Wrongful Death Law Firm

Our deepest sympathies to anyone coming to this page after the death of a loved one. Nothing we say will make the pain go away, but there are ways we can help.

In October of 2016, five Vermont high school students were on their way home from a concert when they were struck by another vehicle head on. The at-fault driver was under the influence of THC, Benzodiazepine, and fentanyl when he entered the students’ lane driving the wrong direction at 79 mph.

All five teens died at the scene. The driver tried to run from police by stealing a police cruiser and ended up crashing into several stopped vehicles while driving 107 mph.

Our hearts go out to the families of the teenage victims:

  • Eli Brookens (age 16)
  • Liam Hale (age 16)
  • Janie Chase Cozzi (age 15)
  • Cyrus Zschau (age 16)
  • Mary Harris (age 16)

The driver was arrested and pleaded not guilty for the deaths of those children, using an insanity defense and claiming he was unable to distinguish between right and wrong at the time of the accident or anticipate the possible outcome of his actions.

Three years later, he lost the trial and was sentenced to 30 years with possible parole after 24. His lawyers immediately appealed the jury’s decision and dragged out the case, but the Supreme Court ultimately ruled him guilty in 2021. It took five years for the victims’ families to see justice for their children.

That’s five years of investigations, interviews, evidence gathering, medical and psychological tests, painful and lengthy court proceedings, appeals, and more trials. A wrongful death suit can be messy, complicated, and lengthy.

Wrongful Death Law Firm

Is It Worth It?

Whether you’re dealing with a drunk driver, medical malpractice, accidental discharge of a firearm, a robbery gone wrong, or any other wrongful death situation, the idea of a lawsuit may feel overwhelming. Knowing you face an uphill battle, you might wonder if the fight is worth the effort.

It won’t change what happened or bring back a loved one, but there are valid and just reasons for pursuing a wrongful death suit with an experienced wrongful death lawyer on your side.

  • Prevent future harm. The person who caused the death of your family member obviously had poor judgment or criminal intent. To allow that person to continue without consequences would enable them to potentially cause harm down the road. The at-fault driver in this instance had been in another DUI-related crash prior to this event, but the penalty obviously wasn’t severe enough to be a deterrent.
  • Make an example of them to warn others. Some laws, like not texting while driving, are broken daily by people from all backgrounds and ages. They don’t see the harm in a five second exchange with their friend or family member while behind the wheel. Yet, according to the (NHTSA) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, you might as well shut your eyes while driving the length of a football field as take your eyes off the wheel for a five second text at 55 mph. If your lawsuit serves as a wakeup call for one driver who texts and drives, you may save a life and prevent the next family from mourning a similar loss.
  • Handle immediate costs associated with the incident. Hospital bills and funerals are outrageously expensive. Plus time away from work and school, travel costs to get to the funeral, burial plots, headstones, trauma counseling, and other expenses pile up quickly. And this is to say nothing of property damage (such as the wrecked car) from the accident. The family wouldn’t bear the burden of these expenses had the driver just stayed home or called an Uber rather than driving high. Nor should the family have to pay, or worse, go into debt to pay them.
  • Replace the lost future earnings of a spouse/parent. A grieving widow or widower shouldn’t face foreclosure on their house, the loss of a vehicle, or an inability to provide a decent education for their children. Yet that is the choice many suddenly-single parents face. Had the spouse lived, their future earnings would have provided security to both the remaining parent and children for years to come.
  • Replace lost retirement contributions. Many couples barely manage a decent living with two breadwinners in the household contributing to their future. Many single parents work way beyond the average age of retirement because the cost of living is so expensive. If a spouse passes away due to a wrongful death incident, the surviving spouse deserves compensation for their losses.

Why Choose LifeLaw Wrongful Death Attorneys?

Knowledge: As residents of Utah, our wrongful death lawyers are familiar with all local laws and can point you toward available resources to get your family the help you need. We fight for our neighbors and our community.

Experience: Here at LifeLaw, we’ve watched our clients suffer after someone else’s negligent actions deprived them of a mother or father, sibling or child. It’s not something we get accustomed to, but we have the experience to guide you through the process.

Our Salt Lake City-area wrongful death attorneys have more than a century of combined experience. We can help you get the settlement you deserve. The at-fault party hurt your family once. You shouldn’t pay for their mistakes for the rest of your life.

Understanding: We know how stressful this time can be. Beyond carrying the burden of your own grief, you may also be trying to be strong for other family members who are scared, confused, and hurting.

You’re probably also tending to an overwhelming amount of logistics. The immediate ones might include reporting the loved one’s death, finding a funeral home, picking out the casket or urn, buying a burial plot, scheduling a viewing and grave-side service, etc. Beyond that, you may be facing countless financial obligations, especially if you depended on income from or shared financial obligations with your loved one who has passed.

We understand the heavy emotion surrounding this difficult time. We offer understanding in a non-judgmental environment. We stand ready to ease your burden and help you with any legal matters that arise.

Courtesy: During this hectic and difficult period, we know your time and energy are precious resources. We honor that and limit interruptions for legal matters to what is absolutely necessary.

What You Can Expect From Us

  1. Compassion: You’re hurting. Nothing we do can change that, but we can lift some of your burden so you can focus on your family and take time to grieve. We are here to listen when you talk without rushing you through our office. Every client is a VIP here at LifeLaw, and our wrongful death lawyers and staff are dedicated to helping you feel comfortable in our office and advocating for you and your family.
  2. Accessibility: Our wrongful death attorneys are based in Sandy, Utah. You’re welcome in our office so we can meet with you and discuss your case. However, we are aware that it may be difficult to come in person. You can reach us by phone, email, or, when necessary, we’ll come to you. We don’t want to create more complications for you during a stressful time. We make sure we are available to you, whether you have questions about any paperwork we might send you or about your case in general.
  3. Commitment: As with the case illustrated above, sometimes wrongful death lawsuits can take a long time. When we take you as our client, we commit to walk by your side to the conclusion of your case. The full strength of our office is in your corner from beginning to end.
  4. Organization: We run a professional office, ensuring all documentation is completed correctly and in time for important deadlines. We also make sure you have competent counsel standing by your side at every appointment.

When to Contact LifeLaw’s Wrongful Death Attorneys about Filing a Claim

Expedience is an important factor if we’re to prove your case. We need time to collect information, documentation, and evidence. We advise you of your rights so opposing counsel can’t cheat you out of a fair settlement. We ensure you are treated fairly. The sooner you call, the faster we can get started advocating for your rights.

What You Should Know

To get the best possible outcome, follow these guidelines:

  • Never give recorded statements to opposing counsel, insurance companies, or the media without a lawyer by your side. Words spoken in the heat of the moment can have lasting consequences. Opposing counsel can take your words out of context and interpret them in ways that could be detrimental to your case. Experienced wrongful death lawyers will guide you and prevent Big Insurance from cheating you out of a fair settlement.
  • Document everything if you witness the accident. The types of documentation depend on the nature of the accident. However, a general rule is, if it pertains to your situation, we want to see it. We will also perform an investigation, but some contributing hazards may be cleared before we get there, especially if the defendant realizes they were at fault.
    • Witnesses: Are there witnesses that can testify on your behalf? If so, get names, phone numbers, and mailing addresses before they leave the scene if possible so we can contact them. We’ll need statements from all witnesses and could subpoena them should your case go to trial.
    • Photos: Images of the accident or event that caused the death are critical. If possible, take pictures of the scene and any surrounding hazards. This could make a difference in how effectively we can prosecute your case. In the case of a car accident, hazard examples include shrubbery hiding road signs or airbags that didn’t inflate as they should have. In the case of a slip and fall accident, take pictures of anything that may have caused the fall (uneven stairs, spilled liquids, etc.) Whatever the nature of the incident, any photos you can provide can help.
    • Detailed Accounts: As soon as possible after the event, write down what happened in as much detail as possible. Never rely on your memory. Memories can change over time, and details get lost. If you testify in court five years from now, you’ll have your notes to refer to.
    • Communication: All communication should come to our office first. No one should call you at home or work to intimidate you or pressure you into an early settlement. We also review legal documents for hidden language that may damage your suit. Let us shield you from some of the unpleasantness of a trial.

We have helped countless families navigate the devastation of wrongful death from:

  • Vehicle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Cycling accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Premises liability incidents (where people were harmed due to unsafe premises). These incidents include slips and falls, unsafe wiring, fire, falling objects, etc.
  • Drownings (such as in poorly secured pools)
  • Animal attacks
  • On-the-job injuries
  • …and many others

We never want our clients to experience pain or loss, but we are here to represent you if it happens. We will advocate for your rights and financial future. To schedule an appointment for a free consultation, call us at (801) 206-4002 or contact us online.

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