Folsom Wrongful Death Lawyer
A death in the family can be one of the most painful and heart-wrenching experiences that anyone must endure. This is particularly true in the case of a death caused by the negligent or reckless actions of another. Far too many families are having their lives turned upside down due to the irresponsible and cavalier actions of others. For example, 2016 was one of the deadliest years on roads and highways in the United States since nearly a decade, according to NSC.org. Close to forty thousand people died in automobile collisions in 2016. This represents a staggering increase of approximately six percent from the year prior (2015) and a fourteen percent increase in car wreck fatalities from the year 2014. That means the increase in car accident deaths between 2014 and 2016 is the biggest two-year increase in over five decades.
If you lost a loved one in an accident, speak to a Folsom wrongful death lawyer about your legal options.
Folsom Wrongful Death Claims May Arise in Different Circumstances
A number of different scenarios can give rise to a Folsom wrongful death lawsuit. As mentioned above, one of the most common scenarios where a wrongful death claim may arise is a serious auto accident. Other circumstances include:
- Pedestrian accidents
- Boating accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Medical errors and malpractice
- Dangerous consumer products
- Defective auto design and repairs
- Unsafe pharmaceuticals and medical devices
While the above listed causes of wrongful death are the most common types of claims we see, that does not mean that other types of incidents resulting in death will not be grounds for a wrongful death claim. If you suspect that you may have a Folsom wrongful death claim, please contact an experienced Folsom wrongful death attorney right away.
The Financial Strain of a Sudden Loss
The sudden loss of a loved one can result in significant and immediate financial strain on family resources. Medical bills can become astronomically expensive. Funeral costs can also be quite large. Furthermore, the decedent may have been the primary breadwinner for the family. For these and other expenses during your time of need, an attorney can help you get the maximum possible legal recovery. The types of economic and non-economic damages that are typically pursued in a Folsom wrongful death case can include:
- Medical bills, funeral costs, and other expenses associated with a death
- Future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Emotional distress
Pursuing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Limited to Certain Family Members under State Law
California law has limited the filing of this type of civil claim to the following individuals:
- The victim’s spouse or domestic partner, if any
- The victim’s child, or children, if any
- If the victim passed away without a significant other or children, it is still possible to file a claim. Though, it needs to be filed by the individual who is designated as the representative or executor of the victim’s estate.
Consolidated Claims for Wrongful Death
Another issue that can come up is whether more than one person can pursue a Folsom wrongful death claim on the behalf of the person who died. For example, if both a fiancé and a parent want to pursue claims on behalf of the deceased person. Filing two separate lawsuits based on the same incident involving the same decedent would be a fruitless endeavor. This is because the insurance defense attorney would simply file a motion to consolidate the two claims and you would wind up with one case.
You may be thinking, “okay, I’ll just wait until the first lawsuit is completed, then I’ll file my lawsuit.” Again, this would be a fruitless endeavor. First, there is the issue of collateral estoppel, which is a legal doctrine holding that the same issues will not be re-litigated. Second, there will probably be statute of limitations issues with filing a second lawsuit after the conclusion of a first lawsuit.
Common Question – Will I Have to Testify in Court?
When someone is coping with the sudden loss of a loved one, the thought of going into a courtroom and testifying can be quite intimidating and unpleasant. Take heed in the fact that there is a good chance your Fresno wrongful death claim will be resolved through settlement or mediation without having to testify at a jury trial. In fact, over 95 percent of all personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits are resolved through a settlement rather than jury verdict. Nevertheless, no lawyer should guarantee that you will not have to testify because each case is different and a jury trial may in fact be necessary to obtain the financial restitution you deserve.
What Needs to Be Proven at Trial
If the other party’s insurance representative is unwilling to offer a reasonable settlement, a jury trial will need to occur. If this happens, the burden is on your Folsom wrongful death attorney to present compelling evidence to prove that the defendant was liable for your loved one’s death. There are four elements that need to be established to hold a defendant liable in a wrongful death case. Those four elements include:
- Duty of care – This arises in different circumstances. For example, a driver has a duty of care to operate their vehicle in a reasonably safe manner and adhere to the rules of the road.
- Brеасh of the duty of care – There needs to be evidence that the dеfеndаnt breached the duty of care.
- Causation – Once a breach of duty has been established, thеrе needs to be sufficient evidence showing a proximate, causal link bеtwееn thе dеfеndаnt’ѕ brеасh and your loved one’s death.
- Dаmаgеѕ - In the wrongful death context, this element can be proven by producing bills and invoices related to medical care, funeral and burial expenses, past tax returns for lost wages, and so forth.
If you lost a loved one due to the careless or reckless actions of another individual or corporate entity, let a Folsom Wrongful Death Lawyer assist you during this difficult time.Compassionate and Experienced Folsom Wrongful Death Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Folsom wrongful death lawyer. If your loved one has passed away due to the negligence of someone else, please call me at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly and compassionate advice.
To see some of the results I have obtained on past cases read my Verdicts and Settlements.
I am a proud California trial lawyer inducted into the Million Dollar Forum. This is an association of lawyers with million dollar case verdicts and settlements.
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