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Do we need an attorney for an auto pedestrian accident resulting in a death of a family member?

Colorado Springs, CO |

An adult volunteer walked off a school bus, crossed in front of the bus and was struck by a car and killed. The school bus did not have the stop sign out or lights flashing while unloading the bus. The driver did not receive a ticket, nor did the passenger although we believe the driver was going faster than the school speed limit. The driver's insurance is underinsured and willing to settle as well as our insurance is wiling to setttle for wrongful death. We hired a lawyer who is investigating to see if we have a case. Since the insurance companies are cooperating, do we need a lawyer? We already signed with the lawyer but have not been informed by them that we have a case. We also want to see if the school district was negligent. Thank you,

Attorney Answers 6

  1. I am sorry this tragedy has happened, apparently to someone in your family. You absolutely need a lawyer for a wrongful death case, and a good one. Never expect an insurance company to deal with you fairly, or to offer you what a case is worth if you don't have a lawyer to watch out for you. Also, wrongful death cases almost always require proceedings in the probate court for approval of any proposed settlement. You can't navigate those proceedings without a lawyer.

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  2. Absolutely. This is a personal injury case that most attorneys will take on a contingency fee basis with you not having to pay an hourly fee, but only allow the attorney to take their portion (up to 40%) of any recovery. Wrongful death cases are extremely serious. In addition to medical expenses, loss of future income, etc., in Colorado you have the right to non-economic damages (pain and suffering, loss of consortium, etc.) in an amount not to exceed $250,000.

    Although the insurance companies are willing to settle, are they willing to pay out policy limits? Even they are willing to pay out policy limits, do you want to obtain a potential judgment against the individual who caused the accident (in case he wins the lottery or you can recover from him later in life)? This is a case in which you have to listen to your attorney. If he or she feels that you do not have a case, ask another attorney for a second opinion.

  3. I agree with my colleagues. What makes sense for me is that your family make an appointment to meet with your attorney to ask about the status of the case. This is a sad and complicated case. You need to have confidence in your lawyer and belief in what you are being told. If you don't, you need to discuss with them the reasons why you don't and work it out. Good luck and sorry about your loss.

    I am only licensed in Texas. By providing my opinions and comments to questions on this site, I am not engaging in the unauthorized practice of law in any other jurisdiction. No attorney client relationship is being created by my responding to this question.

  4. I'm sorry to hear about your loss. Yes, you should retain a personal injury lawyer. If I were you, I would get a lawyer who will do it for a 20% fee with all costs included, so you get the full 80% of the money.

    Licensed in Pennsylvania & New Jersey & Serving the Nation. Only 29% Fee Deducted. 1-877-258-3083.

  5. The simple and direct answer is, yes. A good lawyer will explore all the possibilities and answer your questions. The lawyer will maximize your recovery. That you asked the question indicates that you are looking in the right direction and seeking legal advice. That is the best approach!

  6. It certainly would appear that you would need an attorney for this type of situation, particularly if the attorney is analyzing possible school district negligence. I suggest you consult with your attorney.

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    Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.