Tracy Wrongful Death Lawyer (209) 227-1931

I'm Ed Smith, a Tracy Wrongful Death Lawyer. The sudden death of a loved one like a spouse, child, or parent is a devastating, soul-crushing experience that far too many people are forced to endure. When you discover that your loved one died due to the reckless and careless behavior of another person, your pain is likely amplified tenfold.

Recent Tracy Tragedy and Resulting Death

Take, for example, the terrible accident that occurred near Tracy on Interstate 580 at Interstate 205 on the Altamont Pass. An Alameda County sheriff’s deputy lost his life when his vehicle was hit by a bus carrying Tesla employees. The deputy was off-duty when the accident occurred. He was a 10-year veteran of the police force and left behind a wife and four children. He died one day prior his 51st birthday. Reports indicate that the bus crashed into the rear of the deputy’s vehicle traveling at a rate of 65 miles per hour. The operator of the bus driver admitted that he failed to stop the bus in a reasonable amount of time because he failed to see the deputy’s car due to the sun being in his eyes.

Hold the Negligent Individual Accountable for Their Careless Behavior

If someone you loved died in an accident due to someone else’s negligent actions, you may be able to hold that individual accountable through a wrongful death lawsuit. A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil claim enabling the estate of the victim to pursue monetary damages.

This is different from a criminal case based on a wrongful death. Criminal cases are brought by the government against the careless or reckless individual. It is common for a reckless driver to be subjected to a criminal case if they violated the law and caused someone’s death, in addition to a civil wrongful death claim. The amount of damages you can expect to recover through a wrongful death claim depends on a variety of factors specifically related to the circumstances of your loved one’s death.

Generally, recoverable damages are divided between economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages include:

  • Funeral expenses
  • Burial expenses
  • Medical bills incurred by the victim prior to their untimely death
  • Lost income of the deceased person that they would have earned in the future had they lived

Non-economic damages are those imperceptible harms and losses. They include the loss of love and companionship provided by the victim, the loss of mentorship and guidance (especially when the victim had children), and the severe mental and emotional trauma associated with a sudden loss.

What You Have to Prove to Prevail in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

To prevail in a Tracy wrongful death lawsuit, the plaintiff (i.e. the representative of the victim’s estate) is required to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant was negligent and that negligent action, or inaction, caused the victim’s death. In the context of an automobile accident, most California courts utilize a reasonable person standard when analyzing the issue of negligence. Basically, this means you need to submit evidence and convince a jury that a reasonable person would have acted much differently and with a higher standard of care than the defendant. If that is proven, the defendant will be found negligent and thereby liable for your harms and losses.

Why You Should Hire a Lawyer for Your Tracy Wrongful Death Claim

The thought of hiring a lawyer and filing a lawsuit probably feels overwhelming and intimidating at this difficult time. Nevertheless, it is extremely important to protect your legal rights- an attorney can help do that. Getting a lawyer involved early in your case is extremely important. Why? Because an attorney can get to work right away collecting vital evidence from the accident scene, obtaining a copy of the police report, reaching out to any witnesses, and so forth. This pre-trial investigatory work is another reason why it is wise to hire a lawyer. They take the burden of investigating the incident off your shoulders so you can focus on grieving, being with family, and putting the pieces of your life back together.

Examples of What Can Be Recovered Through a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

A 27-year-old man and his two young daughters died when their minivan was hit by a 2004 Infiniti SUV. The driver of the Infiniti reported that the brakes on the vehicle failed suddenly. A wrongful death lawsuit was brought against the vehicle manufacturer and a jury awarded the plaintiff nearly $25 million in economic and non-economic damages. As you can see, having a lawyer on your side advocating for your best interests can pay dividends.

Understanding Contingent Fee Agreements

You may have concerns over hiring an attorney because you have heard stories that lawyers charge huge hourly fees. This is not so for wrongful death attorneys. The overwhelming majority of wrongful death attorneys in Tracy and across California operate on contingent fee agreements. Basically, a contingency fee agreement means that you, the client, are not obligated to pay any upfront expenses. You get access to a highly skilled and experienced lawyer with no initial costs. The lawyer is only compensated if they can secure a settlement or jury verdict on your behalf. If they obtain a recovery, the lawyer will receive a percentage of the total recovery (usually between 33 and 40 percent).

Length of Time a Family Has to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in California

Under California’s statute of limitations, a wrongful death action must be filed within a specific time period to be considered legally valid. That time period is two years from the date of your loved one’s death. For example, if your loved one passed away in an accident that occurred on September 1, 2017, you would have until September 1, 2019, to file a lawsuit in a Tracy civil court. Failing to file a lawsuit within two years will likely mean you lose the right to obtain a financial recovery from the reckless individual who caused your loved one’s death.

 

Tracy Wrongful Death Lawyer, Ed Smith

Tracy Wrongful Death Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Tracy Wrongful Death Lawyer. If you have lost a loved one in an accident caused by the negligence of another person, please call me for free and friendly legal advice. It is free to call and talk to me. I take my cases on a contingency fee basis. This means you pay no upfront costs. I get paid after a successful outcome of your case. So why not reach out to me today? Call me at (209) 227-1931 or (800) 404-5400, and online at AutoAccident.com.

I have been serving the Tracy and Greater California community for over 35 years helping injured people and their families recover compensation for their personal injuries and/or wrongful death of a loved one. You can find some of my valued past client’s reviews on: Avvo, Yelp and Google Plus.

I am recognized in the California sector of the Million Dollar Forum. The group is comprised of top injury lawyers—all who have obtained verdicts over $1 Million.

See summaries of some of my past Verdicts and Settlements here.

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Client Reviews
  • Me and my wife; had a car accident. We were amazed how easy, professional, friendly attorney Ed Smith is along with his staff. Everybody is amazing. Thank you so much, we are very impressed!
    Sincerely, Alex & Dinah M. ★★★★★
  • Ed Smith and his office team took on a difficult personal injury case on my behalf and for the passenger in my car. Ed is a top- notch attorney. His staff couldn't have been more helpful and kind. No need to look elsewhere. I give Ed Smith my highest recommendation. Beverly ★★★★★
  • Ed and Robert have been taking great care of my husband and I for the past 5+ years. They are always there when you have a problem and a quick resolution! Even when the issues have nothing to do with them. They are willing to help ease the pain off your shoulders. They are as good as it gets! Thank you again for everything. Annie T. ★★★★★
  • Very professional. Great team, staff and service all around. Mr Smith was very honest, straight forward with his advice. He gives the word "attorney" an honest reputation. I will seek his council anytime, and would recommend him at the drop of a dime. Jeremy M. ★★★★★
  • I would highly recommend Ed Smith to any friends or family in need of a personal injury attorney. Ed, and his staff, are very caring on top of being very experienced in this field. The staff always keeps you informed of the status of your case and they are always easy to reach by phone. Shannon D. ★★★★★
  • Edward Smith law offices provide competent, thorough, and personable help for victims of personal injury. When you first meet the staff you know you contacted the right office. This law office treats clients like people. I recommend this office to anyone seeking representation regarding personal injury. David M. ★★★★★