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Arcata Wrongful Death Lawyer


If someone in Arcata loses their life because another person or entity was negligent or reckless, like in a car accident, for example, the family of the deceased may be able to get compensation for that loss. Although there is no compensation great enough to ease the grief of a family who has lost a loved one, holding the at-fault party responsible can help them continue their recovery. Talking to a compassionate wrongful death lawyer about their loss can help start that journey.

What We Offer

We offer a grieving family a sympathetic but aggressive approach toward claiming the compensation they deserve following the unexpected death of a loved one. We are committed to holding the negligent party responsible for their actions while treating you like a member of our own family. We have many resources for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one. Reach out to us to have your questions answered. There is no charge to call and talk to us about the legalities of filing a wrongful death claim. We take cases on a contingent fee basis. This means you pay only if we recover compensation.

The Basis of a Wrongful Death Claim

A claim for wrongful death is basically one brought against the at-fault party on behalf of their deceased loved one. Wrongful deaths are civil lawsuits that are filed by the family. If the act was intentional and charges placed against the at-fault party in criminal court, it can result in a prison sentence. A claim for wrongful death can be filed in civil court in addition. Common types of wrongful death claims are:

  • Traffic collisions that involve a motor vehicle, pedestrian, bicycle rider, or others who died due to a person’s or other entity’s negligent actions;
  • Accidents resulting in death because of an unsafe product that was manufactured or designed improperly;
  • A wrongful death that happens on a private, state, or federal property because of poor maintenance;
  • Medical malpractice by a surgeon, physician, hospital, nurse, or others;
  • An accident at the workplace due to unsafe working conditions.

Our team of wrongful death attorneys works hard to protect the family’s interests and help them obtain the compensation they deserve. We have successfully handled many wrongful death claims over the years so that grieving families can face the future without financial stress and obtain a measure of justice for their loved one.

Watch the following video to learn more about wrongful death claims.

Those Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim

Members of the decedent’s immediate family may join together to file a wrongful death claim in Arcata, including:

  • Immediate family members such as the surviving spouse, putative spouse, and children may join the claim, whether natural or adopted. Step-children who received at least half of their support from the decedent may join in as well as minor children of a deceased child.
  • The personal representative of the estate of the decedent may file.
  • Other family members such as parents and siblings may file if the decedent had no spouse or children.
What Types of Damages Can Be Recovered in a Case Involving a Wrongful Death

California law states that just compensation can be awarded to those family members who are eligible to file. The financial damages that can be included are:

  • Expenses for the funeral and burial can be recovered.
  • Loss of inheritance the family would have received had the decedent lived can be claimed.
  • Loss of financial support in the future until retirement age is recoverable, including insurance and pension benefits, etc.
  • Loss of parental guidance, care, and training of the children is recoverable.
  • The living spouse can place a claim to recover damages due to the loss of consortium, affection, and moral support that the decedent provided.
  • The loss of household services that the deceased family member provided can be recovered. This may include mowing the grass, taking care of the children, servicing the family vehicles, and others.
Filing a Survival Action

If the loved one lived before they expired, the family can file a survival action. Under California Code of Civil Procedure 377.30, the representative of the estate of the deceased may place a claim to recover the losses that person suffered before their death, which can include medical costs, pain, and suffering, and lost wages. 

Filing for Punitive Damages

If a felony homicide or particularly egregious act was the cause of the family member’s death, they may ask the court to award punitive damages. Punitive damages are meant to punish the person who committed the act and discourage them or others from repeating the behavior. In many cases, the amount awarded in punitive damages is much higher than those in a wrongful death claim. This award is also in addition to damages awarded in a wrongful death claim.

Expressing Your Sympathy Following a Wrongful Death

The loss of a loved one can be difficult for family members, and others may not know how to show their sympathy. Shock and denial may be followed by pain, guilt, anger, bargaining, and depression before family members begin to cope with their loss. Some ways in which others can help include:

  • Many people send sympathy cards, flowers, or phone the family to express their support.
  • One of the most important things a sympathetic person can do is be a good listener for those who are grieving. Talking about their grief and loved ones is how people cope with the loss and relieve their stress.
  • An offer to drive someone to purchase groceries or pick up prescriptions can be welcome because being deep in grief can be distracting for them and might not be the safest thing for them to do themselves under the circumstances. You can also offer to run errands yourself, such as picking children up at school or shopping.
  • It is customary in many places to send food in the form of a home-prepared dish. Others order a meal for the family and send it to their home or apartment. When preparing for a funeral, the family often doesn’t have time to cook or the inclination to eat unless it’s ready.
  • You can offer to accompany the person handling the arrangements to the funeral home. Because this is such a difficult task, having someone along can be welcome. 

Related articles by wrongful death lawyer Ed Smith:

Arcata Wrongful Death Lawyer

I am Ed Smith, an Arcata wrongful death lawyer. When your loved one was lost due to a careless motorist, you may benefit from the advice of a lawyer about filing a wrongful death lawsuit. We are here to offer compassionate, free and friendly advice when you phone us at  (707) 564-1900 or (800) 404-5400. You can also message us online if that is easier for you.

We proudly belong to Million Dollar Advocates and the Top 1 Percent as California members. 

Finding helpful information about a law firm can assist you in deciding which lawyer might be a good fit for your case. You can find information about ours at at the links below:

Image by Andreas Lischka from Pixabay 

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