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Wrongful Death

Wrongful Death Lawyers in Missoula

Coping with the loss of a loved one can be one of the most trying times of your life. When your family member’s death was caused by another party’s negligence or wrongdoing, the grieving process only intensifies in these instances, you may have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit and receive the closure and financial compensation to which you and your family are entitled.

Bulman Jones & Cook PLLC has the resources to aid clients throughout Montana. Please contact the wrongful death attorneys at Bulman, Jones & Cook PLLC today for your free consultation.

A Wrongful Death occurs when a person is killed due to the negligence or misconduct of another party. Those who were dependent on, or a beneficiary of, may be entitled to monetary damages. In these situations, the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate may bring a wrongful death case to court, seeking damages from the person or company responsible for the death.

A wrongful death claim is essentially a Personal Injury case in which the injured person is no longer available to seek compensation on his or her own behalf. Instead, the personal representative must step in to seek compensation for the injuries leading to death.

While no amount of financial payment can ever compensate for the loss of a loved one, being financially secure in your future and the comfort of responsible parties being brought to justice can provide a sense of closure and security to survivors.

During your grieving period, consideration of a wrongful death lawsuit may not seem urgent-however, wrongful death cases must be filed within a specific time period or you risk losing your right to financial compensation.

You need the help of an experienced, wrongful death lawyer to guide you through the process and help you to receive the monetary damages you are entitled to. Call the wrongful death attorneys at Bulman Jones & Cook PLLC today to set up a Free Consultation.

What is Wrongful Death?

Wrongful Death is a type of legal claim involving an individual who has died as a result of injuries that could have been prevented. These injuries are usually caused by someone else’s negligence or failure to meet their duties. This includes all types of accidents, situations where Poorly Designed Products result in death, and times when individuals and companies don’t live up to their professional duties or other standards of care.

In Montana, Wrongful Death occurs when the “injuries to and the death of one person are caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another.” In these situations, the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate may bring a Wrongful Death case to court, seeking damages from the person or company responsible for the death.

Anytime the court can find a reasonable person should have acted differently than the negligent party, you may have grounds for a Wrongful Death lawsuit. Our Missoula Wrongful Death lawyers will review your unique circumstances in a free, private Consultation and thoroughly explain your possible courses of legal action.

In a Wrongful Death case, the wrongdoer’s intent in his or her actions does not matter so much as the legal result of that action. Negligent conduct does not require any ill will or evil intent. What must be proved is that the wrongdoer failed to act with reasonable care, that amount of care that a reasonable person would use to avoid injury or death to himself or to other persons. Where there is negligence, there is never a true “accident”, if death would have been avoided through the use of reasonable care, then the offending person has a legal responsibility to pay for their actions and the damages they have caused.

Dedicated and Compassionate Representation

At Bulman Jones & Cook PLLC, we are fully committed to caring for the survivors of wrongful death victims. Get the justice and financial support you deserve – contact us today for a Free Consultation or make an appointment by calling us.

Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Wrongful Deaths arising from negligent behavior can occur in a number of different ways, from Car Accidents to Medical Malpractice, from accidental drowning in an unguarded or unsafe swimming pool to unfortunate workplace incidents when improperly maintained machinery fails or toxic exposure occurs.

  • Medical Malpractice - Health care providers in Montana have a legal duty to follow the accepted standard in delivering medical care to patients. Most physicians want to help patients, but even the best doctors and hospitals can make a preventable error. When the doctor, nurse or hospital fails to follow the recognized standard of care and harms a patient as a result, the provider may be liable for medical malpractice.

  • Motor Vehicle Accidents - Whether it involves Drunk or Distracted Driving, Semi-Trucks, public transportation or a private commercial vehicle our legal system offers important ways to hold reckless drivers responsible for their actions. Bulman Jones & Cook PLLC offers clients extensive experience in the complex world of Motor Vehicle law, whether they are victims of Drunk Driving or have suffered because of a driver’s negligence.

  • Nursing Home Abuse - Elderly individuals in nursing homes and assisted living facilities typically have significant medical complications that demand constant attention, supervision, and medical care. Older individuals are more likely to succumb to illness or injury than younger people, but if a nursing home resident dies due to insufficient medical care, abuse, or a lack of basic needs being met, the deceased’s family may pursue a wrongful death claim against the nursing home or a nursing home employee.

  • Product Liability - A defective product can be dangerous and put you at risk of a significant personal injury. You need a product liability lawyer to fight for you in this difficult time. We’ll help you pursue the justice and compensation you deserve. At Bulman, Jones & Cook PLLC, we have access to a large database of expert witnesses who can testify that the product that hurt you was genuinely defective.

  • Slip and Fall Accidents - A slip and fall may sound like a minor incident at first, but a slip and fall might result in a traumatic brain injury or other fatal injuries. If a property owner was negligent in the care and maintenance of a property where a fatal slip and fall injury occurred, the deceased’s family or representative could file a wrongful death claim against the property owner.

  • Workplace and Industrial Accidents - Industrial accidents at factories, warehouses, construction sites, and other similar workplaces often produce serious injuries. Spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and burn injuries are real risks in many industrial situations. That’s why it’s critical you contact Bulman, Jones & Cook PLLC if you or a loved one is hurt in a serious industrial accident in Montana.

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Filing a Claim

Montana’s Wrongful Death statute specifies that “the personal representative of the decedent’s [meaning the deceased person’s] estate” may file a claim in court if injuries inflicted by another have caused the deceased person’s death.

If the deceased person is a child under age 18, the wrongful death claim may be filed by either one of the child’s parents, or by both parents together. If the child has no parents, the claim may be filed by the child’s legal guardian.

A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit, which means that the interested private parties must bring the claim to court themselves (usually with the help of an attorney). In this way, a wrongful death claim differs from a criminal case, in which charges are filed by the federal, state, or local prosecutor.

In a wrongful death claim, liability is expressed solely in terms of money damages (paid by a defendant who has been deemed legally responsible for the decedent’s death). By contrast, in a criminal case, guilt may be punished with a term of imprisonment, a fine, or other penalties.

Although family members cannot file criminal charges themselves, they may be asked to participate in a criminal case if one is filed in relation to the death, and the personal representative of the estate may file a wrongful death claim even if a criminal case is proceeding.

Available Damages

Damages in a Montana Wrongful Death case are intended to compensate the Estate or the surviving family members for the loss they suffered as a result of the deceased person’s untimely death. In Montana, damages may be either “economic” or “non-economic” in nature. Both types of damages may be recovered in a single Wrongful Death case.

In Montana, the defendants in a Wrongful Death case may ask for a statement detailing the damages that the personal representative is seeking. This statement must be made in writing and it must fulfill a number of other requirements.

  • Economic Damages - Economic damages include damages that you can easily attach a number to. For example, health care expenses prior to death, property losses, lost earnings, and funeral expenses are types of economic losses. When someone loses earnings and property or incurs an expense that is easily put into numbers, they are considered economic damages.

  • Non-Economic Damages - Non-economic damages include losses and damages that are much harder to put a number on. These include loss of consortium and the loss of services that the deceased provided to their loved ones. They also include the loss of care, guidance, and support that loved ones provide. Even when loved ones do not have income from a job, they can provide invaluable care and comfort to those they love. Non-economic damages attempt to compensate the deceased’s loved ones and family for the accident.

  • Punitive Damages - Punitive damages are damages that are intended to punish defendants and deter others from following their example. In New York, punitive damages are only available in rare cases where the conduct of the defendant was exceptionally bad or malicious. A lawyer can help you review your case and determine whether punitive damages may be available.

Statute of Limitations

Montana sets time limits on the filing of civil lawsuits, including wrongful death cases. A law that sets out this kind of time limit is called a “statute of limitations.”

Under Montana Code Annotated section 27-2-204, a Wrongful Death claim must be filed within three years of the date of the deceased person’s death. (Note: If the case stems from a criminal homicide, the time limit is bumped up to ten years for the filing of a civil claim for Wrongful Death.)

Claims that are not filed before the statute of limitations time period passes are typically thrown out of court without a hearing. Since a Wrongful Death lawsuit represents a significant chance for a family to recover damages after an untimely death, it is important to ensure a Wrongful Death claim is filed within the three-year time period.

Pursuing Justice for You and Your Family

Wrongful death claims can be overwhelming. They require careful investigation of the cause and circumstances of death. They also require skilled negotiation and, in some cases, aggressive action in court. Bulman, Jones & Cook PLLC can help you:

  • Investigate and build a wrongful death claim - If a wrongful death occurs, there will be many parties involved, including the defendants, insurance companies, and the authorities. The claim will need to address how the death happened, what caused it, and who knew what when. It’s a demanding process to investigate a death, and it can be painful for the loved ones left behind. The knowledgeable wrongful death attorneys at Bulman, Jones & Cook PLLC can help collect and preserve evidence, interview those involved, and make sure that the claim moves forward.

  • Negotiate a possible settlement - After an investigation, many at-fault parties will want to negotiate a settlement. They may try to low-ball the deceased’s loved ones and offer far less than they should. If a loved one has suffered a wrongful death, don’t assume that insurers will offer a fair amount for your suffering and losses. The lawyers at Bulman, Jones & Cook PLLC will complete a thorough evaluation of your claim, work to understand the circumstances of the death, and fight for the maximum settlement possible.

  • Aggressively litigate your claim in court - In most cases, the people responsible for the death will want to settle. However, in rare cases, you’ll need to take your wrongful death claim to court. Court procedures, evidentiary standards, and Montana state law will all be involved. It can seem overwhelming, but the skilled wrongful death lawyers at Bulman, Jones & Cook PLLC will manage the process and fight for you and your rights.

Montana Wrongful Death Lawyers

At Bulman, Jones & Cook PLLC, we’ve represented loved ones and estates in all types of wrongful death claims. We understand how hard it can be to bring a wrongful death claim, but with our knowledge and resources, our compassionate attorneys can be your voice in the process. When a wrongful death occurs, we are strong advocates for those left behind. If you are ready to discuss a wrongful death claim, contact us today for a Free Consultation.