Turlock Wrongful Death Lawyer (209) 227-1931
Losing a loved one in an accident is a harrowing and traumatizing experience. In a moment, your entire world can be turned upside down. Your grief might then turn to anger and frustration when you discover that your loved one died in an accident that could have been prevented, if only the at-fault individual or company acted more responsibly. If you find yourself in this situation, you can file a wrongful death action.
Recent Turlock Fatality is a Prime Example
A Denair resident recently lost his life when he was struck by a 2016 Chevy Silverado pickup truck while he was riding his bicycle east of Turlock. The tragic collision occurred at the intersection of Santa Fe Avenue and East Avenue. The bicyclist who died was only 30 years old and a military veteran.
Overview of a Wrongful Death Claim
A wrongful death claim is a civil suit where a surviving family member seeks compensation for the loss of their loved one. The loss is usually due to the negligent act of another person or corporation. In the case of a wrongful death action, the family of the decedent can bring action for a broad array of damages. This includes reimbursement for any medical bills incurred by the victim, the loss of financial support provided by the victim, and associated pain and suffering.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Not everyone related to the deceased can file a lawsuit. Each state has individuals that it allows to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In some states, including California, the people who can file the lawsuit are spouses, siblings, parents, and other members of his family. In other states, the only person who can file the lawsuit is the personal representative or executor of the decedent’s estate. In order to commence a wrongful death lawsuit, it would be best to know the position of your state’s law. If you have questions or concerns about whether you can bring a claim on behalf of your loved one, contact a Turlock injury lawyer.
When to Begin the Wrongful Death Claim Process
While it is quite difficult to start thinking of a lawsuit while mourning your loved one, you should contact an accident lawyer and consider filing a wrongful death action as soon as possible. The earlier you take action, the better chance it is you can obtain and preserve key evidence and strengthen your wrongful death claim.
Filing Deadlines - Statute of Limitations
Each state has its own statute of limitations provision in relation to wrongful death. The statute of limitations is the time period within which you have to bring the lawsuit. If you don’t bring the lawsuit within that period, then the claim fails.
In California, the time period under the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the incident to file a claim in a civil court. There is also a difference in when the time starts counting. In some states, the statute of limitations starts counting from the date of the deceased’s death. In some other states, it starts counting from the date the injury was sustained. Contact a Turlock wrongful death lawyer for more information.
Filing the Lawsuit
Before filing the lawsuit, check if the decedent was already pursuing a personal injury suit before death. If there was, the court would let you merge the two cases into one. Basically, the wrongful death suit would be a continuation of the personal injury claim.
When filing the lawsuit, the first document your accident lawyer would file is a complaint or petition. In this document, your attorney will need to provide the legal and factual grounds on which your claim is based. You also need to file a summons. This is a document informing the defendant of the suit and giving him information of where the suit would be heard.
Service of Process
After filing these preliminary documents, you have to provide documents to the defendant. This is called the service of process, and each state has its own rules guiding this. Some counties also have different rules for service of process. Knowing the specific one that applies to your location can be quite confusing. Fortunately, you can get guidance with the help of a Turlock injury lawyer.
Damages in Wrongful Death Suit
When your wrongful death action is filed, your accident lawyer needs to state an amount of damages that is being sought from the defendant. In fatal car accident or truck accident cases, any damages awarded to you by a jury, or secured through a settlement, are paid out by the defendant’s auto insurance company. Recoverable damages include:
- The pain and suffering of the decedent before their untimely death.
- The medical cost incurred by the decedent as a result of a severe injury.
- The costs of your loved one’s funeral and burial.
- The decedent’s future expected income.
- The value for services the deceased would have rendered if he were alive.
- The loss of consortium and companionship.
- The guidance, care and nurturing the deceased would have given if they were alive.
Things That Need to be Proven
In a Turlock wrongful death civil action, there are specific things injury lawyers need to prove in order for the lawsuit to be successful. For wrongful death lawsuits, injury lawyers need to establish that the defendant owed a duty of care to your loved one, the defendant breached the established duty of care, that breach proximately caused your loved one’s death, and you suffered damages.Turlock Wrongful Death Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Turlock Wrongful Death Lawyer. Losing someone you love is a heart-breaking event that can leave you scrambling on how to move forward and how to pay important bills. If you have lost someone close to you in an accident caused by the negligence of another party, I can help. You can reach me at (209) 227-1931 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice. I can also be contacted online at AutoAccident.com.
I have served the Turlock and Greater California community for over thirty years as an injury lawyer. Some of my valued client’s have posted reviews of their experience working with me on: Avvo, Yelp and Google Plus.
I am also a member of the Million Dollar Forum. The group is reserved for injury lawyers who have obtained case verdicts and settlements in excess of $1 Million.
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