Roseville Wrongful Death Lawyer
One of the most challenging things a person can experience is to suddenly lose a loved one in a tragic accident. The grief is often compounded by anger and frustration in situations where the loss of life was preventable. Taking legal action on behalf of a lost family member can be challenging as there are insurance, legal, and medical issues that must be addressed while dealing with financial concerns. Fortunately, this is where an experienced and compassionate attorney comes in.
In this article:
- How is a Homicide Case Different from a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
- What Can Cause a Wrongful Death?
- Which Family Members Can Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in California?
- Why You Need an Attorney for a Wrongful Death Case
- What is Recoverable Through a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
- How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Suit?
A person who intentionally or recklessly causes another person’s death may be prosecuted in a criminal case for a homicide offense. This is a distinct and separate proceeding from a wrongful death suit. Whereas the criminal case is filed by a local prosecutor and can result in the imposition of fines and/or incarceration, the wrongful death lawsuit is civil in nature, is brought by the surviving family members of the decedent, and can result in compensation being ordered to be paid to the family of the decedent. A criminal case doesn't need to be filed to file a wrongful death suit, and a lawsuit may still be successful even if the criminal case is dismissed or the alleged wrongdoer is found innocent of the charges.
In some cases, it may be beneficial for surviving family members to let a criminal case be decided before pursuing a wrongful death claim. A defendant (alleged wrongdoer) who is convicted of a homicide crime and found to have caused the decedent's death is almost always found responsible in a subsequent wrongful death case. What is more, the criminal court's decision can be used to resolve the wrongful death suit without the need for a second trial. Speak with your Roseville wrongful death lawyer about whether it is in your and your family’s best interest to wait to file your lawsuit.What Can Cause a Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death is any death one person causes because of his or her own conduct, regardless of whether death resulted from carelessness or intentional conduct. Wrongful death can be brought about as a result of several circumstances, including:
- Slip and fall
- Medical malpractice/medical negligence
- Car crashes, truck accidents, motorcycle crashes, bicycle accidents, and pedestrian collisions
- Intentional acts/attacks
Wrongful death cases can be difficult, time-consuming, and emotionally taxing to investigate. Without a proper investigation, however, it can be difficult to know all the people and/or entities responsible for causing death. This is where a Roseville wrongful death attorney can be beneficial to surviving family members. While the family is grieving and putting the decedent’s affairs in order, the attorney can perform this investigation on the family’s behalf and take appropriate actions to safeguard the family’s rights.Which Family Members Can Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in California?
The law does not allow any person to file a lawsuit on behalf of the decedent. Only certain individuals can pursue a wrongful death claim, including:
- The decedent’s surviving spouse
- The decedent’s domestic partner
- The decedent’s surviving children
What if a decedent does not have a surviving spouse, surviving children, or a surviving domestic partner? In this case, the law allows anyone who would be entitled to receive the decedent’s property through succession – including the decedent’s parents and siblings – to bring a wrongful death suit. Parents, stepchildren, and “putative spouses” of the decedent may also be able to bring a lawsuit on behalf of a decedent if they can show that they were financially dependent on the decedent.
If you lost a loved one in a fatal accident and have questions about your eligibility for a potential claim, contact the best wrongful death attorney in Roseville today for a free consultation.Why You Need an Attorney for a Wrongful Death Case
You should consult with a knowledgeable attorney before bringing a wrongful death claim to ensure that you can file such a lawsuit under the California Code of Civil Procedure Section 377.60. Otherwise, you may find that your case is dismissed before it is even heard because you lack legal standing.
Watch the video below for more information on how to bring a wrongful death suit in California.What is Recoverable Through a Wrongful Death Claim?
Surviving family members can recover a wide variety of damages and expenses through a lawsuit. The types of damages available include economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages cover those expenses and losses that can be determined with certainty as objective and demonstrable losses. These damages in a wrongful death settlement generally include:
- Medical expenses for the decedent’s final injury (i.e., any medical expenses the decedent incurred just before death)
- Funeral and burial costs
- Lost wages, if the decedent was injured and died sometime later from his or her injuries
- Any pain and suffering the decedent experienced between the time of the fatal injury and the decedent’s death
- The value of the decedent’s household services
- Lost future wages that the decedent could have been reasonably expected to earn if he or she had lived
- The loss of the love, affection, and company of the decedent
Determining and documenting damages is a crucial but often under-emphasized part of preparing a lawsuit for trial. An experienced wrongful death attorney in Roseville will be able to guide you in assembling the bills and documentation necessary to prove your economic losses. Your lawyer can similarly advise you on how to determine non-economic damages in your wrongful death case.How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Suit?
California has a specific statute of limitations that clearly indicates how long surviving family members have to file a wrongful death claim following their loved one's death. If surviving family members fail to adhere to this deadline, they will not file a lawsuit at all. In almost every circumstance, the time begins running against survivors on the date of the decedent’s death.
Surviving family members have two years from the date of the decedent’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit in civil court. This is by the California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1. This may seem like a long period of time, but recall that the decedent is to be buried during this time, his or her affairs wound up, and the circumstances of his or her death investigated. Time can quickly slip away.
In some cases, where the death is caused by a public entity, there are much shorter time periods to file suit. For more information, contact a wrongful death lawyer in Roseville.Call a Wrongful Death Attorney in Roseville Today
If you lost a loved one in a fatal accident in Roseville because of someone else's negligent actions, a wrongful death lawyer may help you and your family seek justice and compensation. Call (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice on your potential legal options for recovery today.
Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 5.3.21]
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