Ben Schwartz gets personal: These are 3 questions from a Facebook viewer about a wrongful death case.
I’m Attorney Ben Schwartz and today I’m going to answer three questions posed to me by someone. Jenny from Facebook asked about wrongful death cases and wrongful death claims.
First, you wanted to know: “What is wrongful death? Can you define that for me?” Basically my definition of wrongful death is, it’s a personal injury case involving the death of someone. When I talk about a personal injury case, what goes into a personal injury case? Well, there has to be some negligent act or omission that resulted in the death of another person. Let me give you some examples. Let’s say we have a drunk driver, driving a tractor-trailer, and he runs through a red light. He smashes into a car and kills the passenger in that car. That would be a wrongful death case. The tractor-trailer driver is negligent and is doing something wrong. In other words, by driving drunk and by running through that red light, it’s a wrongful death case, because the person, the passenger, in the other vehicle, died.
The second question is: “Why would I consult with a lawyer if a family member died?” Well, my experience has been, so far, that most people go to a lawyer after a family member has died, because they want answers. They’re not getting answers from the hospital, from the doctor, or from the police. They want answers as to what happened and why did my family member die, or what didn’t happen, and why did my family member die? I think that the number one reason why people go to a lawyer after a family member passed away is to find out what happened. To get answers to basically cure their own curiosity. Not every case where someone has passed away turns into a wrongful death case, but lawyers have the ability to find out what happened. Get the reports, get the records, and investigate the matter. We have private investigators that we use and so we can oftentimes answer that question what happened and why.
The third question is: “If the person who caused the accident gets arrested and charged with a crime, should I still see a lawyer? Doesn’t the state have prosecutor’s lawyers on the case already?” The answer is yes, you should go see your own lawyer because the prosecutors in a criminal case are not there to represent you. The law may require them to take your thoughts and feelings into account and determining what plea they offer or how they prosecute the case. Those prosecutors are there to represent the state. The state brings criminal charges and the state prosecutes those criminal charges. The state really makes the decision through its prosecutors as to what happens with those criminal charges. Do they get plead out, do they get prosecuted to trial, or what level of criminal charges get brought. Those aren’t your decisions as the client, because you’re not the client of the prosecutor. If there’s been a death, and the person who caused the death has been charged with a crime, I would say you absolutely want to go get your own attorney and that way you’ve got someone guiding you through the process, because the state’s attorney is really not there to represent you.
Ben Schwartz is the Managing Partner of Schwartz & Schwartz, Attorneys at Law. If you are searching online for a personal injury attorney in New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Maryland, please contact Ben about your case. Ben and the other attorneys in the firm represent people who have been injured in car accidents, tractor-trailer and bus accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, and dog bites. We have offices in Havertown (suburban Philadelphia), PA, Wilmington, DE and Dover, Delaware. Contact us today to see if we can help you!