El Dorado Hills Wrongful Death Lawyer
One of the worst things that can happen to a family is the sudden loss of a loved one. It is emotionally devastating and may place a tremendous financial strain on them. There may be medical bills, funeral costs, and the loss of a source of family income. When all of these expenses hit at the worst time in your life, an El Dorado Hills wrongful death lawyer can help you.The Basis for Pursuing a Claim for Wrongful Death
Under California law, when an individual dies as a proximate result of negligent action, or inaction, by another person, a wrongful death has occurred. This establishes the basis to file a civil claim under California tort law, enabling a representative of the decedent to seek financial restitution for the immense and unexpected loss of a loved one.Filing an El Dorado Hills Wrongful Death Claim
Under California law, a wrongful death claim filing is limited to a specific group of individuals, set forth by statute. Those individuals include the decedent’s spouse or domestic partner or the decedent’s child or children. If the victim did not have a spouse or had no children, a wrongful death claim may still be filed by a representative designated by a California court who is legally recognized as a beneficiary of the victim’s property.
A related issue is whether multiple wrongful death claims can be pursued. This question often arises when a spouse and another family member may not be on good terms or who believes they should be the representative in court over another person. Generally, only a particular individual (i.e., the person chosen to represent the estate) may file suit.
If two people attempt to file separate wrongful death claims representing the same victim against the same defendant, a California court will likely merge the two cases to promote judicial efficiency. Some people may be thinking, “well, what if one lawsuit is filed in California and another is filed in a different state?” That would not work because there are jurisdictional requirements associated with a civil wrongful death lawsuit.Types of Compensation Available in a Wrongful Death Claim
Some of the most common types of damages recoverable in wrongful death cases are:
- Medical bills, funeral costs, and other expenses associated with death: types of immediate expenses such as these are often referred to as compensatory damages. California law allows plaintiffs to recover the entirety of these types of injuries.
- Future earnings: income that the deceased would have expected to earn throughout their lifetime can also be recovered as a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Pain and suffering: California courts consider your own pain and trauma due to a loved one’s passing and award appropriate damages.
- Loss of companionship: compensation for the loss of companionship previously provided to you by a family member is also recoverable.
- Emotional distress: in some cases where an individual witnesses the death of a loved one, California Law will allow you to recover damages for your own emotional distress.
- Punitive damages: In the most extreme cases where a death occurred because of an intentional act or gross negligence, it may be possible to recover additional damages.
Many people hesitate before hiring an El Dorado Hills wrongful death lawyer because they worry that an attorney will be expensive. However, our law firm is first and foremost dedicated to helping you recover damages for your loss. Unlike other law firms that charge hourly rates, our law firm handles cases on a contingency fee basis. This means there are no fees upfront, and we get paid only after the successful outcome of your case.Will My Wrongful Death Case Go to Trial?
When someone is struggling with the loss of a loved one, the thought of going into a courtroom and testifying can feel overwhelming and intimidating. If you file an El Dorado Hills wrongful death claim against the party responsible for your loved one’s death, there is a good chance your claim will be resolved without having a jury trial. In fact, well over 90 percent of all personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits are resolved via settlement rather than a jury trial. Nevertheless, no attorney can or should guarantee the outcome of a case. That means when a claim is filed, you need a lawyer who is ready to go to trial, if necessary. Our law firm stands ready to take your case to trial, and we have the financial resources and trial experience to do so.What Needs to Be Proven at Trial for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
If your lawyer and the other party’s insurance claims representative cannot reach a fair and reasonable settlement, a jury trial will need to be scheduled. If this happens, the burden is on the plaintiff to present sufficient evidence to prove that the defendant was liable for your loved one’s death. Your El Dorado wrongful death lawyer will need to present evidence that meets the four elements of establishing that a defendant was liable in a wrongful death case, including:
- Duty of care – This is a lеgаl оbligаtiоn arising in numerous situations.
- Brеасh of the duty of care – There needs to be evidence that the dеfеndаnt breached the duty of care.
- Causation – Once your El Dorado Hills wrongful death attorney establishes that a breach of duty occurred, thеrе must be sufficient evidence showing a causal link bеtwееn thе dеfеndаnt’ѕ brеасh and your loved one’s death.
- Economic and non-economic dаmаgеѕ - Once causation is adequately shown, уоur attorney must present persuasive evidence to the jury that you suffered harms and losses. This can be proven in the wrongful death context by producing bills and invoices related to medical care, funeral and burial expenses, and past tax returns for lost wages.
The following video explains how you can find a qualified lawyer to handle your wrongful death claim.Wrongful Death Lawyers in El Dorado County, California
If you have lost a loved one after a tragic death accident, please call our experienced El Dorado Hills wrongful death lawyers at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for compassionate, free, and friendly advice on how to proceed with a wrongful death claim.
Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 1.10.22]
Photo by Greg Ortega on Unsplash
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