We are Wrongful Death Attorneys who provide legal representation in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey & Pennsylvania.
The purpose of the Delaware Wrongful Death Act is to permit the recovery of damages for the loss of a family member. A statute is a tool in our arsenal. It is a tool that we use to hold people and companies accountable for acting carelessly, recklessly, intentionally and causing death. Delaware’s wrongful death statute is found in the Delaware Code at Title 10, Chapter 37.
A lawsuit for wrongful death may be brought by the spouse, parent, child, and siblings of the deceased person.
The purpose of the statute is to fairly compensate the family for their loss resulting from the death. In determining the amount of the award the court or jury may consider the loss of financial benefit, loss of contributions for support, loss of parental, marital or household services, reasonable funeral expenses, and mental anguish of the spouse and children of the deceased (and others under certain circumstances).
There can only be one wrongful death lawsuit. If one family member files a suit, all others must participate or they will lose their ability to recover.
The suit must be filed within two years under Delaware’s statute of limitations. We have successfully represented clients in Delaware wrongful death cases involving the loss of a parent and the loss of a child.
THREE THINGS TO DO NOW IN A DELAWARE WRONGFUL DEATH CASE: If you have lost a family member due to the negligence of another, you should take the following steps now to protect your rights and hold the wrongdoer accountable:
1. Contact a qualified wrongful death attorney. Many attorneys advertise for these types of cases, but few actually invest the time and money to make them a success or have the skills needed to battle the insurance industry’s top defense lawyers. Wrongful death cases are often very complicated, can be legally and medically technical, and take a long time and a lot of money to prosecute. You need an attorney who is smart enough to understand the fine points of the law and the case, and tenacious enough to see the case through to the end. Furthermore, you need a law firm with the financial strength to hire the best experts. Wrongful death cases can cost tens of thousands of dollars to prosecute (not counting the attorneys’ fees). Do your “family lawyer” who did grandma’s will and the settlement on your house have the jury trial experience and the financial ability to aggressively prosecute a case such as yours? If not, find a real wrongful death lawyer.
2. Get support. Surround yourself with family members and friends who can provide emotional support. Further, seek the opportunity to speak to a professional counselor, such as a pastor, priest or rabbi. If you are not religious, speak to a psychologist or licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). Even if you don’t think you need counseling, do it. It will not hurt to speak to someone because they will likely teach you coping mechanisms that will help get you through the lowest of the lows. Seeking help is not a sign of weakness. Rather, it is a mark of courage. Ask family members, friends, or even your primary care doctor for a referral.
3. Don’t pay any bills for the deceased person, and don’t notify any creditors of the deceased person that he or she died, until after you talk to a lawyer. The family members are generally not responsible for the deceased’s debts. We have had more than one client in a wrongful death case who, after their spouse died, took on the individual debts of the deceased when they should not have. We have had more than one client who paid bills they didn’t need to pay with money that should have been used for their own well being. When your life feels like it’s falling apart, you don’t have your head on straight, and everything is a blur, don’t expect the bill collectors to do what is right for you. They are just trying to make their numbers and they will circle like vultures until you pay them.
Statute of Limitations: a statute of limitations is a law that limits the time in which you may file a lawsuit. In wrongful death or accidental death cases in Delaware, the statute of limitations is two years. It is important to hire a competent and qualified Delaware wrongful death attorney as soon as possible to protect your legal rights by investigating your claim and filing suit on your behalf in a timely manner.
Aggressive Drivers. We prosecute aggressive drivers who kill. According to Delaware’s Office of Highway Safety, aggressive driving encompasses such offenses as tailgating, failure to yield the right of way, running stop signs, running red lights, and making lane changes when unsafe to do so. Every year in Delaware, dozens of drivers, passengers and pedestrians are struck and killed by aggressive drivers. In Delaware in 2010, there were 92 fatal traffic accidents. Of those, 39 or 42% were the results of aggressive driving behavior. If you or your family member has fallen victim to an aggressive driver, contact us as soon as possible to protect your legal rights.
According to data from the International Traffic Safety Data and Analysis Group (IRTAD), there are many more automobile-related accidental death cases in the U.S. than in other countries. In 2009, we had 33,808 traffic fatalities. Compare that with 2,209 in Canada, 2,337 in the United Kingdom, and 2,714 in Spain that year.
Schwartz & Schwartz handles wrongful death and accidental death cases in New Castle County, Kent County, and Sussex County, Delaware.
If you need to speak to a wrongful death attorney for an accident or incident in any of the following areas, please contact us today: