Can the heirs hire separate wrongful attorneys?

In New Jersey, the heirs at law of a deceased person have the legal right to hire their own, individual attorney or law firm to represent their interests in a wrongful death suit against the persons responsible for the victim’s death.  In some instances, when intra-family hostilities are great or where other issues of “conflict” exist between the various heirs, it may be necessary to hire separate attorneys.  The law firm of Davis & Brusca, LLC represents heirs in wrongful death throughout New Jersey.  Our experienced attorneys have helped many individuals and families whose loved ones suffered fatalities in avoidable accidents, and we can help you in your pursuit of justice against the person or company that took your family member’s life.

There are, however,  several caveats that should be carefully considered by all involved:

  1.       Not everyone in the family may be eligible to hire their own wrongful death attorney or to present a claim against the at-fault party.  Depending on the circumstances, a court or Judge may have to decide who can move forward with legal action. If there is more than one heir who is authorized to file the suit, they may have the option of hiring separate legal counsel should they decided to choose that path, though multiple “decision makers” can greatly complicate pursuit of a claim.
  2.       If their loved one was killed by a person who had very little insurance coverage, a wrongful death attorney may advise that the court costs and fees of multiple attorneys may exceed the amount of damages that are recoverable.  Depending on the circumstances, it may make more financial sense for the family to hire one wrongful death attorney to represent all of the heirs.  A wrongful death attorney can examine and advise if this is the case in your matter, and can seek to determine if more than one culpable party exists, as this may potentially give rise to larger settlement for each heir.
  3.        Hiring multiple lawyers may be counter-productive for other reasons.  For example, by working together with one wrongful death attorney or law firm, the heirs may be able to better  pool information and resources to help their case. As a team, they may be able to achieve a better outcome than if they spend their energy fighting one another.
  4.       A coordinated legal strategy may lead to a more positive outcome. With one wrongful death attorney representing all of the heirs, there is less likely to be conflicting plans of attack for the case.  Further, squabbling between the heirs is generally a negative issue if the matter must proceed for trial.  If a jury detects that the heirs are fighting amongst themselves, they may question if one or more of the heirs is telling the truth or generally develop distaste for the claim.
  5.       Not every law firm is created the same. Wrongful death cases require knowledge about different areas of the law as compared to others. When a family chooses an attorney to represent the heirs, they can feel confident in knowing that a wrongful death attorney has a successful track record in getting justice for victims. You will only have one chance at seeking retribution from the negligent party—make it count.

To learn more about the legal services offered by a wrongful death lawyer Trenton, NJ trusts, contact  our office today.

Contact Davis & Brusca for insight into personal injuries and hiring a wrongful death attorney.