Rocklin Wrongful Death Lawyer
Imagine getting a call from the police, family members, or friends alerting you that a loved one was killed in a preventable accident. At that moment, life as you knew it would shatter, especially if the victim was someone who provided financial support for you and your family.
Each year, far too many families have to endure the agony of learning that a loved one died in some type of fatal accident that could have been prevented if not for someone else's negligence. When this happens, a compassionate Rocklin wrongful death lawyer can help. An attorney can hold the at-fault party financially accountable through a wrongful death claim to help bring a sense of justice to surviving family members and recover compensation to provide a more secure future.Why Monetary Damages are Awarded in a Wrongful Death Claim
Some people wonder why our civil justice system confines compensation in a wrongful death claim to only monetary damages. They make a fair point that no amount of money will ever be able to compensate someone for the sudden and unexpected loss of a loved one. However, it is essential to understand that wrongful death damages are not intended to make you whole or somehow replace the support provided by your loved one.
The purpose of wrongful death damages is to try and help secure the financial well-being of you and your family, especially when the victim was a primary income earner. You are left to struggle to pay the mortgage, car payment, credit cards, etc. The financial restitution a Rocklin wrongful death attorney can recover on your behalf includes:
- Costs associated with the funeral.
- Costs related to burying your loved one.
- Trying to supplement some of the lost income provided by the victim.
- Pain, suffering, and emotional trauma associated with the sudden loss.
Simply because a loved one died in an accident does not mean the insurance company for the reckless party will settle quickly or make a reasonable offer. There needs to be sufficient evidence indicating that your loved one died as a proximate result of the defendant's careless and irresponsible actions or inaction. Probative evidence includes any statements made by the defendant and eyewitnesses at the scene, accident reports, photographs from the scene, any video recordings, traffic citations (if the case involves a deadly car accident), etc.
Hiring an experienced and top-rated wrongful death lawyer in Rocklin plays a major role in collecting and presenting compelling evidence in your case. An experienced attorney knows who to contact and where to collect the records described above. Your lawyer can also access the services of investigators, an accident reconstructionist, and other reputable experts.Sending a Demand Letter in a Wrongful Death Case
Once your Rocklin wrongful death lawyer has conducted a preliminary investigation, they will likely send a demand letter to the defendant's insurance company stating the basis for your claim. Some attorneys will include a proposed settlement amount (that you have agreed to), while others let the insurance company make the opening offer. Once the claims adjuster receives the demand letter, they will likely respond by making a counter-offer, rejecting your settlement offer, or simply accepting the proposed settlement.
Unfortunately, that final scenario rarely happens. The claims adjuster will likely make a counter-offer in most cases, and settlement negotiations will commence. The response from the claims adjuster will probably depend on the strength of your wrongful death case. If you have a strong case with clear liability, there is a great percentage chance that the defendant's insurance company will offer a reasonable settlement.
There is no set timetable for settlement negotiations, and it can take time to reach an amicable settlement. If the claims adjuster refuses to make a fair settlement offer, your Rocklin wrongful death lawyer can proceed with filing a lawsuit in civil court. But keep in mind, just because a lawsuit is filed does not mean the settlement negotiations end. In fact, many cases are ultimately settled even when a lawsuit has been filed.Going to Trial or Settling Out of Court Depends on Certain Factors
As mentioned, deciding to file a wrongful death claim does not mean you will wind up in court having to testify in front of a jury. Most civil cases involving wrongful death are ultimately resolved through out-of-court settlement negotiations. But that does not mean you shouldn't be prepared for a potential trial. There are no guarantees in wrongful death laws in California, and you should be mentally prepared for the prospect of your case being taken to trial.
Obviously, going to court and testifying can be intimidating and overwhelming. That is why it makes sense to retain the services of a seasoned Rocklin wrongful death lawyer to help guide you through the process. An experienced lawyer will do the "heavy lifting" that comes with a jury trial, including presenting evidence, examining witnesses, and making opening and closing arguments to the jury. As you can see, having an attorney by your side throughout the wrongful death claims process provides peace of mind.Example of a Wrongful Death Accident Case
The City of Sacramento agreed to pay over $9 million in a settlement stemming from the tragic death of a young child in an automobile collision, according to KCRA3.com. The fatal wreck occurred in 2013 on Interstate 80 in Rocklin, California.
A Sacramento police officer was reportedly on duty driving his three children in a Ford Explorer when he slammed into the back of another vehicle. The young victim was in a car seat in the back when the collision occurred. A criminal investigation was conducted by the California Highway Patrol, and they recommended that the officer who caused the accident to be charged with gross vehicular manslaughter.
After years of litigation, the City ultimately agreed to the $9 million settlement paid to the child's parents.
The video below explains the definition of a wrongful death claim.Rocklin Wrongful Death FAQ
Can I file a claim if my loved one's death was due to criminal violence?
Yes. Criminal violence is intentional misconduct that can be claimed for financial compensation. While it may be tempted to file a suit against the person who committed the crime, it may also be possible to file a claim against a business with ample insurance coverage to compensate your family. This could be the case if someone assaulted your loved one at a company that lacked sufficient security.
How long do I have to file a wrongful death claim?
California has a two-year statute of limitations for wrongful death claims, which starts from the date of the accident. The limitation period could be shorter if it involved a government entity. You should consult with an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights.
Wrongful Death Law Firm in Rocklin, CA
The attorneys of AutoAccident.com have helped families in the Rocklin area seek justice and fair compensation for the loss of a loved one. Call our wrongful death law firm today to schedule a complimentary consultation for compassionate, free, and friendly advice at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.
Editor's Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 5.18.22]
Photo by Pixabay [cs 1253]