Weber County Wrongful Death Attorney
Losing a loved one is a devastating experience, especially when the death was preventable. When a death is caused by another person’s careless actions, the decedent’s surviving family members may be able to bring a claim or file a lawsuit against the person or business responsible for the accident.
While nothing can undo what has already happened, compensation can help to provide greater financial security for you and your children, now and into the future. Even more importantly, holding the guilty party accountable for their actions can help provide the sense of closure you need to begin healing and moving forward. Our attorneys will be there to support you and your loved ones in the fight for the justice your family deserves.
Schedule a Free Legal Consultation with an Experienced Utah Wrongful Death Lawyer
As the surviving spouse, child, or parent of a wrongful death victim, you and your loved ones may have a right to be compensated for funeral bills, loss of income, and other hardships resulting from the accident. But you don’t have to worry about dealing with insurance or complicated legal paperwork. That is what our law firm is here to take care of. All you need to focus on is taking care of yourself.
Darwin Overson has more than 33 years of legal experience handling wrongful death suits for families throughout Weber County, including Farr West, Harrisville, Marriott-Slaterville, Ogden, Pleasant View, Roy, and other local communities. Darwin handles accidental death claims and lawsuits involving:
- Slip and Fall Accidents
- Defective Products (Product Liability)
- Harmful Medications
- Medical Malpractice
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Swimming Pool Accidents
- Auto Accidents
- Car Crashes
- Bus Crashes
- Motorcycle Crashes
- Truck Accidents
Darwin is sensitive to the deeply personal and painful nature of these types of cases. Rest assured you will always be treated with compassion, dignity, and respect. Whenever you are ready, call Darwin at (801) 895-3143 for a confidential consultation completely free of charge. It is never too late at night or too early in the morning to give Darwin a call.
Understanding Negligence: What Makes a Death Wrongful
Under the legal definition supplied at Utah Code § 78B-3-106, a death is considered to be wrongful when it is caused by another person’s “wrongful act or neglect.”
A person acts with neglect, or negligence, when he or she doesn’t meet the standard of care that a reasonable person would exercise under similar conditions. Stated another way, negligence describes a failure to take adequate precautions against foreseeable death or injury. This might involve taking the wrong action, such as speeding while driving, or failing to take the right action, such as failing to diagnose a condition which would have been apparent to other doctors with similar qualifications.
The plaintiff has the burden of proof, which means he or she is responsible for proving the defendant was responsible. This may be accomplished through various sources and types of evidence, such as expert testimony, wreckage analysis, eyewitness accounts, medical records, photographs and video footage, and vehicle or equipment maintenance records.
In addition to proving that the defendant was negligent or otherwise acted wrongly, the plaintiff also needs to prove that:
- The defendant’s actions, or lack thereof, are what caused the fatal accident.
- The defendant’s actions resulted in harm (e.g. medical bills, funeral bills, loss of income).
If the plaintiff is able to prove these facts, it may be possible to obtain compensation.
What Compensation is Available for Surviving Family Members in Utah?
Compensation for wrongful death or personal injury is also called “damages.” Damages in a wrongful death case are meant to help compensate the decedent’s surviving beneficiaries for expenses and hardships such as:
- Loss of the decedent’s pension and/or insurance benefits.
- Loss of the decedent’s income and financial support for the family.
- Medical expenses, such as ambulance rides, surgery, imaging, medical equipment, hospitalization, and other related costs.
- Funeral and burial expenses.
- Pain and suffering.
These are considered “compensatory” damages, because their purpose is purely to compensate the survivors. However, in some situations, the court might also order “pecuniary” damages, which are meant to punish the defendant for egregious wrongdoing.
Some states place limits on how much compensation the plaintiff can receive. These limits are known as “damages caps.”
Utah does not impose damages caps upon “economic” damages (also called “special” damages), meaning compensation for financial losses (e.g. hospital bills). “Non-economic” damages (also called “general” damages), or compensation for pain and suffering, used to be capped at $450,000 in wrongful death cases arising from medical malpractice. However, the Utah Supreme Court ruled that these caps were unconstitutional in 2015.
We know it isn’t easy to discuss the death of a loved one. Take your time, and know that whenever you wish to reach out, we’ll be here to help you start exploring the options that may be available. Call our law offices day or night at (801) 895-3143 to schedule a free and confidential legal consultation.