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Stockton Wrongful Death Lawyer

Stockton Wrongful Death LawyerIf you have found your way to this page, you might be coping with overwhelming grief because a parent, spouse, child, sibling, life partner, or other loved one has been prematurely taken from you.  While the loss of a family member or other loved one will always cause pain, the sense of disbelief and loss you feel can be even more intense when your loss is caused by an unanticipated wrongful act.  You might find that your profound sense of sadness seems endless, so even the task of getting out of bed feels impossible.  This is a common and understandable response to such a life-altering tragedy.

Many of you never expected when you last saw your family member that it would be for the final time.  Because your tragedy was unexpected, you were deprived of the opportunity to say goodbye. Some of you might have known your loved one was fighting an illness or undergoing surgery, but you did not know that you would not enjoy another opportunity to share a hug or time together.  While no one can give you back the warm embrace of your spouse, the guidance of your parent, or the warm smile of your child, the wrongful actions of an individual, company, and/or public entity has taken your loved one away.  Because your loved one can no longer pursue justice, you must be the one that takes steps to hold the wrongdoer accountable. Our Stockton, CA wrongful death accident lawyers can help with that and guide your family through the legal process.

In this article:

Getting Justice for Your Loved One

While no amount of money can give you back the opportunity to enjoy precious moments with your loved one, you can see that the party responsible is punished through a monetary judgment.  While this might not feel like the justice your loved one deserves, this often is the only way to ensure that the wrongdoer experiences consequences.  The monetary recovery also can provide the financial resources necessary to ensure that you can continue to support your family and provide for their future.

The initial step in ensuring the at-fault party is held responsible is to speak to a top-rated wrongful death lawyer in San Joaquin County, CA.  Admittedly, the thought of dealing with insurance companies and legal procedures might not sound like something you want to face at this time.  Unfortunately, insurance companies will not pause while you grieve nor will they hesitate in exploiting legal deadlines to avoid paying for their insured’s misconduct.

What Constitutes a Wrongful Death Claim?

A legal claim for wrongful death includes either an insurance company claim and/or lawsuit seeking damages against an individual, business, or government entity that has intentionally or negligently caused an individual’s death.  Another way to understand a wrongful death insurance claim or a lawsuit is that it essentially constitutes a personal injury claim where the victim does not survive his or her injuries.  Some examples of wrongful death claims include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents involving negligent drivers
  • Medical malpractice (e.g. delayed or missed diagnosis, anesthesiology mistakes, birth injuries, hospital-acquired infections, etc.)
  • Construction site accidents like falls from scaffoldings, trench collapses, or falling objects
  • Dangerous or defective products
Does California Law Authorize You to Pursue a Wrongful Death Claim?

Under California law, specifically designated parties can pursue a wrongful death claim, which includes the following:

  • Domestic Partners
  • Surviving Spouses
  • Children of the Decedent
  • Issue of the Deceased Child of Decedent
  • Stepchildren Dependent on the Decedent
  • Putative Spouse (e.g. person who reasonably believed he or she was married to the decedent despite the non-existence of lawful marriage)
  • Any minor child who resided in the family home for 180 before the decedent’s death if the decedent provided at least fifty percent support

If you are unsure about your right to file a claim on behalf of your loved one, call our Stockton, CA wrongful death law firm today to set up a free case evaluation.

Watch the video below for more information on a wrongful death claim.

What Categories of Financial Compensation Are Recoverable?

While money cannot genuinely compensate you for the loss of someone you love, your recovery can ease the financial hardships that result from the loss of a family breadwinner.  California law provides that heirs of a decedent might be entitled to the following types of damages:

  • Medical expenses (through a “survival action”)
  • Lost future income of the decedent
  • Lost inheritance
  • Funeral/burial expenses
  • Loss of household services
  • Loss of companionship, comfort, affection, and moral support
  • Loss of consortium (if lawsuit pursued by the surviving spouse of the decedent)
  • Loss of guidance, training, and care of a parent
Why You Need a Stockton Wrongful Death Attorney

Insurance companies have extensive litigation resources and a team of insurance defense lawyers focused on minimizing the amount paid out for their insured’s negligent conduct.  An experienced attorney can ensure that you do not run afoul of critical deadlines like the statute of limitations or the tort claims act, or other procedural hurdles.  The statute of limitations imposes a requirement that you file your lawsuit within a certain period of time.  Failure to comply with this timing requirement typically will be a complete bar to any recovery regardless of the merits of your claim.  Compliance with the deadlines and procedures required by the tort claims act is essential if you will be suing a public entity like the City of Stockton or State of California.  By letting your attorney handle the legal process and insurance company obstacles, you can focus on coping with your loss.  Our San Joaquin County, CA wrongful death accident attorneys also can assist you in obtaining needed support from grief counselors, support groups, and other resources.

Why Is Time of the Essence?

The law imposes strict deadlines for filing a claim and providing notice to public entities who are responsible to some extent for the death of your loved one.  Failure to meet these deadlines can severely undermine your legal rights to pursue a claim or to obtain the full measure of damages under California law.  When you speak to an attorney, the lawyer might need time to investigate your claim and conduct legal research to determine whether you have a viable lawsuit.  If you act promptly, you avoid the risk that the attorney will not have sufficient time to explore your claim.  Further, the insurance company will have attorneys protecting its rights and exploring potential defenses and strategies to minimize liability, so you need to balance the scales of justice by promptly speaking to an experienced Stockton wrongful death attorney.

Stockton Wrongful Death FAQ

What is a wrongful death lawsuit?

It is a civil case that is filed against the person who is responsible for causing the death of someone else. Some underlying actions that caused death include negligent and intentional acts such as car accidents, medical malpractice, defective products, or assault.


Is there a statute of limitations to file a wrongful death claim?

Yes, and it depends on the type of wrongful death suit. Most wrongful death claims must be filed within two years of the date of the injury. If the death was the result of government liability, it must be filed within six months. If it was caused by medical malpractice, the suit must be filed within three years of the injury date or within a year after the family discovered the injury, whichever happens first.


Could the person who killed my loved one be charged criminally and civilly?

Yes, if the death involved both criminal and civil matters. For example, a person who has intentionally killed someone may be charged in a criminal court. At the same time, the family of the victim can sue that person in a civil court for damages to compensate for medical expenses or pain and suffering.


Wrongful Death Lawyer in Stockton, CA

I’m Ed Smith, a wrongful death attorney serving the Stockton area and San Joaquin County, CA. If you have lost a loved one after an accident caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness, call our law firm at (209) 227-1931 or (800) 404-5400 for compassionate, free, and friendly advice today.

We are members of the National Association of Distinguished Counsel and the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

See our client reviews on GoogleYelp, and AVVO and case history of verdicts and settlements.

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Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 8.27.20]

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