Patterson Wrongful Death Lawyer
The loss of a loved one is one of the most devastating tragedies surviving family members may experience in their lifetimes. It is challenging enough to accept losing someone you love from expected or natural causes. However, it can be something entirely different when the negligence of another party or entity cuts a loved one's life short.
Our attorneys at AutoAccident.com understand the grief and pain that can affect a family after a loved one's wrongful death. We are dedicated to seeking justice for families in Patterson, CA. Contact our law firm to receive free, friendly legal advice at (209) 227-1931 or (800) 404-5400.
A free consultation with an experienced attorney from our wrongful death law firm can help determine whether you have grounds to bring a case in Patterson, California. Our legal team will take the time to listen to your story, hear how much your loved one meant to you, and extend our sincere thoughts and condolences. We will also inform you of your legal rights and the best action. Schedule your confidential, no-obligation consultation today.Wrongful Death Laws in California
According to California law, wrongful death is a loss of life that results from someone else's negligence. Had the decedent survived the deadly incident, they would have the legal right to claim damages. Since the accident resulted in fatal injuries, it is up to the decedent's personal representative (surviving family members) or estate to bring a case on behalf of the lost loved one. To do so, survivors must obey California's wrongful death laws on:
- Elements of Negligence: The survivor, or plaintiff, in a wrongful death claim, must prove four elements of negligence to successfully seek compensation in their case. They need to show that the decedent was owed a duty of care by the at-fault party, that the duty of care was breached by the negligent individual's actions, and that the at-fault party's negligence was the proximate cause of the wrongful death. The loss of a loved one resulted in damages to surviving family members.
- Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit: Under the California Code of Civil Procedure Section 377.60, the surviving spouse, domestic partner, or children have priority when it comes to bringing a wrongful death case. Others who depended on the deceased for financial support may also be eligible for wrongful death compensation if the parties mentioned previously are nonexistent. This may include a surviving parent, stepchild, putative spouse, or child of the putative spouse who survived the decedent.
- Filing Deadline for Wrongful Death: The statute of limitations is two years from the date of a loved one's wrongful death, as outlined in the California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1. Do not miss the two-year statute of limitations; your family may lose the legal right to recover wrongful death damages.
- Compensation in a Wrongful Death Case: California recognizes the immense loss a family experiences after the wrongful death of a loved one and provides a way for survivors to hold the at-fault party financially accountable for their loss. A wrongful death settlement serves to make a family as whole as possible for the loss of a loved one.
Placing a value on the loss of a loved one can only make the grieving process even more challenging and stressful. California law allows for the surviving family members of the decedent to recover several types of wrongful death damages:
- Economic Damages: One type of economic damage incurred between the fatal accident and the time of the decedent's death is the end-of-life medical expenses. These are generally recoverable through a survival action. Another type of economic damage that addresses the financial losses suffered by surviving family members includes the costs of a loved one's funeral and burial services. Other financial losses are often challenging to calculate as they require the expertise of an expert, such as an economist, to calculate a full and fair value. These may include estimating the decedent's future earnings, benefits, inheritance, and other economic contributions to the family.
- Non-Economic Damages: Aside from economic losses, California allows the decedent's surviving family members to claim non-economic or general damages. California law refers to this as the loss of care, companionship, and protection the deceased would have provided otherwise, if not for the wrongful death car accident. Children who were dependent on the decedent may often be compensated for the deprivation of parental guidance and support for their deceased parent.
- Punitive Damages: Under specific circumstances, punitive or exemplary damages may be awarded at the court's discretion. Unlike economic and non-economic damages, which seek to assist the decedent's family in recovering from financial and intangible losses, punitive damages are intended to punish the at-fault party for their egregious actions. Exemplary damages also discourage similar behavior from the negligent party and others in the future. In a fatal motor vehicle accident case, a Patterson wrongful death attorney may seek punitive damages from the at-fault party if it was determined that they were excessively speeding or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs leading up to the deadly incident.
The video below provides more details on the wrongful death claims process.What are the Most Common Causes of Wrongful Death?
Any deadly incident may give rise to a wrongful death claim. However, some types of accidents and acts of negligence are more commonly involved in wrongful death cases than others. If your family has lost a loved one due to one of the circumstances listed below, you may likely have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit:
- Bicycle Accidents
- Car Crashes
- Dog Attacks or Bites
- Farming Accidents
- Hit and Runs
- Motorcycle Collisions
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Premises Liability
- Products Liability
- Trucking Collisions
An experienced Patterson wrongful death lawyer from AutoAccident.com can help determine a fair settlement you and your family deserve from the at-fault party and their insurance company. While the wrongful death claims process may be challenging and stressful, to say the least, our legal team can simplify it for your family. Contact our law firm to get started today.