Carmichael Wrongful Death Lawyer
Every year, hundreds of thousands of people suffer wrongful death accidents and lose their lives. A wrongful death can be defined as the death of an individual caused by the negligent actions, or inaction of another party. Wrongful deaths can occur due to a variety of situations, including car accidents, motorcycle wrecks, truck accidents, boating accidents, medical malpractice, and so forth.
If you have lost someone you love due to an accident caused by the negligence of another individual or company, it is important to consult a wrongful death lawyer right away to discuss your legal options and learn whether it makes sense to move forward with a wrongful death claim against that party.Recoverable Damages Through a Wrongful Death Claim
The types of harms and losses that can be recovered through a wrongful death claim include the following:
- Funeral expenses;
- Burial costs;
- Medical bills of the decedent if treated for the accident-related injury prior to death;
- Loss of any financial support that the decedent provided; and
- Any anxiety or emotional stress that one experienced due to the sudden loss of a loved one (i.e. pain and suffering).
In wrongful death lawsuits, the burden is on the plaintiff (i.e. the estate representative) to prove that the defendant was negligent in order to obtain a financial recovery. This means your lawyer must present sufficient evidence to meet the legal elements of negligence. These elements include:
- Duty of care – this element requires that you prove the defendant owed a legal duty to your lost loved one. For example, all drivers of automobiles owe a duty of care to other drivers to operate their vehicle in a reasonable manner.
- Breach of duty - You must prove the defendant breached the duty of care described above. For example, if your loved one was hit and killed by an intoxicated or distracted driver, that would be a breach of the duty to operate their vehicle in a reasonably safe manner.
- Causation – You must prove that the defendant’s negligence was the proximate cause of your loved one’s death.
- Damages – You must submit evidence of actual damages. In the context of a wrongful death claim, this is a fairly straightforward element to satisfy since most people understand the tremendous harm associated with the loss of a loved one.
First and foremost, you lost a loved one and you should be focusing your time on the grieving process and picking up the pieces of your life rather than getting frustrated with insurance claims adjusters. Another benefit of hiring a lawyer is the time and resources they will devote to conducting an investigation into the accident that resulted in your loved one’s untimely death, interviewing witnesses, taking depositions, and so forth.
Another benefit to hiring an attorney is that they are focused on achieving an outcome that benefits you. How? As a Carmichael wrongful death lawyer, I operate on what’s called a “contingency fee” basis. As the name implies, the lawyer gets paid contingent upon you obtaining a financial recovery. This means that you do not have to pay an outrageous retainer fee or high hourly fee simply to retain needed legal services. Your lawyer only gets paid when a resolution is reached in your case (typically through a settlement or verdict).Wrongful Death Claim Statute of Limitations
Researching lawyers and deciding to pursue a wrongful death claim needs to be accomplished in an efficient manner. This is due to California's statutes of limitations that apply to various civil claims that directly affect whether an individual can file a lawsuit or not. In fact, the following are three important statutes of limitations to be aware of in when dealing with a wrongful death lawsuit.
- If you someone you love suffered fatal injuries in a car wreck, motorcycle accident, boating accident, tractor-trailer accident, etc. you can only file a lawsuit within two years of your loved one's death. This is in accordance with California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1.
- If your loved one's death was the result of any surgical negligence, California gives an individual three years from the date of death to file a claim against a negligent doctor or other healthcare professionals, in accordance with California Code of Civil Procedure Section 340.5.
- If your loved one suffered fatal injuries relating to an accident involving a state or city vehicle, a claim against the government must be filed within a six-month window of the accident.
If you are unsure about taking legal action due to a concern that you will not win your case and thereby harm your loved one's memory, look at the provided example below of one family that stood up and pursued justice on behalf of the person they love in a wrongful death lawsuit.
A California jury awarded $15 million to the family members of two pedestrians who were killed by a semi-truck driver while crossing an intersection. In this tragic case, the commercial truck driver was blocking a crosswalk at an intersection. The big rig operator then backed up the truck to allow people to cross the street in front of him. The people at the crosswalk did not cross immediately, instead of waiting for their light to signal that they could cross. When the light turned green, they started to cross. This is where tragedy reared its ugly head.
The operator of the commercial truck pulled up intending to make a right turn, but his signal was not on. As the vehicle was turning, the front of the commercial truck hit the two people as they were attempting to cross and rolled over them. This impact caused their untimely deaths, according to Bakersfield Now. The victims left behind two children. The jury awarded each child over seven million dollars for past noneconomic damages and future noneconomic damages, according to the aforementioned Bakersfield Now article.
I'm Ed Smith, a Carmichael wrongful death lawyer. Losing a loved one is always devastating, but the pain is made that much worse when the loss is totally unexpected and caused by another party’s carelessness. If a member of your family or a close loved one has suffered a wrongful death due to the negligent actions of another, call me immediately at (916) 921-6400 or toll-free at (800) 404-5400 for free and friendly advice. I offer a no obligation consultation to learn more about your situation and to decide the best way to move forward.
You may want to view some of my verdicts/settlements.
Find out what my past clients have to say about working with me on the following website:
I have been inducted into the Million Dollar Advocates Forum for the California section. This forum includes injury lawyers who have been rated as the top trial lawyers in the country. Each attorney in our membership has settled cases or won verdicts of $1 Million Dollars or more.
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