Losing a loved one is always traumatic, but when the death was caused by someone else’s negligence and could have been prevented, it can be particularly devastating. Wrongful death cases are challenging to prove and seek compensation for, but you don’t have to navigate them alone. A wrongful death attorney can help determine the value of your case and whether it’s worth pursuing.
However, hiring an attorney costs money—and sometimes quite a bit of money, depending on the nature of the case. So how much does it cost to hire an attorney for a wrongful death lawsuit? Keep reading for what you need to know.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Attorney for a Wrongful Death Case?
While justice is free, hiring a lawyer can be expensive. But the good news is that you usually only have to pay if you win your case.
An attorney may charge anywhere between 30 and 40 percent of the wrongful death settlement for their services, but you may meet a lawyer with an hourly rate. This can be anywhere from $150 to $700. You might also have to pay a retainer fee, which is basically a deposit that covers legal fees before they are due.
The best way to find out how much it will cost is by getting in touch with a wrongful death lawyer directly. If you are worried about being able to afford legal representation, ask for a free consultation to hear your options.
Examples of Wrongful Death
There are many kinds of wrongful death cases, but most fall into the following categories:
- Car accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Fatal food poisoning
- Death caused by a defective product
- Death caused by career responsibilities (for example, a nurse passing from exhaustion after weeks of overtime)
If your loved one passed from any of these causes, it may entitle you to compensation.
How a Wrongful Death Claim Works
If you’ve lost a loved one and believe another party is responsible, reach out to a wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney will probably ask for:
- The circumstances of your loved one’s death
- Any evidence you have of the other party’s responsibility
- Contact information for witnesses
- A list of your damages (Funeral and burial expenses, loss of earnings and companionship, etc.)
Damages in a wrongful death claim are meant to compensate survivors for their losses. However, in some states, punitive damages may also be available if the defendant’s actions were especially reckless.
Is There a Time Limit on Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The statute of limitations varies by state and depends on the details of the accident. Generally, it’s two years from the date of death in most states—and sometimes even less if there were witnesses or evidence that survived.
Get Justice for Your Loved Ones
If you’re lucky, you can find an attorney who will take your wrongful death case without requiring upfront payments. But the cost of hiring an attorney should not be the determining factor when deciding whom you want on your side. This may well be the most important legal battle you ever fight, so you’ll need to hire an attorney that’ll give you the best chance at winning.
To learn more about how to select the best legal team for your case, read some of our other posts on the subject. Justice is waiting for you.