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Tracy Wrongful Death Lawyer

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.

Tracy Tragedy and Resulting Death

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 before 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 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.

What Qualified as a Wrongful Death Suit?

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 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 various factors specifically related to the circumstances of your loved one’s death.

What Can Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Claim?

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 before their untimely death
  • The 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.

How Do You Proof Wrongful Death?

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.

The YouTube video below explains more on how to prove fault in a wrongful death claim.

How Can a Tracy Wrongful Death Attorney Help Our Family?

The thought of hiring a lawyer and filing a lawsuit probably feels overwhelming and intimidating at this difficult time. Nevertheless, it is essential 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 in a Wrongful Death Suit

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.

How Does a Contingency Fee Work in a Wrongful Death Case?

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).

Is There a Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death?

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 financial recovery from the reckless individual who caused your loved one’s death.

Wrongful Death Lawyer in Tracy, CA

Did you lose a loved one in a fatal accident caused by negligence? Contact experienced Tracy wrongful death attorney Ed Smith at for compassionate, free, and friendly legal advice. Call (209) 227-1931 or (800) 404-5400 to learn how our legal team can help you today.

I have been serving the Tracy and Greater California community since helping injured people. Their families recover compensation for their personal injuries and/or wrongful death of a loved one.  

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

Learn more about us. See our past verdicts and settlements and client reviews on AvvoYelp, Google.  

Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 4.1.21]

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Photo by Pixabay

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