North Highlands Wrongful Death Lawyer
The sudden and completely unexpected loss of a loved one, whether it be a spouse, child, sibling, or parent, is one of the worst tragedies that can strike a family. The pain can often be so great as to affect someone for the rest of their life. The pain of loss is made that much worse when the death was caused by either the wrongdoing or negligence of another person or corporation.Understanding Wrongful Death Under California Law
California defines wrongful death as a death resulting from the wrongful act or neglect of another person or entity. Wrongful death can take many forms and can either be the result of some intentional or reckless act or it could simply be an accident like an automobile collision. The wrongful death statute is codified in California Civil Code § 377.60.Pursuing Justice Through a Wrongful Death Claim
If you lost a loved one in a preventable accident, you may be able to pursue justice and accountability through a North Highlands wrongful death lawsuit. This is a civil claim that allows a family member or close relative of the deceased to seek financial compensation for their loss in court. This special type of lawsuit can be brought by either the deceased person’s surviving spouse, domestic partner, or surviving children. In the event that the decedent had no spouse or children, the lawsuit can be brought by the heirs of the decedent or the decedent’s parents if the decedent was a child.
Given the broad definition of wrongful death, there are many types of wrongful death claims. In general, any type of neglect or wrongful act that causes death could potentially become a wrongful death. However, some types of claims arise more commonly than others. For example, California leads the nation in deaths from auto accidents, with over 3,000 people dying annually in traffic collisions. Some of the most frequent types of wrongful death lawsuits involve:
- Auto accidents
- Motorcycle crashes
- Truck collisions
- Pedestrian accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Defective products
- Nursing home abuse
- Premises liability
Any of these types of incidents, if they result in the death of a loved one, could serve as the basis for a wrongful death claim under California law.The Wrongful Death Process
A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit. Unlike a criminal case, which is brought by the state government against a wrongdoer, a civil lawsuit is brought by a plaintiff. In California's wrongful death cases, the lawsuit is brought by a close family member of the decedent (i.e. the person who passed away).
In general, the lawsuit must be filed in accordance with California’s statute of limitations. The statute of limitations bars any lawsuit not commenced within the required time period. For wrongful death lawsuits, the statutory time period runs for two years from the date of the death. Note also that in wrongful death lawsuits brought against the government (such as in the case of a city bus crash), the governmental entity being sued must be notified of the injury claim within six months of the incident.
Once the lawsuit is filed, it can either settle out of court or go to trial either in front of a jury or a judge. Often, at least one insurance company will be involved in the lawsuit. In the case of an auto accident, for example, the offending driver is likely covered by auto insurance, in which case, the wrongful death lawsuit will be primarily be fought against the insurer.
Wrongful death claims are designed to help compensate the grieving family for its losses. While we know that no amount of money can ever replace your lost loved one, legal compensation can help you recover funeral costs, medical bills, lost income and support, and loss of companionship. These damages are designed to reduce a family’s financial hardship after a sudden death.
The video below explains a wrongful death claim and the types of damages that can be claimed.Seek Legal Representation to Protect Your Rights
Wrongful death lawsuits tend to be extremely complicated legal proceedings with multiple moving parts, filing deadlines, and so forth. Hiring an experienced North Highlands wrongful death lawyer like me, Ed Smith, to represent your interests in court is strongly recommended. You should focus on spending time with your family and picking up the pieces of your life. I'll handle the complicated legal work and I'm happy to do. I've been representing people in personal injury and wrongful death cases for over 30 years. Contact my office to schedule a no-cost, confidential case review.Wrongful Death Lawyers in North Highlands
I’m Ed Smith, a North Highlands Wrongful Death Attorney. It’s never easy to lose someone you care about. If your loved one was taken as a result of another party’s negligence, I can help. Please call me anytime for compassionate, free and friendly advice. I can be reached at 916.921.6400 or 800.404.5400 and online via my website: AutoAccident.com.
I have worked to serve the North Highlands and Sacramento community since 1982, helping people injured in accidents and their families recover.
:sid rey [cs 921]
Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 11.13.19]