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What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In the state of California, a wrongful death lawsuit is a civil suit that can be brought against a person whose negligence caused the death of loss of a loved one or family member. In cases where there is also criminal activity involved, the two cases (the criminal case and the civil suit) will proceed independently; however, a civil lawsuit can occur even if there were no criminal charges filed. Negligence and recklessness can be sufficient in and of themselves to bring a civil suit, even if no criminal activity occurred to contribute to the situation. There are a variety of factors that go into this process, and our lawyers have experience in competently handling a lawsuit involving the death of loss of a loved one.
Wrongful Death and Compensation
The death of a family member or surviving family is a tragic affair and one that often leaves loved ones with more questions than answers. When that death is caused by the negligence of another person, either directly or indirectly, that sense of loss is often compounded by anger and a sense of injustice. Additionally, unexpected death due to the negligence of another person sometimes leaves the surviving family members with significant financial hardship. An experienced attorney for wrongful death can file a wrongful death on your behalf, providing compensation for bills, loss of income, funeral costs, etc.
The specific compensation varies from case to case. Our team of attorneys analyzes wrongful death cases to determine how much compensation may be owed. The liable party may be responsible for covering an assortment of economic and non-economic damages to compensate for your loss, including emotional damages like loss of companionship, love, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, and moral support as well as the loss of enjoyment of personal relations and the decedent’s training or guidance.
In California, wrongful death lawsuits can be brought against individuals or corporations for any of the following incidents that cause the death of a loved one or family members:
- Car accident
- A slip or fall
- Dog bite
- Bicycle accident
- Defective product
- Medical negligence
Many such cases have a statute of limitations, therefore expedient action is often required. Circumstances of the case dictate who can file a lawsuit and the time frame in which it can be filed. For most cases in California, a lawsuit must be filed within two years from the date of death of the loved one or family members. Our attorneys can help with this process by ensuring that the proper claims are filed in the time frame allotted by the state. A consultation with our team of qualified wrongful death law attorneys can help determine the next steps and clarify the process by which wrongful death can be litigated. Contact our wrongful death law firm today for free telephone consultation regarding how we can help you immediately.
Consultation with a Wrongful Death Law Attorney
Our wrongful death attorney law firm is experienced in assisting clients with cases involving many of the aforementioned tragedies. During the initial consultation, our attorneys will analyze the claim, determine if there is a solid case, and inform you of your rights and subsequent potential compensation as a result of the wrongful death of a loved one. The amount of compensation awarded varies from case to case, but can include both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages consist of tangible needs that have arisen as a result of wrongful death, such as medical bills, funeral expenses, loss of income, and more. Non-economic damages consist of emotional trauma and loss of assistance in family and in life. Both types of damages have their own merit and are considered during the wrongful death lawsuit process. Our attorneys for wrongful death can help break this process down for you and explain the various components that surround compensation.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
Generally speaking, the party that files the wrongful death lawsuit must provide evidence that the death could have been prevented and was therefore ultimately caused by the negligence of someone else. This suit can be filed by any of the following parties:
- The victim’s spouse or partner
- The victim’s children
- Any party who would be entitled to the victim’s property under the California intestate succession law. This may include parents, siblings, or other dependents.
Damages can vary greatly from case to case, but compensation can include things not commonly known by affected parties. They can include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Funeral expenses
- Medical bills that occurred as a result of the accident that ultimately resulted in the death
- Victim’s lost income, including projected future come and employment benefits
- Loss of victim’s non-economic contribution to his/her household
- Loss of financial support from the victim
- Loss of victim’s love, companionship, and guidance
- Pain and suffering
Working with an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney
Our wrongful death attorneys work on your behalf by hiring consultants and deposing witnesses to get to the root of negligence. Because wrongful death cases are handled differently from personal injury cases, this process requires an attorney’s wrongful death expertise, especially well-versed in wrongful death lawsuits and their structure. For example, proving that a specific medical issue led to the wrongful death of the victim takes a fair amount of knowledge about wrongful death lawsuits and how to navigate the process. The process can be complex, but we are well-versed in walking through the entire litigation with confidence. The following is an overview of the process:
Filing of the wrongful death lawsuit
This must be done carefully and must carry itself through by containing evidence that is persuasive enough to present the case successfully.
Gathering of Evidence
As mentioned above, this process involves depositions, hiring consultants, etc. Our wrongful death lawyers work hard to ensure the evidence is exhaustive.
Most wrongful death lawsuits are settled out of court. This means you will need an wrongful death lawyer who is an expert negotiator who can go to work on your behalf, using arguments and evidence to ensure a fair settlement.
Representation at Trial
In some cases, wrongful death cases do go to trial. In these instances, your wrongful death lawyer will present your case, which requires strict adherence to rules and procedures surrounding the process.
A Wrongful Death Claim vs A Survival Claim
There are two types of claims that can be brought against a negligent person responsible for the death of a loved one or family member. One is a wrongful death claim, which exists to compensate loved ones for damages. The second civil claim is called a survival claim. This particular claim, which can only be filed by a representative of the estate, provides compensation for specific losses that would be similar to a personal injury claim had the injuries not resulted in wrongful death. These damages could cover the repair of personal property, lost wages, lost inheritance, or punitive damages. Our wrongful death lawyers can walk you through these processes and help you determine which path will bring you the appropriate amount of compensation.
How Long Does a Typical Wrongful Death Case Take?
The short answer is longer than you want. It is important that no tone is left unturned and that all facets of the case are thought through and vetted. This type of investigation takes time and effort, and any law firm who promises a fast result is not one that you should trust. Some cases are more cut and dry than others, however, and can be resolved in less time. For example, if a truck runs a red light and strikes another car, this type of accident is easy to prove. If your elderly aunt, however, slips in a parking lot and falls, resulting in her untimely death, more evidence is needed to prove that the death was a direct result of the unsafe conditions that caused the fall. Additionally, cases that require accident reconstruction and expert witnesses typically take longer to wrap up than ones that do not. All in all, the entire process averages one to two years, depending on a variety of factors.
We Wrongful Death Experts! Let Us Help You
You may be entitled to financial compensation and damages that are due to you for the purposes of easing the financial burden and emotional loss that accompanies the untimely death of someone close to you, but knowing what to do or how to proceed can be hard knowledge to attain on your own.
We Know California Wrongful Death Law Like The Back Of Our Hand
Our attorneys are well-versed in California law and are ready and willing to offer you a free telephone consultation on how we can help you immediately. In California, a lawyer may be called to assist after a number of different accidents. We have handled cases involving car accidents, dog bites, slips and falls, truck accidents, bicycle and pedestrian accidents, medical malpractice situations, among many others, including those resulting in a death claim. Let our wrongful death lawyers help you by discussing your legal rights and representing your interests by filing a lawsuit against the party or parties that caused the victim’s death. We can walk you through the process, familiarize you with the next steps in wrongful death legal action, and ultimately go to work for you. Call today to see how we can help you.
We represent individuals throughout Northern and Southern California, including Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa, Irvine, Newport Beach, Santa Ana, Tustin, Anaheim, Victorville, Riverside and San Bernardino.