Discovery Bay Wrongful Death Lawyer
A catastrophic accident may have lasting and traumatic consequences for all involved parties. In some extreme cases, they may result in fatal injuries. When this occurs, the family of the decedent is often met with overwhelming anxiety, shock, and grief about what their future will be like without their loved one by their side. What is most devastating about such a situation is that survivors often deal with legal and financial challenges following the incident instead of taking the time that they need to grieve and recover from their loss. This is especially true when difficult defense counsel and insurance companies are added to the equation. Those facing such situations may benefit from the assistance of an attorney who has the experience, skills, and resources to hold the other side liable for what they have taken from a family.
If you have lost a loved one in an accident, our Discovery Bay wrongful death lawyers are here to provide answers to your questions, simplify the legal process, and help protect your family’s future. Get started today with free, friendly case advice by calling (925) 428-5220 or (800) 404-5400.
At AutoAccident.com, our legal team understands that wrongful death claims go beyond justice and financial compensation. That is why we are here to help you and your family in your time of need. We take a personal and compassionate approach to cases we handle because we care about our clients and hold at-fault parties liable for the undue harm they have caused them. Our focus as wrongful death attorneys in Discovery Bay is to make the community a safer place by making examples out of negligent parties that such behavior will not be tolerated. We know that your family may be facing a wide array of challenges, and that is why we want to make the legal process as simple as possible for you all. Our law firm works on contingency fee agreements meaning no costs of legal representation are due unless we obtain financial compensation for your family.What is Considered Wrongful Death in California?
Wrongful death, as defined by California law, is the loss of life caused by the negligence of another party or entity. Negligent actions may arise in many forms, such as motor vehicle collisions. Your Discovery Bay wrongful death attorney will be prepared to conduct an independent investigation of what occurred, who is liable for the loss, and what options you have for justice and financial recovery for the loved one you lost.How is a Wrongful Death Claim Brought?
In most situations, recovery through a wrongful death case will be in the form of a claim against the insurance company representing the other side. In situations where the at-fault party has minimal or no liability coverage, surviving family members may resort to their auto insurance policy if they have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. While UM and UIM are optional to carry in California, it is a good idea for everyone to carry as a study by the Insurance Information Institute (III) revealed that 16.6 percent of California drivers did not have liability coverage in 2019. Remember that insurance claims are challenging to navigate and are best left to an experienced accident attorney to handle.What are Economic and Non-Economic Damages in a Wrongful Death Case?
The process of calculating the potential value of a wrongful death claim may be challenging as it depends on the facts and circumstances of the case. Surviving family members are generally entitled to economic and non-economic damages for the financial and intangible losses they have experienced because of the death of their loved one. Some of the recoverable damages in these cases may include but are not limited to:
- End-of-Life Medical Treatment Costs: In a survival action, claimants may recover the expenses of medical treatment incurred by the decedent before their death, if these resulted from the same accident that caused their final injuries.
- Funeral Service Expenses: The costs of a funeral and burial may be high. Fortunately, a wrongful death claim may compensate the family for expenses related to a decedent’s funeral, cremation, burial, and other services.
- Loss of Companionship: The loss of a loved one may leave a void that cannot ever be filled. California law recognizes this and allows the family of the decedent to be compensated for the loss of care, companionship, and protection they have experienced because of their loved one’s death.
- Loss of Household Services: The family may have depended on the deceased to provide specific services in the household like home maintenance, childcare, and more. Since these tasks must be handled by others now, a Discovery Bay wrongful death lawyer may work with an expert witness to assign a monetary value to these tasks. This will help in seeking damages for loss of household services.
- Lost Support: When the decedent was the primary provider of the family, it may leave them in financial hardship when their loved one was taken away in a tragic accident. Survivors may be entitled to the loss of future financial support they would have received from the deceased if not for the fatal accident. An attorney will work with an expert like an economist to determine the value of lost future earnings based on the decedent’s age, education, health, career, and other relevant factors.
The unfortunate reality is that insurance companies are not always willing to make things right with surviving family members. Insurers are concerned with protecting their bottom line and will often utilize all resources at their disposal to dispute a wrongful death case. Given that the damages are often high and extensive in such matters, retaining legal counsel is essential to holding the other side accountable for the losses your family has endured.Are Punitive Damages Recoverable in a Wrongful Death Claim?
California law allows surviving family members to seek punitive damages from the other side in cases of egregious conduct. In fatal accident claims, exemplary damages may be sought if the negligent party was driving under the influence (DUI) or excessively speeding in the moments leading up to the tragedy. These are not intended to compensate a family but rather punish the other side for their egregious actions. A judge or jury will determine the amount of punitive damages if they are applicable to the case. Refer to the California Civil Code 3294 for additional information on exemplary damages.Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Action in California?
According to the California Code of Civil Procedure Section 377.60, the surviving spouse, domestic partner, or children of the decedent are first in line to file a wrongful death case. If such relationships are non-existent, other relatives who were financially dependent on the deceased may be eligible to bring a claim forward. This may include the putative spouse, parents, children of the putative spouse, and stepchildren. To understand your rights and options as a surviving family member, reach out to an experienced wrongful death lawyer in Discovery Bay today.Is There a Time Limitation on Wrongful Death Lawsuits in California?
There is not an unlimited amount of time for surviving family members to take legal action against the other side. That is because a two-year statute of limitations usually applies to wrongful death cases, as stated in the California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1. However, the filing deadline in cases where government agencies are named as defendants may be shortened to as little as 180 days, as outlined in the California Government Code Section 911.2. Because these matters may be challenging to navigate, it is important to get in touch with a skilled wrongful death attorney in Discovery Bay immediately.Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney in Discovery Bay, CA
If you have lost someone you love in an accident caused by the negligence of another party or entity, it is essential to seek the assistance of a skilled wrongful death lawyer in Discovery Bay. At our law firm, our attorneys have decades of combined experience handling cases like yours. We have worked hard to secure successful settlements and verdicts on behalf of our clients. Our legal team understands that no amount of money can undo the pain of losing a family member or bringing them back, but we are dedicated to helping your family obtain the justice and sense of closure you all need. To speak with a compassionate and skilled lawyer about your case and receive free, friendly advice on how to move forward, give us a call at (925) 428-5220 or (800) 404-5400.
Photograph Source: By "carolynabooth" via Pixabay
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