Fresno Wrongful Death Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Fresno Wrongful Death Lawyer. The sudden loss of a spouse, a child, a parent, a sibling, etc. is a heart-wrenching, devastating experience that far too many people have to endure. The grieving process is emotionally draining and can be made more stressful when you throw financial difficulties into the mix. That is why it makes sense to sit down with a Fresno wrongful death lawyer to discuss the options available to you to pursue financial compensation. Obviously, no amount of compensation can completely heal you and your family after a loss. Even so, surviving family members have a legal right to pursue compensation from the negligent individual or company who caused your loved one's death.

Easing the Financial Strain After an Unexpected Death

A death in the family not only causes severe emotional hardship, but it can also result in financial calamity. The funeral costs, medical expenses, and loss of income often result in the surviving family members struggling with major financial strain. Filing a wrongful death claim in a civil court can help alleviate some of the debts by allowing you to pursue compensation for the following harms and losses:

  • Medical bills that were incurred by your loved one as a result of the accident that ultimately led to their death (e.g., ambulance fees, costs related to treatment in a Fresno emergency room, etc.);
  • Funeral expenses (burial expenses, funeral home costs, etc.);
  • The lost income that would have been earned by the deceased loved one, which includes the remaining lifetime earning potential and wages of the victim;
  • Pain and suffering (death is an emotionally and mentally draining experience and courts allow victims to recover damages for their pain and suffering during the grieving process); and
  • Loss of consortium and support (loss of moral and emotional support, companionship, etc.).
Auto Accidents Common Cause of Wrongful Deaths

The National Safety Council released a report showing that there were approximately 3,680 automobile deaths in California in 2016. That represents a 13 percent increase from the total number of car accident fatalities in California in 2015. And many of these tragic car wrecks are caused by distracted drivers who are texting on their cell phones, are speeding, or are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Over 3,000 people in California were killed in automobile accidents caused by a distracted driver in 2014. Furthermore, over 400,000 people were injured in collisions caused by distracted driving, according to the Office of Traffic Safety.

Other Types of Accidents That Routinely Result in a Wrongful Death

In addition to automobile accidents, there are a myriad of accidents and circumstances that can result in a wrongful death, including:

  • Pedestrian and bicycle accidents
  • Nursing home abuse
  • Mistake during surgery
  • Vicious Dog Attack
  • Defective product or dangerous medication
Understanding the Legal Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim

There are specific legal elements that must be met in order to prevail in a wrongful death lawsuit. If you cannot prove these elements, you run the risk of a judge or jury not deciding in your favor. Your attorney must prove the following:

  1. The defendant owed a duty of care to your loved one;
  2. The defendant violated their duty of care;
  3. Your loved one's death was the proximate result of some negligence, carelessness, recklessness, etc. committed by the defendant; and
  4. The surviving family members have suffered damages, or have otherwise been harmed emotionally or financially by the loss.

Effectively arguing and presenting these four elements to a judge or jury is critical to the potential success of your Fresno wrongful death claim. That is why it makes sense to have a seasoned trial attorney on your side.

No Legal Fee Until a Financial Recovery is Obtained For You

If you are concerned about contacting a lawyer because you do not want to pay an arm and a leg for representation, then put your mind at ease. Wrongful death attorneys generally do not charge expensive hourly fees or require a client to pay a retainer fee upfront. Wrongful death attorneys operate on a contingency fee basis. Basically, this means that your lawyer's fee is contingent upon obtaining a financial recovery for you. This aligns the incentives between you and your attorney so you are both working towards the same goal – getting the most possible from the defendant. The contingency fee generally ranges from 33 percent to 40 percent of the overall financial recovery, which is typically a settlement or jury verdict.

Do Not Let Your Legal Right to Recovery Expire Due to Delay

Procrastination can wind up robbing you of your legal right to pursue a recovery through California's wrongful death laws. This is because, under California Code of Civil Procedure § 335.1, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim is two years. This means that your lawsuit must be filed in a Fresno civil court within that time. If you fail to do so, you could have your wrongful death case thrown out of court.

It is also recommended that you act sooner rather than later because your attorney needs time to investigate the incident that culminated in your loved one's death. That is why it is always better to file earlier rather than later.

 

Fresno Wrongful Death Lawyer, Ed Smith

Fresno Wrongful Death Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Fresno wrongful death lawyer. If you have lost someone you love in an accident caused by the fault of a negligent party, please call me at (559) 377-7676 for free, friendly advice. I am also available to speak with you toll-free at (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice.

I have been assisting California residents with their personal injury and wrongful death cases since 1982.

Learn more about our law office here.

Feel free to browse our client reviews on Yelp, Avvo and Google Plus.

I am listed as a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. This forum is an association of injury lawyers that have won million dollar case verdicts and settlements for their clients.

Take a brief moment to peruse our Past Verdicts and Settlements page.

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Client Reviews
  • Me and my wife; had a car accident. We were amazed how easy, professional, friendly attorney Ed Smith is along with his staff. Everybody is amazing. Thank you so much, we are very impressed!
    Sincerely, Alex & Dinah M. ★★★★★
  • Ed Smith and his office team took on a difficult personal injury case on my behalf and for the passenger in my car. Ed is a top- notch attorney. His staff couldn't have been more helpful and kind. No need to look elsewhere. I give Ed Smith my highest recommendation. Beverly ★★★★★
  • Ed and Robert have been taking great care of my husband and I for the past 5+ years. They are always there when you have a problem and a quick resolution! Even when the issues have nothing to do with them. They are willing to help ease the pain off your shoulders. They are as good as it gets! Thank you again for everything. Annie T. ★★★★★
  • Very professional. Great team, staff and service all around. Mr Smith was very honest, straight forward with his advice. He gives the word "attorney" an honest reputation. I will seek his council anytime, and would recommend him at the drop of a dime. Jeremy M. ★★★★★
  • I would highly recommend Ed Smith to any friends or family in need of a personal injury attorney. Ed, and his staff, are very caring on top of being very experienced in this field. The staff always keeps you informed of the status of your case and they are always easy to reach by phone. Shannon D. ★★★★★
  • Edward Smith law offices provide competent, thorough, and personable help for victims of personal injury. When you first meet the staff you know you contacted the right office. This law office treats clients like people. I recommend this office to anyone seeking representation regarding personal injury. David M. ★★★★★