Oakland Wrongful Death Lawyer
The loss of a family member in an accident in Oakland, California, can be unimaginably heartbreaking and painful, to say the least. When that death occurs because of someone else’s negligence, surviving family members may have many questions about how it took place, how it could have been prevented, and which parties should be held liable for the resulting damages. Answering those questions and learning about your rights to financial recovery starts by reaching out to an experienced wrongful death attorney near you for a free case evaluation.
Losing a loved one in an unexpected accident is heartbreaking. Learn how our skilled Oakland wrongful death attorneys from AutoAccident.com can help your family through this trying time in a free consultation. Call our law office for free, friendly case advice at (510) 631-0200 or (800) 404-5400.
When you are ready to learn about your rights and options for recovery as a surviving family member in California, contact one of our skilled and compassionate wrongful death attorneys serving Oakland. We have represented families facing similar situations like yours since 1982 and would be honored to help you through this difficult time by obtaining the justice and compensation you deserve. Our law firm offers free consultations and works on contingency which means you owe us nothing unless we secure a successful resolution in your case.What is Wrongful Death in California?
Wrongful death is the legal term used in reference to a loss of life occurring from another party’s negligent or careless actions. A wrongful death claim is a civil action that may be brought on behalf of surviving family members against a negligent party or entity for the resulting losses. Such cases are generally brought against an insurance company representing an-fault party or entity.What Damages are Available in Wrongful Death Cases?
The value of a wrongful death action is generally determined by the amount of losses that surviving family members have suffered in addition to other factors. Since economic and non-economic damages vary, the value of a claim must be determined on a case-by-case basis. Therefore, it is essential to seek the assistance of a skilled wrongful death attorney in Oakland in these matters. In general, a wrongful death claim may seek reimbursement for losses that include but are not limited to:
- Medical Expenses: Wrongful death does not always occur immediately in an accident. Injured parties may survive some time following the incident before succumbing to their injuries. The costs of end-of-life treatment for the deceased between the incident and the time of their passing may be recoverable through a survival action.
- Funeral Costs: Costs of funeral and burial services may be recovered in a wrongful death case. When seeking reimbursement for final resting arrangements, it is essential for survivors to save all relevant invoices and receipts. These documents should be shared with their Oakland wrongful death lawyer immediately.
- Loss of Financial Support: If the decedent was the primary provider of the household, surviving family members may struggle to pay for the necessities of life. Fortunately, California law allows survivors to seek reimbursement for lost financial support. This will be based on factors like the deceased’s age, job, education, life expectancy, and more.
- Household Services: If the decedent provided services for the household, that has now been lost. Those tasks must be handled by someone else and paid for. For instance, if the deceased provided childcare, maintenance around the household, and other support for the family, survivors may be entitled to the past and future loss of household services.
- Loss of Affection, Care, and Companionship: When a loved one is lost in an accident, surviving family members are deprived of the companionship, care, and affection provided by the deceased. Damages for loss of companionship may be recovered in cases of wrongful death.
- Mental Anguish: Damages for mental anguish are intended to compensate surviving family members for the psychological impact that the loss of a loved one has had on them. There must be clear evidence demonstrating that the wrongful death of a close relative was the direct cause of mental anguish.
Maintaining the integrity of a wrongful death action starts with organizing all documentation related to the fatal incident. The more comprehensive and compelling the evidence is, the better position surviving family members may be in when it comes to negotiations. If possible, survivors should collect evidence like eyewitness accounts, pictures of the incident site, video surveillance footage, traffic incident reports by Oakland PD or the CHP, and other associated documentation.Can Comparative Fault Affect the Value of a Wrongful Death Action?
It is essential to be aware of the comparative fault law in California. In this system, if both parties are found liable for an accident, the total award for surviving family members is decreased by the percentage of fault assigned to the deceased. For reasons such as these, it is in your best interest to work with a skilled and compassionate attorney immediately following the wrongful death of a close relative. Your lawyer will work to ensure that fault for a fatal accident is not unfairly pinpointed on your lost loved one.What if the Other Side Does Not Have Liability Coverage?
Drivers in California are required to carry auto insurance. Unfortunately, many motorists go without liability coverage. When a fatal traffic collision is caused by a driver without insurance, a decedent’s insurance company may step in and provide coverage pursuant to the terms of the policy for uninsured motorist coverage. Even then, the recovery process is not always straightforward in first-party insurance claims. Therefore, it is useful to retain legal counsel right away to protect your family’s rights.
Not all insurance companies have the best interests of survivors at heart when it comes to wrongful death claims. These for-profit businesses will often attempt to get out of paying claims whenever possible. Unfortunately, it is not unheard of for insurers to resort to defense tactics to blame decedents for accidents or to deny claims. It is essential to have the representation of an Oakland wrongful death lawyer with experience standing up to difficult insurance carriers and defense counsel.Benefits of Hiring a Lawyer for an Oakland Wrongful Death Case
Handling a fatal accident claim for damages requires a comprehensive understanding of California wrongful death law, access to resources, and experience in insurance negotiations. You can expect that from a skilled and compassionate attorney. Other ways a lawyer can help your family include:
- Be a source of information and knowledge for your family should you have questions or concerns about the status of your case
- Conduct an independent investigation into the incident to gather useful evidence to build a strong case for maximum compensation
- Work with expert witnesses to properly establish liability for the fatal accident, causation, and damages
- Handle negotiations with insurers and defense counsel to reach a favorable agreement on your behalf
- File a lawsuit on time to ensure that the statute of limitations that applies to the matter does not expire
If you would like to discuss the specifics of your case with a skilled Oakland wrongful death lawyer, contact our legal team from AutoAccident.com to set up a free consultation today. Learn about our personal injury law firm and our services by watching this video.Oakland Wrongful Death FAQ
What are the elements of a wrongful death action?
To bring a successful case for wrongful death forward, there are four elements that must be established. This includes the at-fault party owed the deceased a duty of care, the other side breached that duty of care, the breach of duty of care was the direct cause of the fatal incident, and survivors incurred damages. Reviewing these elements in a free consultation with the best Oakland wrongful death lawyer may be useful when determining if you have grounds for a claim and what your next steps should be.
Who can receive damages in a wrongful death action in California?
The relatives eligible to receive damages in a wrongful death claim include the surviving spouse, domestic partner, or children. These family members have priority in filing these matters, according to the California Civil Code of Procedure Section 377.60. Other relatives who were financially dependent on the decedent may also be eligible for filing. To determine your eligibility for a fatal accident case, contact an experienced wrongful death lawyer serving Oakland, California.
How much time do survivors have to file a wrongful death case in California?
The statute of limitations for wrongful death cases is outlined in the California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1. Most cases for wrongful death must be filed within two years. However, the deadline may vary based on the facts involved in the matter. Cases involving public entities, like the City of Oakland, require the filing of a notice of claim within six months, per the California Government Code Section 911.2. It is essential to retain legal counsel ahead of the statute of limitations to allow time to build the strongest case possible.Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney Serving Oakland, CA
No family should experience the tragedy of a loved one’s wrongful death. Sadly, one too many Oaklanders are killed in accidents every year. A wrongful death claim may help provide survivors the sense of justice and closure they deserve. Our Oakland wrongful death lawyers are dedicated to helping families obtain compensation to the maximum extent possible in settlements and verdicts. Contact our legal team from AutoAccident.com today for free, friendly case advice at (510) 631-0200 or (800) 404-5400.
Photo Credit: “cottonbrostudio” via Pexels
:ds llo [cs 1671]