Strong Advocates
For the Injured And For A Safer Iowa

Help For Families Affected By Wrongful Death

The unexpected, wrongful death of a loved one is devastating beyond measure for the spouse, child or parent who is left behind. In an instant, financial support, stability, love, affection, advice, guidance and companionship are taken away. The emotions are replaced with grief, sadness, anger, confusion, fear and uncertainty. Surviving family members are often left with more questions than answers about their legal rights to compensation for the wrongful death of their loved one.

The wrongful death attorneys at Galligan Law have vast experience and knowledge in representing and fighting for families who have lost loved ones as the result of careless conduct. We will seek and obtain justice from the responsible individuals or entities as well as guide you and your grieving family through the painful, emotional and difficult path that follows.

Wrongful Death Cases Are Different

Wrongful death cases are very different from other personal injury cases involving nonfatal injuries. For one, the legal process for pursuing a wrongful death case is very complex and highly technical. The intricacies involved require a seasoned and experienced law firm with specialized knowledge of Iowa wrongful death laws to ensure that the grieving party obtains the full measure of justice to which they are entitled.

The personal injury lawyers at Galligan Law have been honored to represent hundreds of families whose loved ones were wrongfully killed as a result of car accidents, trucking accidents and motorcycle crashes, medical malpracticedefective products, dangerous drugs and medical devices and other acts of carelessness and negligence.

Wrongful Death FAQ

Few people dealing with the wrongful death of a loved one have ever dealt with this type of litigation before. It is natural to feel confused about Iowa’s wrongful death laws and the process of obtaining compensation. Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions the wrongful death lawyers at our firm hear from their clients.

What does ‘wrongful death’ mean in Iowa law?

The law considers a death to be wrongful when the person dies due to another party’s negligence or intentionally wrongful act. Examples include medical malpractice, killing somebody in a car accident while driving drunk and murder. Whether the defendant intentionally caused your relative’s death or it was a fatal accident, a wrongful death lawsuit is a civil court action, not a criminal prosecution, which could happen separately.

Who can sue for wrongful death in Iowa?

The right to file a lawsuit is called “standing.” Not everybody who had a close relationship with the deceased has standing to file a wrongful death claim. Only the personal representative of the deceased’s estate, commonly known as the executor, has the right to sue for wrongful death in Iowa. Their suit can join together the claims of several relatives for compensation, including:

  • The deceased’s spouse
  • Their minor or adult children
  • Their parents
  • The administrator of the estate, on behalf of the deceased

Our firm’s founding attorney, Brian Galligan, is an experienced wrongful death lawyer. He played a critical role in changing Iowa law to allow parents of adult victims of wrongful death to seek a claim.

What damages can family members get for wrongful death?

As mentioned above, not every relative of a wrongful death victim has the right to seek damages. For those who qualify, the damages they can pursue include:

  • Lost wages and other earnings
  • The deceased’s medical bills
  • Funeral costs
  • The deceased’s pain and suffering
  • For the surviving family members, the loss of the deceased’s companionship, parental services and support

Understanding Wrongful Death Damage Calculations

Access to highly qualified economist experts to calculate the economic damages and financial fallout from the death of a loved one is critical. Such experts charge thousands of dollars for their time and testimony. Galligan Law will advance the costs required to retain top economic experts in your wrongful death case. You will only be charged for these or any other costs in your case if there ends up being a successful outcome and a financial recovery on your behalf.

Most importantly, the nature of the harms and losses in a wrongful death case is different and requires a deeper understanding of humanity, life and loss, as well as the inherent value of family and the relationships with those we love and cherish most.

The experienced wrongful death lawyers at Galligan Law understand that being the voice for a grieving family in a wrongful death lawsuit requires more than just a law degree. It requires being a constant student and careful observer of the human condition, family and relationships, and the connections that bind us together and make family relationships such a significant and fulfilling part of our lives. This understanding and the demonstrated skill and ability to convey the story of loss and lives shattered set Galligan Law apart from the rest in this area of law.

Fighting For Bereaved Families’ Rights In The Iowa Legislature

Every year in Iowa, insurance companies, business interests, and industries push efforts in the Iowa Legislature to take away or severely limit the rights of injured Iowans to pursue justice on behalf of their negligently killed loved ones. For over a decade, attorney Brian P. Galligan has been a member of the Iowa Association for Justice legislative committee and has made countless trips to the Iowa capitol to lobby and fight for the rights of Iowans and the families of loved ones killed as a result of reckless or negligent conduct. Mr. Galligan has been deeply involved in stopping bad laws from passing and negotiating positive changes to Iowa law that protect victims of negligence and allow for full and fair compensation to the surviving spouses, children and parents of wrongfully killed Iowans. Legislators have regularly looked to Mr. Galligan as a thoughtful, smart, well-prepared, effective voice for injured Iowans.

In 2007, Mr. Galligan played a key role in getting Iowa law changed to allow parents to recover compensation after the wrongful death of a son or daughter over the age of 18 (through a legal theory known as adult child consortium). Before that change in the state law on wrongful death, parents could only recover damages after the accidental death of a child for the period of time when the deceased child was a minor. Mr. Galligan received the Iowa Association for Justice Key Person Award for his work getting this law changed. Then, in June 2016, he helped parents recover $2 million after their 19-year-old son suffered fatal injuries in a motor vehicle collision. This verdict would not have been possible without the 2007 change in Iowa’s wrongful death law.

Seek Justice For Your Family After A Wrongful Death

If you have lost a loved one as the result of carelessness or negligence, let the attorneys at Galligan Law be your voice and guide in seeking justice for you and your family. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 515-316-6179 or fill out our online contact form to get in touch with us. Based in the Des Moines area, we serve clients throughout Iowa.