Merced Wrongful Death lawyer (209) 227-1931
If a close family member dies as a result of another person’s negligent actions, or inaction, a lawsuit may be the last thing on your mind. But while you are grieving for your loss, the defendant and their insurance company will likely be doing everything possible to minimize their exposure to a potential wrongful death lawsuit. This is why you should consider pursuing a legal claim as soon as possible.
How Wrongful Deaths Can Occur
A wrongful death is a death proximately caused by the negligence, recklessness, or intentional act of another individual. Thus, to prove a wrongful death, the decedent’s family must show, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant committed some wrongful act or failed to take reasonable action in response to a particular situation.
There are many types of wrongful acts that could result in a death including:
- Collision between two automobiles
- Collision between a car and a commercial truck
- Collision between a motorcycle and another vehicle
- Work-related injuries
- Alcohol-related incidents
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home abuse
- Defective consumer products
- Boating accidents
- Dangerous business premises
The above list is certainly not an exhausting catalog of all possible incidents that could serve as the basis for a Merced wrongful death claim. Many other types of incidents could have resulted in wrongful death.
Types of Damages That May Be Recovered in a Merced Wrongful Death Case
Under California law, a surviving family member (i.e. representative) may file a civil claim for damages on behalf of the decedent. This means that expenses associated with the passing of the deceased as well as the family’s own pain and suffering can be recovered through the wrongful death claims process. Among the types of damages that can be pursued include:
- Post-Death Expenses: Medical bills, funeral costs, and other expenses associated with your loved one prior to their passing. Medical expenses are common when someone was involved in an automobile collision and they received emergency medical treatment after the accident, but ultimately succumb to their injuries.
- Future Earnings: If the decedent had a family and was earning an income from a job, the representative for the decedent’s estate can pursue future wages that would have been earned by the decedent, if not for the fatal accident.
- Your Pain and Suffering: This includes your anguish and trauma stemming from the incident, including mental anguish.
- Loss of Companionship: You can secure compensation for the loss of companionship previously provided to you by a family member.
- Punitive Damages: In certain cases containing truly shocking conduct on the part of the defendant, it may be possible to recover an additional form of damages known as punitive damages. These damages are typically awarded to send a signal to the defendant, and others who are similarly situated, that the conduct precipitating your loved one’s death is wholly unacceptable and there will be consequences.
Why You Should Hire a Merced Wrongful Death Lawyer
Unfortunately, while you are grieving and adjusting to the recent passing of a family member, the insurance company for the at-fault party will likely be hiring private investigators and attorneys to try and mitigate their potential exposure to any claimed damages. This should come as no surprise since insurance companies generate profit by paying out the least amount possible, even on perfectly legitimate claims.
Insurance Company Tactics
Insurance companies regularly hire paid experts to examine the scene of the accident and examine all possible angles to help the insurance company argue for either for reduced damages or for your wrongful death case to be dismissed entirely. This is why it is important to hire a Merced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible to get your own investigative team moving and preserving critical evidence. An attorney knows what tricks insurance adjusters use to game the legal system and can help prevent them from causing permanent damage to your wrongful death case. Experienced attorneys will also seek out any witnesses to the incident quickly so that they can provide detailed statements before their short-term memories lapse.
You Pay No Attorney Fees Upfront
You may be concerned about large legal fees and not being able to afford a Merced wrongful death lawyer. Put those concerns to rest. Most, if not all, wrongful death lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis. This means that rather than charging you an hourly fee for legal representation, or making you pay a huge retainer fee, the lawyer’s fee is contingent upon a successful outcome in your case, either through a settlement or verdict. Once a financial recovery has been obtained for you, the lawyer generally receives a percentage of the total financial legal recovery. The percentage varies depending on the facts of the case and whether the outcome required going to court for a jury trial.
Be Vigilant and Do Not Let the Statute of Limitations Expire
An unexpected death triggers a law known as the statute of limitations. In California, a representative for a decedent has only two years (or six months in the case of a government defendant) from the time of the death to bring a lawsuit seeking justice and financial compensation for that death. For these reasons, the family of a loved one should take time to grieve and come to terms with the loss, but soon after, you should consider preserving your legal rights by speaking to a Merced wrongful death attorney.Call a Compassionate and Experienced Merced Wrongful Death Lawyer Today
I’m Ed Smith, a Merced wrongful death lawyer. If you have lost someone you love in a tragedy and you feel someone was at fault, please call me at (209) 227-1931 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly and no-obligation advice.
Take a moment to review some of my Verdicts and Settlements.
I am honored to be listed as a Million Dollar Advocate. This is a fellowship of US trial lawyers who have obtained million dollar verdicts.
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