Rancho Murieta Wrongful Death Lawyer
Losing a spouse, parent, or child in an unexpected and sudden accident is usually a life-altering experience. The grief can be overwhelming, and if the deceased was a primary wage earner within your household, the heartbreaking loss is compounded by the anxiety of financial uncertainty. Money is the last thing you want to worry about in such a situation. If you face the unimaginable and your loved one was killed in an accident, the Rancho Murieta wrongful death attorneys at AutoAccident.com can answer your questions with compassion and expertise. We can help you determine whether a viable claim for monetary damages is associated with your loss.What Does a Claim for Wrongful Death Entail?
If your family member died due to the negligence of another person or business, there is good reason to pursue a wrongful death claim against the responsible person or entity. Wrongful death claims arise from many circumstances, including auto accidents, boating accidents, medical malpractice, commercial trucking accidents, or the use of defective or dangerous consumer products or medications - just to name a few scenarios. An individual, business, or governmental entity can be held liable (legally responsible) for their negligence if it is found to have caused the death.Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
The California Code of Civil Procedure dictates who can file a wrongful death lawsuit. The following is a list of those who can file suit in such an action:
- The surviving spouse or domestic partner of the decedent
- The child(ren) of the decedent
- Absent a living spouse or child, the parents of the decedent may file
- An executor of the decedent's estate
The law distinguishes between economic and non-economic damages in a wrongful death matter.
Economic damages include:
- Medical expenses incurred as a result of the incident before the death
- Funeral and burial costs
- The loss of future financial support from the decedent
Noneconomic damages include:
- The loss of companionship and love
- The loss of care and comfort once provided by your loved one
- The loss of affection and protection once provided by your loved one
- For children: the loss of guidance and mentorship
The defendant(s) or the party or parties against whom the lawsuit will be filed will depend upon the facts of the incident that brought about the death of your loved one. Generally, a wrongful death claim or lawsuit can be brought against any combination of negligent individuals, businesses, and/or government entities. Let us look at the example of a bus accident. In such a case, the defendants could include:
- The bus driver
- The bus driver's employer
- If applicable, the governmental agency for which the driver was working. In some cases, governmental agencies have immunity and would not be viable defendants.
In most cases that arise from an incident in California, the time limit in which a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed is before the second anniversary of the incident that caused the death. This time limit is known as the statute of limitations. However, depending on the facts involved in the case, the time limit could be different. Medical malpractice cases include a more complicated formula to determine the statute of limitations. Plaintiffs who are under the age of 18 have an extended time in which they can file suit. If the negligence of a government agency caused the death, the time limit in which you must act is much shorter, often only a matter of months.
If your claim is not filed before the applicable statute of limitation runs, you could lose your legal rights to recover any money in a civil suit. That is why you must contact a Rancho Murieta wrongful death attorney immediately after the fatal incident.What Needs to Be Proven in a Wrongful Death Case?
After filing a wrongful death lawsuit, some facts must be proven for the plaintiff(s) to recover any monetary damages. The following must be proven:
A Duty of Care was Owed. It must be proven that the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased. In an automobile accident case, for example, you must prove that the defendant was obligated to follow specific laws during the operation of his or her vehicle. Drivers are required to obey speed limits and are prohibited from texting while driving, for instance.
That Duty of Care Was Breached. It must be proven that the defendant breached the duty of care. So in the scenario above, there must be evidence of speeding or texting.
The Breach Caused the Accident. Even after proving that the defendant broke the law or rule of the road, it must be proven that that action directly caused the death of your family member. If the defendant ran a stop sign, causing the accident, but your loved one was killed because the seat belt failed, the defendant may not owe monetary damages.
Because there are so many complexities surrounding a wrongful death claim, you must consult an experienced Rancho Murieta wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible after losing your loved one. The compassionate attorneys and staff at AutoAccident.com will work to provide the resources to get you and your family through an enormously difficult time. Our legal experience will help you get the compensation you are entitled to.
View the video explaining what can be recovered in a wrongful death claim.Rancho Murieta Wrongful Death Lawyer
If you are suffering because you lost a loved one due to negligence, our compassionate and skilled Rancho Murieta wrongful death attorneys can help your family navigate the complicated legal process. Given time limits and the need to gather crucial evidence, it is better to get trusted legal counsel involved sooner rather than later. Call us at (916) 921-6400 or from outside the region, toll-free at (800) 404-5400 for free and friendly advice.
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