Granite Bay Wrongful Death Lawyer

Granite Bay Wrongful Death Lawyer

Losing someone you love is one of life’s most stressful situations. Even if a loved one is ill, we are never prepared enough for their passing. If they were taken by a careless or reckless act on the part of another person, a sense of anger, shock, and disbelief compounds the grief we feel. Sudden unexpected death can catapult us into a feeling of vulnerability we’ve never experienced before. So how do we cope? Most experts say that the process of grief recovery is a gradual one, filled with ups and downs. At the start, everything may feel surreal and empty. Nothing may seem to make sense anymore, and you may find that even daily chores are overwhelming. During this time, the last thing you need is to worry about financial issues caused by the decedent's passing. 

Effects of a Sudden Death

There is no quick way for a person to deal with sudden death due to negligence or an intentional act. In such cases, the people left behind are robbed of a chance to say goodbye or even to say they love you for the last time. This lack of preparedness makes death all the more overwhelming. Survivors may experience physical signs, such as loss of appetite, anxiety, and insomnia. If children are involved, parents and other caregivers worry about how they will explain how this beloved person is no longer present and why it happened. An inheritance or financial help the child or spouse might have relied on is also gone. Also, the cost of end-of-life expenses and monthly bills may prove overwhelming after the decedent’s support is lost. While no one can resolve the grief you feel, a Granite Bay wrongful death lawyer can help with financial stress.

What Is a Wrongful Death?

A wrongful death occurs when a reckless or negligent act causes a fatal accident. It can also result from intentional acts such as homicide. In some cases, actions such as driving under the influence or aggressive driving also cause wrongful death. For example, in California, a prosecutor can charge a drunk driver with vehicular or gross vehicular manslaughter or murder. This elevates the DUI to an intentional act since the driver either knew the consequences of drunk driving or was using their vehicle as a weapon. In other situations, a person may be killed by another individual who has a grievance against them. Even though this is considered murder, the family can still file a claim against the person for wrongful death. 

Causes of Wrongful Death

Negligence is the usual cause of wrongful death. As mentioned above, intentional acts can also be considered the reason a person dies. Some common reasons for wrongful death are:

What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?

A wrongful death claim is brought against the perpetrator of a negligent or intentional act that caused the death of another. These claims allow the family of the deceased to file a lawsuit to obtain compensation for their loved one’s death. Some of the most common types of compensation are:

  • Medical expenses: The medical care that is provided to the loved one in the immediate period before their demise is covered. This covers ambulance rides to the hospital, ER charges, and physician involvement. 
  • End-of-life expenses: Such expenses involve burial and funeral costs.
  • Lost income: This covers the income the decedent may have earned had they lived. It also covers future income over their lifetime. 
  • Loss of household services: This involves the cost of routine jobs the decedent would have done around the house.
  • Loss of companionship: When someone dies, their survivors will lose the moral support, affection, and companionship they might have provided.
  • Lost inheritance: A family member may be denied the amount of inheritance they might have expected has their loved one lived.
  • Loss of consortium: Loss of companionship by a spouse.

Watch the following video by attorney Ed Smith about wrongful death claims:

Survival Actions

Had the decedent not died but instead had been injured in an accident caused by a negligent party, they would have been able to file a personal injury lawsuit. This would include expenses for medical care, pain and suffering, and other costs. In a survival action, the family steps into the shoes of the decedent and files a lawsuit for the costs from the time of the injury until the family member’s death. The reason it is called a survival action is that it survives the person’s demise. A wrongful death lawsuit, on the other hand, is one that claims the compensation due to the family members after the person’s death. 

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

California law allows the following persons to file a wrongful death claim:

  • The spouse of the decedent
  • Domestic partner
  • Children
  • Stepchildren whom the decedent supports
  • A minor child the decent supported for a minimum of 180 days before their death. The decedent must have provided 50 percent of the child’s support.
  • Putative spouse: This is a person who acted as if they were married to the decedent and believed themselves to be in a “marital” relationship. This holds whether the person has legal proof of a marriage or not.
What Needs to Be Proven in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The family members must prove negligence or intention on the part of the person who caused their loved one’s death. For example, if negligence was the reason the person died, the plaintiff must prove the defendant had a duty of care to the deceased and that duty was breached, which caused the person’s death. Finally, they must prove a link between the person’s demise and the damages they are seeking.

Statute of Limitations

There is a time limit called a statute of limitations in California that limits the bereaved person’s ability to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In California, this time limit is two years from the date the person died. While this may seem to be more than enough time, there are many things that must be done before the period expires. The accident must be investigated and proof of negligence and fault established. During this difficult time, it is best if you start before evidence is lost or covered up. If a government entity is a defendant in the case, the time limit may be much different. Your Granite Bay wrongful death lawyer can make sure all documents are filed in time.

How a Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help

A wrongful death attorney helps establish negligence, which is a necessary part of filing a claim. We help our clients by sending an investigative team to the scene of the accident. In other cases, we review medical records, sometimes with the assistance of an expert to determine if the care was compromised. Once we determine if negligence or an intentional act precipitated the death, we work to file the claim and obtain the compensation. 

Granite Bay Wrongful Death Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Granite Bay wrongful death lawyer. When a loved one passes, your world is torn apart by grief and worry. Let us help in this difficult time. Call (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for compassionate, free and friendly advice. You can reach out to us online if that is more convenient for you.

I’ve been able to help many Granite Bay residents obtain the compensation they deserve. Some of the areas I’ve worked in besides wrongful death are all types of car accidents, traumatic brain injuries, and pedestrian and motorcycle accidents.

I am a proud member of the following organizations:

If you would like to learn more about my practice, please review the following pages:

Photo Attribution: Pixabay

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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! Alex & Dinah M.
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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
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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