If your loved one was killed during an assault, it's important that you allow the criminal justice system to do its job. There will be criminal prosecutors doing their jobs to make sure that the person responsible for your loved one's death is brought to justice. But that doesn't mean you have to wait for your own sense of justice. You can proceed through the civil courts. While the criminal case is proceeding through the court system, you can bring your own civil lawsuit against the defendant. This type of civil claim is called wrongful death. A wrongful death lawsuit will allow you to seek monetary compensation for the death of your loved one. You might think that you need to wait until the criminal case is completed, but that's not the case. If you're going to file a wrongful death claim against the person who killed your loved one, there are some steps you'll need to take. Here are some of those steps.
Understand the Statute of Limitations
If your loved one passed away as the result of a criminal act, it can be difficult to think about anything else. You want to make sure that the person responsible is brought to justice. But if you plan to file a wrongful death lawsuit, you also need to think about the statute of limitations. This is the legal time limit you have to file a wrongful death claim. In most cases, that's counted from the time that the defendant is identified. That ensures that victims' families have enough time to file a wrongful death lawsuit. To make sure you don't miss the deadline, it's important that you track those dates carefully.
Obtain the Necessary Reports
If you're going to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the person who killed your loved one during an assault, you need to obtain the proper documents. There are a number of reports that you'll need to have before you file your claim. Two of those documents include the police report and the coroner's report. If there were witnesses to the assault, you should also obtain copies of their statements. Those reports will provide you with the information you need to file your case.
Know Your Rights to File Suit
If you lost your loved one to an assault, it's important that you understand your rights to file suit. Wrongful death claims can't be filed by everyone. There are specific groups of people who are entitled by law to file wrongful death lawsuits. In most cases, those people include spouses, parents, and children of the victim. If you believe that you have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the person who killed your loved one, you need to speak to a wrongful death attorney right away.