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 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 your options 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 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.).
The National Safety Council released a report showing approximately 3,680 automobile deaths in California in 2016. That represents a 13 percent increase from California's total number of car accident fatalities in 2015. And many of these tragic car wrecks are caused by distracted drivers texting on their cell phones, speeding, or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Over 3,000 people in California were killed in automobile accidents caused by a distracted drivers in 2014. Furthermore, according to the Office of Traffic Safety, over 400,000 people were injured in collisions caused by distracted driving.Other Types of Accidents that Routinely Result in Wrongful Death
In addition to automobile accidents, there is a myriad of accidents and circumstances that can result in 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
Specific legal elements must be met to prevail in a wrongful death lawsuit. If you cannot prove these elements, you risk a judge or jury not deciding in your favor. Your attorney must show the following:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to your loved one and violated their duty of care.
- Your loved one's death was the proximate result of some negligence, carelessness, recklessness, etc., committed by the defendant.
- 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 having a strong Fresno wrongful death attorney on your side makes sense.
Watch the following video to learn more about a wrongful death claim.Fresno Wrongful Death FAQ
Can I afford a lawyer for my wrongful death case?
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 clients to pay a retainer upfront. Wrongful death attorneys operate on a contingency fee basis. 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 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, typically a settlement or jury verdict.
How long do I have to file a wrongful death claim?
Procrastination can rob you of your legal right to pursue recovery through California's wrongful death laws. This is because, under the California Code of Civil Procedure § 335.1, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim is two years, and 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.
Wrongful Death Lawyers in Fresno, CA
If you have lost someone you love in an accident caused by the fault of a negligent party, you will need a seasoned advocate on your side. Please call our Fresno wrongful death lawyers at (559) 377-7676 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice.
Editor's Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy. [cha 7.12.22]
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