Lincoln, CA Wrongful Death Lawyer
If you lost a loved one due to the negligence of another person or corporation my heart goes out to you. During this difficult time, it is important to know that you may be able to obtain financial restitution by filing a wrongful death claim. Pursuing compensation through a wrongful death claim can help ensure your family is not confronted with financial ruin.
Many families are placed under a tremendous amount of stress after the sudden death of a loved one, especially when that loved one supported the family financially. In the blink of an eye, you may be left with thousands of dollars in medical bills, funeral costs, a mortgage that needs to be paid, student loans that have to be serviced, and so forth.
While the litigation process can be confusing and frustrating, it is a worthwhile endeavor to help safeguard your family’s financial future and to get justice for your loved one. You should speak to an experienced Lincoln wrongful death attorney about the best way to move forward so your legal rights are protected.Understanding the “What” of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Under California law, wrongful death is defined as the passing of a person caused by the careless or reckless actions, or inactions, of another person or company. A wrongful death lawsuit seeks to hold the person or entity who caused the death responsible for the loss of the decedent and the pain endured by the decedent's family.
A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil lawsuit for damages that is distinct from a criminal case where someone is charged by the government for breaking a law. Unlike a criminal case, the plaintiff in a wrongful death lawsuit pursues monetary damages. In a criminal case, the government pursues criminal penalties like jail time against the defendant.
Wrongful death can occur in numerous different ways. It could include a traffic collision, workplace accident, medical error, and even sometimes a physical encounter like a bar fight. If you have questions about whether a particular circumstance may be considered a wrongful death, you should speak to an attorney.
Speaking to an attorney sooner rather than later is highly recommended. This is because you only have two years to file a lawsuit under California Code of Civil Procedure sections 312-366. Trying to file a lawsuit after two years have passed usually results in disappointment because most California courts will simply boot your case out of court as being untimely filed. You should also not wait until the very last minute to speak to an attorney because they require time to review your potential case and file the necessary paperwork. It is recommended that you contact an attorney shortly after your loved one's accident.Understanding the “Who” of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
As discussed above, the defendant in a wrongful death lawsuit is either a person or entity who caused the victim’s untimely death. The person does not need to be a California citizen and can be anyone that a California court can exercise jurisdiction over (thanks to California’s broad long-arm statute, that tends to be almost anyone). If an entity caused the victim’s death, it may be a corporation, business partnership, or any organization that has the legal capacity to be sued. The government can even be a defendant in a wrongful death action; for example, a city bus crash.
The person who files a personal injury lawsuit is known as the plaintiff. Under California law, the plaintiff in a wrongful death lawsuit must be a close family member like a spouse or domestic partner, a child of the victim, or another relative like a parent or sibling.Understanding the “Why” of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
As mentioned, a wrongful death lawsuit is rooted in the civil justice system which is predicated on seeking monetary damages. The purpose of wrongful death damages is to help financially stabilize a family after a sudden loss and to force the wrongdoer to provide just compensation for causing someone's untimely death. The following types of damages are recoverable in a wrongful death lawsuit:
- Payment of any medical or surgery bills
- Full reimbursement of funeral and burial costs
- Loss of the financial support provided by the victim to the family, including future earnings of the victim, had they not been killed in the accident
- Loss of companionship and guidance (i.e. the family’s pain and suffering)
The video below discusses a wrongful death claim and how you can pursue it.Lincoln, CA Wrongful Death Lawyer
I'm Ed Smith, a wrongful death attorney in Lincoln, CA. If someone you love has passed away due to the negligent or careless actions of another, please call me for compassionate, free and friendly advice on the legal process. I can be reached at 916.921.6400 or 800. 404.5400 to talk about how I can help. You can also reach me online.
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Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 12.19.19]