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Bozeman Wrongful Death Lawyer

Bozeman Wrongful Death Lawyer

No one wants to lose a loved one to an accident. When their death is due to someone else’s negligence, you may feel more than pain; you want to find answers surrounding their passing. In every case, these deaths were preventable, but due to the reckless or negligent behavior of an individual or entity, your loved one is no longer here.

Under these circumstances, you want a skilled and knowledgeable Bozeman wrongful death lawyer on your side. This is more than seeking closure; it’s about pursuing justice. By holding those responsible for your loved one’s passing, you can honor their memory.

At Western Justice Associates, PLLC, we are here to navigate the complex legal process surrounding wrongful death claims. Let us help you initiate the journey toward healing, fair compensation, and the justice your loved one deserves.

What Is Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death occurs when a person’s death is caused by the reckless or negligence of another individual or entity. These cases center around the duty of care principles. In these situations, an individual with the duty of care must take all precautions to avoid causing harm to others.

For example, medical providers have a duty of care to their patients. With that, they must be able to make professional and competent decisions. If they fail to do so, that can lead to a careless or reckless mistake, which could be the basis for a wrongful death claim.

Also, drivers must abide by the duty of care principles on the road. While operating a vehicle, they need to drive responsibly and safely to avoid getting into an accident. If any driver breaches this duty due to drunk driving, reckless driving, or other misconduct, they could be a liable party named in a wrongful death claim.

Employers also have a duty to make sure they have a safe working environment. If they allow employees to work in an unsafe space with known dangers, and that person dies, the employer could be named in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Proving Negligence

In wrongful death cases, negligence serves as the foundation of these claims.

Negligence shows a failure to uphold a duty of care that an individual would demonstrate under similar circumstances.

You can build a case for establishing liability when you have proved negligence in a wrongful death claim. However, these are not easy steps, and you need sufficient evidence to support your claim. The process of proving negligence involves a series of steps:

  • Establishing Duty of Care: With this first step, your legal team must show that the defendant powers your loved one a duty of care. For example, there was a patient-doctor relationship, or the other person was a driver on the road.
  • Breach of Duty: Once the duty of care is established, there must be proof that the defendant breached this obligation. There are two ways to demonstrate this step. The breach can either occur through an action, such as reckless driving, or a failure to act, like an employer failing to fix a hazard on a job site. In the legal arena, the standard used in these assessments is what a reasonable person would do in the same situation. If the defendant’s actions (or inaction) fall short in that aspect, they have breached their duty.
  • Causation: Establish the duty of care, and any breaches are the first steps; now you need to show that the breach resulted in the individual’s death. In most scenarios, your legal team needs to demonstrate that the death would not have occurred “but for” the defendant’s negligence.
  • Damages: Finally, to win a wrongful death claim, there has to be quantifiable damages, such as medical expenses, loss of income, funeral costs, loss of companionship, and other losses stemming from the person’s death.

Which Incidents Can Lead to a Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death can occur in a variety of situations. Here are some common types of accidents that can lead to these claims:

  • Car accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Birth injuries
  • Nursing home abuse
  • Defective products
  • Premises liability
  • Workplace accidents
  • Construction site accidents
  • Animal attacks
  • Violent crimes

The above are just some of the accidents and incidents that can lead to wrongful death claims. If you believe that someone’s negligence caused the death of a loved one, contact a Bozeman wrongful death lawyer today.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Montana?

In Montana, the personal representative of the deceased individual’s estate is responsible for initiating a wrongful death lawsuit. This representative can be designated in the deceased’s will or appointed by the court during probate. They act on behalf of the estate and potential beneficiaries to pursue legal action.

The personal representative is a trustee for any damages awarded in the lawsuit. They are not direct recipients but are responsible for distributing the award to the beneficiaries.

In Montana, these individuals are eligible to receive damages in a wrongful death lawsuit:

  • The spouse of the deceased
  • Minor children of a deceased parent
  • Parents of a deceased minor child
  • Under certain circumstances, parents of a deceased adult child, only if there is evidence of a close and interdependent relationship.

If you would like to take the steps to initiate a wrongful death claim, reach out to a Bozeman wrongful death lawyer.

How a Bozeman Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help Your Case

You will want to have a skilled attorney on your side for these cases. They can take the steps to build a strong case in your favor.

  • Gather evidence: Your legal team can help you collect all relevant documents, eyewitness accounts, and any available evidence related to the incident. With that evidence, you can have a solid foundation for your claim.
  • Establish negligence:Your attorney set out to prove the negligent or wrongful actions of the responsible party. They can assemble the puzzle to prove a breach of duty, causation, and the resulting damages.
  • Consult expert witnesses:They will use medical or accident reconstruction specialists to provide expert opinions to support your case. These insights can be instrumental in building a strong argument.
  • Document damages:Your legal team can accurately document economic and non-economic damages. They will gather evidence showing financial losses, medical expenses, funeral costs, and the emotional impact on the family.
  • Meet all deadlines:Under Montana law, you have a limited amount of time to file a claim. For wrongful death claims, there the statute of limitations is three years from the date of the victim’s death. However, if the wrongful death stems from a criminal homicide, that time limit is extended to ten years from the date of death.

A Bozeman wrongful death lawyer can help with all these steps. While filing a claim will not bring back your loved ones, you seek justice and compensation for their untimely passing.

Our legal team at Western Justice Associates, PLLC, always takes a compassionate approach to these cases. We know behind each claim, a family is suffering from the loss of their loved one. If you want to take the next steps in these claims, schedule your consultation with one of the attorneys today.

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