The sudden and untimely death of a loved one leaves the entire family devasted, especially when the tragedy could have been avoided. When a loved one’s death was the result of negligence or intentional wrong doing, our experienced attorneys can help you through the process of collecting damages from the responsible party. Whether the death resulted from a drunk or distracted driver, workplace accident, medical malpractice, dangerously defective product, unsafe home or business premises or even an intentional criminal act, California law allows children, spouses, parents and sometimes other close relatives to seek legal action.
We all understand that no amount of money can ever replace the loss of a loved one, but it can ease the financial burden after a loss and will allow the family to feel more at peace when the responsible person is held accountable for their actions.
When you file a wrongful death suit, you are asserting that the defendant has caused someone’s death either negligently or through intentional harm. Wrongful death claims allow the estate of the deceased person to file a lawsuit against the party who is legally liable for the death.
In order to hold the defendant responsible in a wrongful death claim, the plaintiffs in the claim (usually through the estate of the deceased victim) must show that the defendant owed the victim a duty of care, that the defendant breached this duty, that the breach of duty was a direct and proximate cause of the death, and that the death caused the damages that the plaintiff is trying to recover.
Since any wrongful death lawsuit would be filed as a civil action as opposed to a criminal case, the burden of proof for people claiming a wrongful death is a preponderance of the evidence as opposed to beyond a reasonable doubt in a criminal case. A preponderance of evidence means that the claim is more likely true than not true. It is not as strenuous of a burden of proof as in a criminal case. If found guilty in a civil case, the defendant in the case will be held responsible through monetary punishment as opposed to jail time.
If the deceased victim is an adult, proper parties are restricted to a surviving spouse or domestic partner. If there is no surviving spouse, the lawsuit can be filed by the surviving children or other dependents, including step-children. If the deceased is a child, the lawsuit can be brought by the surviving parents or grandparents if the parents did not survive the child. Special circumstances may allow for other relatives or beneficiaries to file the lawsuit. A wrongful death attorney can help you determine who should file the lawsuit.
An unexpected death of a loved one can come with many financial burdens attached. When the negligence or intentional wrongdoing of another person or business leads to the death of a person, certain heirs can recover damages that have or will occur as a result of the untimely death. These damages are separate from the decedent’s estate and come in the form of economic and non-economic payments.
Economic damages may include loss of financial support to be received during the decedent’s lifetime along with funeral and burial expenses. Non-economic damages might include the reasonable value of household services the decedent would have provided and the loss of spousal companionship, loss of parental guidance for children or even suffering and grief experienced by immediate family members. Other damages may also be awarded under special circumstances and your attorney can review your case to determine if you qualify for these.
Timing is crucial when filing a wrongful death lawsuit as each action involves a different statute of limitations. The general rule under the wrongful death statute of the California law requires a lawsuit to be filed within two years of the deceased person’s death. Hiring an experienced attorney is better done sooner than later to ensure proper filing of paperwork in a timely manner.
The insurance companies have a very seasoned team of attorneys on their side of the table. Complex litigation should not be attempted on your own. Duque Law is an experienced, aggressive and successful wrongful death law firm with offices in Moreno Valley, California. We’re compassionate, and we’re sensitive to the fact that our clients have suffered an enduring and permanent loss.
At the Law Offices of Brent A. Duque, we maintain a staff of a highly professional, knowledgeable, aggressive and successful wrongful death attorneys who represent injured people through our offices that stretch across Southern California. Time limitations apply to any injury claim you might have, so for purposes of investigating a possible case and possibly preserving evidence, it’s best for you to contact us immediately after a wrongful death.
Contact our Riverside County Personal Injury Attorneys at 1-877-241-9554 to learn more about your legal options. A free consultation is just a phone call away. You can even use our online contact form, and we’ll reply to you quickly.
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