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Antelope Wrongful Death Lawyer

CoffinAccidents involving the wrongful death of a loved one happen more often than we care to realize. A 15-year-old passenger was killed when the 18-year-old driver attempted a sweeping left curve at high speed in Antelope. The tragic accident occurred on Antelope North Road about 700 feet south of Poker Lane, according to the SacBee. In the blink of an eye, an innocent young life was taken as the result of a reckless decision by the operator of a motor vehicle.

Losing Someone Unexpectedly

Thе family members and friends of the teenage passenger were devastated. Losing someone in a sudden, unexpected accident саuѕеѕ tremendous pain, turmоіl, аnd mental anguish. It is often difficult for grieving family members tо funсtіоn properly іn еvеrуdау lіfе аnd саrrу оn. Thе dесеdеnt'ѕ family is probably left feeling роwеrlеss. This is where an Antelope wrongful death lawyer can be of service. You should focus on getting through the grieving process. An attorney can focus on contacting the irresponsible driver’s insurance company, filing the necessary paperwork, and initiating a lawsuit, if necessary.

Forms of Compensation You Can Pursue 

Compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit is referred to as “damages.” There are two types of damages - economic damages and non-economic damages. The types of damage you may be able to pursue include medical bills (if, for example, the decedent was transported and treated at a hospital for emergency medical treatment prior to their passing), costs associated with the funeral and burial of your loved one, their future earnings (especially if they were of working age and a primary provider to their family), and the emotional damage associated with losing a loved one.

Compensation for Future Earnings

The amount of damages for future earnings could result in a substantial amount, depending on the age and chosen profession of the decedent. For example, if the decedent was 45 years old then it is reasonable to assume that they had another 20 years left to work and generate income. Their salary at the time of death was $50,000 per year. This means a future earnings award could approach $1 million. Your Antelope personal injury lawyer should be able to retain the services of experienced economists and experts to properly project the amount of future earnings of your loved one.

Antelope Wrongful Death Lawsuits

It’s also important to keep in mind that California courts have declared that damages for wrongful death are not limited to losses with a specific economic value. Instead, the measure of damages is the value of the benefits the heirs may expect to obtain from the deceased if they lived. See Allen v. Toledo, (198) 109 Cal.App.3d 415, 423.

Watch the following video for more information on a wrongful death claim.

Wrongful Death Lawsuit May Only Be Brought By Specific Individuals

Some people ask if it is possible to file multiple wrongful death lawsuits for one decedent. Generally, that is not allowed. California Code of Civil Procedure Section 377.60 states that only a specific list of individuals are legally allowed to file a wrongful death claim. Those individuals include:

  • The surviving spouse or domestic partner, if the decedent was married at the time of death
  • Any child of the decedent
  • If there are no surviving children or surviving spouse, then any person who would be entitled to the decedent’s property through intestate succession laws
  • The decedent's personal representative on behalf of those authorized to bring the suit
What Must Be Proven in Court to Prevail Against the Reckless Party

The death of your loved one in an accident does not automatically mean you will receive financial restitution from the insurance company or a jury. There are legal hurdles put in place that a plaintiff must overcome to prevail in a civil lawsuit against a defendant.

How It Works

First, you need to prove that the defendant owed a duty of care to your loved one. For example, the operator of a motor vehicle must comply with all local traffic laws and regulations. If they fail to do so and someone is killed, that is considered to be a breach of duty, which is the second element you need to prove in a wrongful death case. You need to show that the defendant violated the law in some way to help establish liability. Once there is sufficient evidence of a breach, your Antelope wrongful death lawyer then needs to show that the defendant’s reckless actions proximately caused your loved one’s death, which is fairly simple in most cases. Finally, you need to introduce sufficient evidence of damages. Again, this should not be a difficult element to meet since the sudden loss of a loved one in an accident in and of itself is a major harm to a family.

Settlement v. Trial

A common question asked is whether a wrongful death claim will need to be resolved in court or if it will be resolved via settlement. There is a very good chance that your wrongful death claim will be resolved through settlement or mediation without having to go through with a full-fledged jury trial. In fact, over 95 percent of all personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits are resolved through some form of out-of-court resolution, as opposed to presenting the case to a jury. Nevertheless, no lawyer should guarantee that your case will settle because each case is different and a jury trial may be necessary to obtain the financial restitution you rightly deserve.

No Legal Fee if No Financial Recovery For You

You may be struggling financially as a result of the loss of your loved one. You may have concerns over paying large legal fees to retain an Antelope wrongful death lawyer. Have no worries. Wrongful death lawyers rarely, if ever, charge an hourly rate for their services. They also do not require you to pay a large retainer fee. Instead, personal injury and wrongful death attorneys operate on a “contingency fee.” This means that your lawyer’s fee will be deducted from the final settlement or verdict that you would receive for your injury or wrongful death claim. If your attorney loses or is unable to obtain money on your behalf, they generally will not require payment from you for their legal services.

Take Legal Action Right Now So You Do Not Miss California’s Statutory Deadlines

In California, there is a finite period of time in which a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed. Gеnеrаllу wіthіn twо years оf thе dаtе оf death. It is an even shorter period if your loved one was killed by the operator of a city or state government vehicle (e.g., city bus). An administrative claim must be filed within six months of the incident. As you can see, swift and immediate action is strongly recommended.

Antelope Wrongful Death Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, an Antelope wrongful death attorney. If someone important to you has passed away due to the negligent or careless actions of someone else, please reach out to me as soon as possible by calling 916.921.6400 or 800.404.5400. I am able to provide you with free, friendly advice about moving forward with a wrongful death claim.

We are members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the National Association of Distinguished Counsel.

See our client reviews on Avvo, Google, and Yelp, and our past cases on our Verdicts and Settlements page.

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Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 9.15.20]

Client Reviews
"Me and my wife; had a car accident. We were amazed how easy, professional, friendly attorney Ed Smith is along with his staff. Everybody is amazing. Thank you so much, we are very impressed!" Alex & Dinah M.
"Ed Smith and his office team took on a difficult personal injury case on my behalf and for the passenger in my car. Ed is a top- notch attorney. His staff couldn't have been more helpful and kind. No need to look elsewhere. I give Ed Smith my highest recommendation." Beverly
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