Rancho Cordova Wrongful Death Lawyer
When a loved one’s life is cut short by the negligence of another, the law in California enables a representative of the decedent’s estate to pursue monetary restitution through a wrongful death claim. After the accident, you may be thinking that it is inappropriate to contact a wrongful death lawyer because of what other people might think or say. Do not make this mistake. If you lost a loved one in a preventable accident, the filing of a wrongful death lawsuit is simply exercising your rights, under the law, to hold the reckless party responsible for their negligent actions in civil court.
The Financial Strain and Emotional Trauma Associated with the Sudden Death of a Loved one
No amount of money can bring back a loved one. Nevertheless, taking legal action and pursuing a wrongful death claim can help ease the financial strain associated with an unexpected death, especially if the decedent was the primary breadwinner for their family. The types of damages that are typically awarded in wrongful death claims include:
- Medical bills, funeral costs, and other expenses associated with a loved one’s death.
- Future Earnings: Expected income that the decedent would have earned over the course of his or her lifetime can also be recovered as part of a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Pain and Suffering of the Decedent: California courts consider the pain and suffering that the decedent experienced prior to their untimely death. This often arises in the context of an accident where the victim was severely injured, receives medical treatment (e.g., emergency care), but the severity of the injuries are simply too extensive and the victim succumbs to the severity of their injuries.
- Loss of Mentorship and Companionship: You can secure compensation for the loss of companionship previously provided to you by your loved one. This claim is typically made when the decedent is survived by a spouse.
Punitivе Dаmаgеs Could Potentially Be Recoverable
A form of damages that may be pursuable, in addition to the damages described above are punitive damages. These are damages designed to effectively reprimand a defendant who engaged in outrageous conduct and let others know that such behavior is completely unacceptable.
California Civil Code Section 3294 governs the pursuit of punitive damages. It is important to understand that a plaintiff (i.e. the injured party) may only pursue punitive damages when it is shown that the defendant’s actions were particularly egregious or committed with a malicious intent. Not only must this type of behavior exists, but you need to prove it with overwhelmingly convincing evidence (a.k.a. clear and convincing evidence). A way to think about this evidentiary standard is that you have to tip the proverbial scales of justice to your side by a wide margin (well over 50 percent). This is a much higher standard in the field of wrongful death law. The applicable evidentiary standard for most personal injury cases is just a tad over 50 percent (a.k.a. preponderance of the evidence).
However, there are instances where the egregious conduct is so shocking that punitive damages are recoverable. A fatal car accident caused by a heavily intoxicated driver is an example of where punitive damages could be pursued.
Benefits of Hiring a Rancho Cordova Wrongful Death Lawyer
A wrongful death lawyer plays a significant role in developing a persuasive case that can convince a judge or jury to award you maximum compensation. They can help determine if you have a viable claim and make sure that no important deadlines for filing are missed. They deal with complex legal issues involving tort law, probate law, contract law, and insurance law. They ensure that the claim is moving forward so you can focus on helping yourself and your family work through the emotional loss and get through the grieving process.
Retaining the services of an attorney also makes sense because most wrongful death attorneys operate on a contingency fee basis. This means that you do not have to pay some outrageous hourly rate or retainer fee to access an experienced attorney. Your lawyer will only get paid when they obtain a financial recovery for you.
Time is of the Essence to Take Legal Action Against the Reckless Party That Took Your Loved One’s Life
The sooner to you take action and speak to an attorney to get the wrongful death claims process started, the better. This is because the California legislature enacted a statute of limitations on wrongful death claims. In California, a family member has two years from the date of the death to file a wrongful death claim in court (or six months for a claim against a government entity). If you fail to take action in that time period, your case will likely be barred from going forward. Do not make this mistake.
Losing a loved one is gut-wrenching and creates a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety for you and your family. You need assistance while you focus on grieving and picking up the pieces. An experienced Rancho Cordova wrongful death attorney can help during this time.
I’m Ed Smith, a Rancho Cordova wrongful death lawyer. If you have lost a loved one due to a wrongful death my heart goes out to you. Please call me today for free, friendly and compassionate advice on how to best proceed. I can be reached at 916.921.6400.
I have decades of experience representing people in their time of need to pursue the compensation they deserve to alleviate the financial strain that often comes with a sudden death.
I take cases on a contingency fee basis. This means there are no upfront fees for you to pay. I get paid upon the successful conclusion of your case.
See some of my verdicts and settlements here.
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