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Wrongful Death

Iowa Wrongful Death Attorneys

Losing a loved one is always a tragic experience. The tragedy is compounded when you lose your loved one suddenly, through the negligence of another person’s actions. Not only do you have to deal with unexpected loss and unexpected costs of mounting medical bills and funeral expenses, but now you have to deal with a lawsuit.

You should never have to go through this process alone, which is why it is important to speak with an experienced wrongful death attorney. The personal injury attorneys at Mueller, Schmidt, Mulholland & Cooling have the understanding and compassion to help you through these trying times. We can fight to get you the compensation you deserve. We know that no amount of money can replace the life you lost, but it can help with unforeseen costs and future living expenses. Call us to schedule a free consultation with one of our wrongful death lawyers.

Why Do You Need a Wrongful Death Attorney?

A wrongful death lawyer can assist you and help you understand what a wrongful death claim is and how to file a lawsuit properly. They can also assist in determining the appropriate course of action, whether through the court system or through out-of-court settlement negotiations. An experienced attorney will always work with their client to achieve the desired results using the methods that are most effective for them.

Families who have lost loved ones as a result of another person’s negligence or wrongful behavior might seek help from wrongful death lawyers. Attorneys will file wrongful death lawsuits on your behalf and fight for monetary compensation to help you deal with the financial ramifications of a loved one’s untimely death.

In wrongful death cases, determining liability is critical. An experienced lawyer will be able to establish who is responsible and hold them accountable. This can sometimes be more than one individual, and proving it when there was no outward act might be challenging.

What is a Wrongful Death Claim?

When one person dies as a result of the legal fault or negligence of another person or entity, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed under Iowa law on their behalf. In any case, where the person may have claimed a personal injury claim if he or she had lived, a wrongful death claim can be filed. A wrongful death lawsuit operates much like a personal injury lawsuit–an individual is filing a lawsuit against another person for their negligent behavior. The only difference is that the person filing the claim is filing on behalf of someone’s estate and not for themselves.

Similar to other forms of personal injury claims, the defendant’s guilt in a wrongful death claim (civil lawsuit) is expressed solely in the award from the trial or settlement. The compensation gained from the suit is paid to the decedent’s estate or surviving loved ones.  On the other hand, a criminal conviction can result in a jail or prison sentence, probation, or other penalties.

Wrongful death lawsuits can result from car accidents, medical malpractice, catastrophic accidents, construction accidents, brain injuries, back injuries, workplace injuries, and other negligent actions.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

In some jurisdictions, the surviving family members of a deceased person are able to file a wrongful death claim. In Iowa, however, the estate’s personal representative (sometimes known as the “executor”) is required to initiate a wrongful death claim. If no personal representative is named—for example, if the deceased individual was a minor with no assets or died without a will—the court will select someone to function as personal representative.

In Iowa, most wrongful death claims must be submitted within two years after the date of death, according to legislation known as the “statute of limitations.” The court will most likely refuse to consider the case if the claim is not filed before the statute of limitations expires, according to Iowa Code 614.1.

If the death was caused by medical misconduct, there may be an exception to the filing deadline.

What Damages Can You Collect in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

The court orders the defendant to pay “damages”—or the plaintiff’s claimed losses—to the deceased person’s survivors or estate in successful wrongful death litigation. The sorts of damages paid in Iowa vary depending on the facts of the case, however, the court will calculate the amount based on a number of categories of losses, including:

  • interest on funeral and burial expenses from the date of the person’s death to the date he or she would have died absent the wrongful act
  • lost wages, benefits, and other earnings
  • loss of the value of a deceased spouse’s, parent’s, or child’s services and support, and the deceased’s pain and suffering
  • loss of companionship

Iowa’s wrongful death provisions are outlined in Iowa law 613.15, 613.15A, and 633.336. When a wrongful act results in death, the damages recovered are disposed of as personal property belonging to the deceased’s estate; however, if the damages include damages for loss of services and support of a deceased spouse, parent, or child, the damages are apportioned by the court among the decedent’s surviving spouse, children, and parents in a manner that the court deems equitable consistent with the loss of services and support.

Des Moines Wrongful Death Lawyers at Mueller, Schmidt, Mulholland & Cooling

If you believe your loved one died as a result of someone else’s negligence, a wrongful death case may be warranted. There isn’t anything more heartbreaking than a loved one’s premature death, which has far-reaching consequences for the surviving family. They must deal with not only their grief and loss but also the financial strain that comes with a death caused by someone else’s negligence.

Contact the Des Moines wrongful death lawyers at the law firm of Mueller, Schmidt, Mulholland & Cooling today to discuss your case and all legal options. If you have lost a loved one from any type of fatal accident, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim. We can provide sound legal advice through a free initial consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys. You can reach us online or by phone at (515) 444-4000. Our offices are located in Des Moines, Iowa.