Seattle Wrongful Death Lawyer | Trial Preparation

Wrongful death claims generally must be brought by a person immediately related to the deceased, such as a spouse. A Seattle Wrongful Death Lawyer may be able to negotiate a settlement without going to court, but at times a lawsuit becomes necessary.

Who is the wrongful death lawsuit for?
A wrongful death lawsuit is brought on behalf of the survivors, not the decedent. As such, a Seattle Wrongful Death Lawyer will seek damages suffered by those who are left such as loss of financial support and companionship.

Steps to Trial

A) Filing the lawsuit
Before filing a lawsuit your lawyer will conduct a final investigation. While the process forward is complex, the basic steps are as follows:

1. Your Seattle wrongful death lawyer files a Summons and Complaint with the court.
2. The defendant is served with the Summons. At this point you become the plaintiff in the action.
3. The defendant’s insurance company now hires a lawyer who files an Answer to the Complaint. The purpose of this document is generally to deny culpability, usually by suggesting that either the deceased or another individual/entity was responsible for the wrongful death.

B) Discovery
Discovery is, as the name suggests, a means of gathering information and is conducted by both sides. You will need to be involved in this aspect of your wrongful death case.

1. Interrogatories – These are questions requiring written answers. Either side can serve these on the other. You must answer them as truthfully as if you were testifying in court. We will assist you in understanding the questions and answering them appropriately.
2. Depositions – These amount to testimony given by relevant parties with a court reporter present. While depositions are usually taken in an office, they are taken under oath and may become a part of trial testimony.
3. Requests for production of documents – Both sides ask for copies of documents, such as the autopsy if one was performed, as well as medical reports, witness statements, police reports—any document that is important to the case.
4. Requests for admissions – These are brought to expedite matters. Certain issues in a case which are not in dispute, such as the fact of the decedent’s death, are included as accepted facts.
5. Pretrial procedures – This includes motions and procedural issues.

C) Final Preparation for Trial
Your Seattle wrongful death lawyer will make final preparations, during which time he/she may seek video depositions of doctors or the medical examiner, write briefs, meet with witnesses, and make appearances before the trial judge.

Sometimes the insurance company will agree to settle before the actual trial begins. If not, your trial will be placed on the judge’s calendar.

A Seattle Wrongful Death Lawyer will ensure that all you have the best chance of gaining compensation for your loss. While nothing can take the place of a lost loved one, having one’s financial burden lightened definitely helps. Call the Law Offices of Travis Eller today for a consultation at 206-801-1188.

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