Losing a loved one is devastating, and the days ahead can be challenging in many ways. While you need time to grieve, you will also have to attend to details such as funeral arrangements, the paying of medical bills, and more. If the death resulted from some negligence on the part of another, you may also want to consider filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
Misconceptions often surround wrongful death claims, and you may feel confused about whether it is the right action. If so, the California wrongful death lawyer with Omofoma Law can help you understand when filing such a lawsuit is recommended and dispel the most common myths about these cases.
At a time when grief and financial uncertainty can be overwhelming, seeking the legal advice and guidance of our wrongful death attorney will be beneficial. We will first evaluate your case to determine whether you should continue with a claim and, if so, what steps will be necessary.
Our wrongful death attorney can guide you through the claims process, explaining each of those steps along the way. This type of case often involves unique challenges and can be complex. Your attorney, knowledgeable in California wrongful death law, will conduct an investigation, compile evidence, establish liability, and build a strong case on your behalf.
In addition, our legal team will calculate damages to seek for the loss of your family member. These calculations will consider factors such as the decedent's life expectancy and the total economic losses resulting from the untimely death. Entering negotiations for a fair settlement will occur next, and if no fair amount can be agreed to, your attorney will diligently represent you in court.
When your loved one's death results from either an intentional or accidental act in California, filing a wrongful death claim can help you avoid undue financial hardship and seek justice for your family member.
A wrongful death occurs when an individual dies due to some form of misconduct by another. This other can be a person or an entity. Examples of cases involving wrongful death in California include:
Questions surrounding filing wrongful death claims in California are often mired in myth and misconception. Below we dispel these prevalent myths.
California law outlines who can file a wrongful death claim. While immediate family members have “first priority to file” such a lawsuit, other relatives and individuals can also do so. Those who can file in California first include:
Additional parties that may be able to file include:
If you are unsure if you fit into the categories allowed to file a wrongful death claim, consult an attorney to determine your eligibility.
While assigning blame in an accident will not bring your loved one back, it is essential in cases where death occurs due to someone else's negligence. Even if you initially believe no malice occurred, exploring the circumstances surrounding the death is imperative to ensure negligence was not involved.
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit and seeking monetary damages can appear to some as a way to profit from the death of a loved one, thus causing many to hesitate in taking action. However, doing so is not a greedy act but a legitimate action to take when negligence is shown to be involved. As such, you can legally seek compensation to help your family.
Wrongful death claims are rarely straightforward. Instead, they are complex, with the need for the claimant to prove that the other party was negligent in some way and this negligence led to the death of their loved one. In addition, the claimant will have to show that they suffered damages. These cases can become even more complicated when the other party claims that the decedent was partially or wholly responsible for their own demise.
When a lawsuit is drawn out, the claimant can grow tired and disheartened with the process. However, an attorney specializing in these cases can aid a wrongful death claim, decreasing the time it takes to reach a fair settlement or court award.
While many wrongful death claims arise from accidents, such as car crashes or workplace injuries, they can also be for incidences of medical malpractice, intentional or criminal acts, or product defects.
Your loved one may have life insurance, and you now receive those benefits. While many believe you do not need to file a wrongful death claim because you already receive life insurance benefits, that is untrue. In many cases, it is imperative that you do.
While you are in a better financial position due to these benefits, at least temporarily, they usually come in a lump sum, and this lump sum fails to take into account additional losses. Such losses include outstanding medical bills, lost wages and benefits of the decedent, and more. Filing a wrongful death claim will be necessary to obtain compensation to cover these losses.
If you think you are not qualified to bring a wrongful death claim or someone tells you so, consult an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Immediate family members are not the only ones who qualify for filing in California.
A wrongful death lawsuit is not the same as a criminal homicide case. While both can result from one event or act, there are distinct differences. These differences include the following.
Hesitating to hire a lawyer for your wrongful death claim can damage the outcome of your claim. By seeking legal help as early as possible, you can start with a strong case and have competent representation throughout the process. Your attorney can investigate, compile evidence, and keep track of deadlines under the California statute of limitations.
Wrongful death lawsuits seek damages and compensation for surviving family members of the decedent. Such compensation in California can be for economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.
Economic damages include those that can be assigned a monetary value. These most often include the following:
Non-economic damages are more challenging to calculate or assign a monetary value as they are not tangible. For such damages, the claimant may be able to seek compensation for any or all of the following:
Depending on the circumstances surrounding the death of your loved one, you may also be able to seek punitive damages. Such circumstances include intentional or egregious conduct on behalf of the defendant. The award of punitive damages is to punish the other party for their misconduct and serve as a further deterrent to acting in such ways in the future.
However, there are two main complications to obtaining punitive damages. First, your legal team will need to prove that the defendant acted in a way that involved malice, fraud, or oppression and that this wrongful act led to the individual's death. Secondly, a calculation of punitive damages will need to be made. This calculation is a complicated process and can include factors such as the misconduct's severity and the defendant's financial condition.
To learn more, seek the legal advice of a dedicated wrongful death lawyer to determine if you are eligible for punitive damages and, if so, how to prove the factors required for the award.
To file a wrongful death lawsuit, which is a civil action, claimants must follow strict filing deadlines or risk losing their legal rights to do so for the loss of their loved one.
California's statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim is two years from the date of the individual's death. Failing to file within this timeframe can mean your claim will be denied entirely. There are a few exceptions; however, that may allow a different filing timeframe, but you will need to work with an attorney to determine if your case qualifies.
It takes time to build a strong wrongful death case. The sooner you consult with an experienced California attorney, the sooner you can start building your case, including compiling evidence, and protect your right to file your lawsuit without missing the state deadline.
If you have suffered the loss of a family member and believe you may be able to seek a wrongful death claim, reach out to the law offices of Omofoma Law. Our trusted California wrongful death lawyer will review your case, discuss your legal options, and begin building a solid case on your behalf.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
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