen in Falmouth, sometimes causing catastrophic injury or death. If a loved one is killed in a car accident caused by somebody else, you should retain an experienced Falmouth wrongful death attorney to recover compensation for any injuries you've suffered.Who May Recover For Wrongful Death in Falmouth and How?
Wrongful death claims may be brought within 2 years of an accident victim's death. They are distinct from the survival claims that belong to the deceased. Instead, wrongful death claims belong to statutory beneficiaries. Usually the beneficiaries are the spouse and minor children. When no spouse survives, a decedent's children are next in line to be able to file suit, and if there are no children, the deceased's heirs may sue. If the decedent is a minor, his or her parents may be beneficiaries. Wrongful death claims vest in a particular beneficiary at the time of death.
Bringing a wrongful death claim allows beneficiaries to recover for any future benefit that would have been received from the decedent had he or she not died. However, it does not include conscious pre-death suffering, which may be recovered through a survival claim.
The damages a beneficiary may recover are: pecuniary injuries, medical and funeral expenses, up to $400,000 non-pecuniary damages like loss of comfort and emotional distress, and up to $75,000 in punitive damages. Courts sometimes differ about which damages are "non-pecuniary." Consulting an attorney is a good idea if you think your wrongful death case involves significant monetary damages.
The damages that may be recovered are evaluated based on the relationship between an individual beneficiary and the decedent. This means that a beneficiary with a close relationship with a decedent may be able to recover more than someone with a more distant relationship. The beneficiary can recover for loss of consortium of the deceased, for example, but if a claimant was not close to the decedent, the amount recovered may be negligible or nonexistent.
Once wrongful death claims vest, a beneficiary cannot pursue a common law remedy, such as a lawsuit for bystander liability. This can lead to odd results. For example, a daughter who witnesses her parent's death cannot assert a bystander claim if she is the beneficiary. However, if her mother is the wrongful death beneficiary, the daughter can pursue the bystander claim.Retain a Falmouth Car Accident Lawyer to Pursue Damages for Accidents and Wrongful Death
After a loved one dies in a car accident, it is normal to be overwhelmed with grief or to be in one of the stages of grief, including anger at the other driver. But you may also be wondering how you'll take care of ordinary living expenses and how you'll pay off medical and funeral expenses. It is important to consult an attorney before you talk to the other driver's insurance company. Although agents for the other driver often feign friendliness in order to get you to open up, they do not owe you any duties of loyalty, care or honesty. Their duty is to their own insured. Retaining a Falmouth car accident attorney can help you find a way to pay all these bills and give you time to grieve your loved one properly. Contact Peter Thompson & Associates at 1.800.804.2004 or via our online form for a free consultation.