Council Bluffs Wrongful Death Attorney
Seeking Answers & Accountability in Iowa & Nebraska
The unexpected death of a loved one is devastating for a family. It can be even more painful when the death was the result of someone else's negligent or reckless acts. At a time like this, you are left with questions about why the accident happened and what went wrong. You may want to consider filing a wrongful death claim to get answers and enforce accountability.
Pursue Wrongful Death Claims
At Law Offices of Gallner & Pattermann, P.C., we help families in Nebraska and Iowa pursue wrongful death claims. We understand that no amount of money could possibly replace what you have lost. However, a financial recovery can at least give you and your family the resources you need to begin moving forward. Holding the wrongdoer accountable may also give you a sense that some form of justice has been served.
We Work Hard to Hold Wrongdoers Accountable
Filing the Lawsuit
In both Iowa and Nebraska personal injury claims, the personal representative or executive of the estate is responsible for filing the lawsuit in court. This person could be named in your loved one’s will. However, if there was no will, then the probate court will appoint someone to serve in this capacity. The personal representative has many important duties to fulfill in probate. Handling a wrongful death suit is just one of them. Fortunately, they can hire an attorney to bring the claim.
Compensation in a wrongful death suit goes to the estate and in workers’ compensation to the surviving family members. For that reason, we recommend that you reach out to our law firm today. Even if you are not serving as the personal representative, you must ensure your rights are protected.
Negotiating a Settlement
Not all wrongful death cases end up in trial. Instead, it is often possible to reach a fair settlement with the person responsible for the death through negotiations. There are many advantages to obtaining a settlement. You can avoid a trial which might dredge up painful memories of the death in a public setting. You can avoid testifying at trial, which many of our clients find stressful.
Our legal team engages in tenacious negotiations with the other side with one thing in mind: your best interests. If the defendants are not doing as we believe they should we will file suit and go to court, if necessary, to protect your rights.
We Work Hard To Hold Wrongdoers Accountable
In any wrongful death case, we need evidence to establish how your loved one died. This evidence can take many forms:
- Eyewitness testimony, including your own testimony if you observed the accident
- Coroner’s report
- Physical evidence, such as DNA, which can link your loved one to the person responsible
- Doctor’s testimony and medical evidence to establish just how your loved one died
Bringing a wrongful death claim is a challenge because your loved one is no longer with us to testify as to what happened. It isn’t unusual for many defendants to claim the victim’s own negligence led to the death. The sooner you contact a lawyer, the better the odds of reaching a favorable resolution to the dispute. Evidence can disappear if it isn’t collected in time.
Handling Wrongful Death Claims In Many Contexts
Our experienced attorney represents clients who have lost a loved one in:
- Car Accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Construction site accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Railroad accidents
In many cases, someone failed to use reasonable care and your loved one died as a result. For example, a car or truck driver could have run a red light and caused an accident, or they were driving while intoxicated. Similarly, a safety violation on a construction jobsite or at a workplace could have contributed to your loved one’s death. These types of lapses sometimes support a wrongful death claim.
Compensation for a Wrongful Death Claim
No one can bring your loved one back. Still, financial compensation can ensure that your family doesn’t suffer undue financial hardship because you lost a parent, spouse, or child. Each state identifies what “damages” the family can receive in a wrongful death lawsuit. These damages are sums of money that compensate you for specific losses.
In Iowa, for example, we can seek damages for:
- Lost wages or earnings
- Lost benefits
- Lost services the deceased provided the family, such as cooking, cleaning, transportation, etc.
- Any pain and suffering your loved one experienced before death
- Medical expenses to treat your loved one’s final illness or injuries
- Interest on burial and funeral expenses
- Loss of consortium, in some circumstances
For example, your husband might have been the main breadwinner in the family. If he was accidentally killed in a car accident at 40, the family is losing out on decades of income and benefits. You and your children should not have to suffer this financial loss when someone else is responsible for his death.
Some losses are harder to calculate with precision. For instance, compensation for your loved one’s pain and suffering requires a subjective assessment. He or she might have been conscious and in considerable pain—or your loved one might have been unconscious the entire time. Work with one of our lawyers to carefully assess and calculate how much compensation you might receive in a wrongful death suit.
Nebraska law compensates for many of the same damages as Iowa, but there are some differences. We will explain how they work, as well.
Let Us Handle The Legal Complexities
After the loss of a loved one, the last thing you want to think about is the law or a possible lawsuit. When you come to us for help, our personal injury attorney can help you manage all the related issues, including:
- Insurance issues
- Preserving evidence
- Locating and retaining experts to help build the case
- Negotiating a settlement
- Filing a lawsuit on behalf of the personal representative
- Ensuring you are pursing all possible avenues of recovery
- Locating witnesses
These are just a few of the matters that must be addressed after a loved one's death. We can help you with all of these matters. We are here to shoulder the legal burden so you can focus on more important things.
Why Doesn’t the Prosecutor Bring a Wrongful Death Claim?
There is a simple answer. This is a civil case, not a criminal one. As a result, the defendant can only be ordered to pay money damages to surviving family members. The defendant doesn’t go to jail as punishment.
There are also differences related to the culpability of the defendant’s conduct. Not all wrongful death cases involve criminal acts. For example, the person who ran over your loved one might have done so carelessly and without ill intent. Although their actions weren’t criminal, they were certainly negligent, which is enough for a wrongful death case.
To succeed on a claim, we also don’t have to prove the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. That’s the criminal law standard. With civil cases, it is enough to prove it was more likely than not that through the defendant’s fault your family member died.
Deadlines for Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Every state has a statute of limitations which gives the maximum amount of time the personal representative has to file a wrongful death lawsuit in court. In Iowa, the deadline in most cases is two years from the date of death. If your loved one died on the Fourth of July in 2021, then the personal representative must file the lawsuit by July 4, 2023.
Nebraska has a similar statute of limitations. Generally, you have four years to file. If a defective product caused the death, however, then you might have more time.
How We Benefit Our Clients
Hiring an experienced wrongful death attorney is the first step to taking control of a situation that might seem to be spiraling out of control. Our law firm has the experience you need to bring a wrongful death claim the correct way.
We offer tangible benefits to our clients, including:
- We reduce stress by tackling all the legal work, allowing you to focus on your family and grieving properly.
- We protect your rights by filing a lawsuit before the statutory deadline has passed.
- We bolster your claim to compensation by helping you document your losses, such as your loved one’s income and possible future income.
- We strengthen a claim by working with various expert witnesses who can help reconstruct what happened in the tragic accident.
- We serve as a point of contact for the insurance carrier, opposing counsel, and the court.
There are typically many parties involved in a wrongful death lawsuit. For example, the person who struck and killed your loved one might have been on the job at the time. State law typically makes the defendant’s employer also liable for the accident, and big companies like to hire large teams of lawyers and investigators.
The involvement of so many different people only fuels what is an already stressful time. Our lawyers shield you from the hassle of providing documents or information to insurance adjusters and answering as many of their questions as we can.
Contact Us to Schedule a Time to Meet
Grieving family members need help during this difficult time. The lawyers at Law Offices of Gallner & Pattermann are standing by to discuss your legal options in a confidential setting. We provide compassionate legal representation for all phases of a wrongful death lawsuit. To schedule a free initial consultation with our wrongful death lawyer in Council Bluffs, please call 712-323-0999.