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Accidents that claim the life of a loved one are traumatic events which stay with you throughout your life and which are seemingly impossible to fully recover from. You should not be forced to cover the financial and emotional aspects of the loss of a loved on. The responsible party for the accident should be held liable for the suffering caused by their actions, both financial and emotional. If you have lost a loved one in a terrible accident, do not hesitate to contact a Riverside wrongful death lawyer who can help guide you through the claims process.
Riverside County Wrongful Death Actions
Wrongful death accidents are often the result of the negligence of a person involved in the accident. These accidents can take the following forms:
- Car accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Construction site accidents
- Heavy truck accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
Car accidents are the most common form of wrongful death actions and are often the simplest actions to bring due to the possibility of many witnesses around the accident site. While these accidents all involve different fact patterns, a wrongful death claim will involve the same steps by an attorney to recover the amount owed to the surviving family member. A wrongful death action often stems from the negligence of an individual involved in the accident. But for the actions of a person or company, your loved one would not have sustained the serious injuries.
How do I Recover Damages from a Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death actions should be brought shortly after an accident occurs in order to ensure that you meet the limitations period. Wrongful death actions not only cover the financial repercussions caused by the loss of a loved one, but also cover the emotional and long-lasting impact the loss of a loved one has on a person. A loved one can recover the following economic and noneconomic damages in a wrongful death action:
- Medical bills
- Future earnings
- Lost wages
- Loss of consortium (companionship)
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
An experienced Riverside personal injury attorney will be able to best guide you through the recovery process and help ensure that you will receive the compensation amount you are entitled to for your loss. Nothing will bring back your loved one, but a wrongful death action can help begin the healing process.
An Overview of California Wrongful Death Law
California wrongful death lawsuits help people who have lost loved ones due to someone else’s negligence or willful actions. One of the important parts of winning a wrongful death lawsuit is proving that the deceased person’s death directly impacted the plaintiff. In California, only certain people can file a wrongful death claim. The people who have this ability are the deceased person’s spouse, domestic partner, and any surviving children.
If none of these people are able, anyone who inherits property from the deceased person can file, such as the victim’s parents or siblings. If someone can prove they were financially dependent on the deceased person, he or she may also file. Stepchildren, parents, and putative spouses who were financially dependent would all be eligible to file a wrongful death claim as well. A Riverside wrongful death attorney can help you determine if you are able to file a lawsuit for the loss of a loved one.
In certain situations, a group of people can all file a wrongful death claim together in California. They can file together if the compensation that they are requesting applies to each person and not just one single plaintiff. The group can also file together if they all share opposing or adverse views to the defendant. California courts do not require that each plaintiff has the exact same interests or requests.
Understanding Negligence in a Wrongful Death Claim
To succeed in a wrongful death claim, you need to prove the defendant was acting negligently. Proving negligence involves showing the defendant had a duty of care that they breached, causing the deceased person’s death.
A duty of care is a requirement to maintain the safety of others to a reasonable extent. For example, if a person dies because a heavy object in a store falls and hits them, the store would be liable because they have a duty to keep their customers safe, and they did not fulfill that duty.
You also must also show the defendant’s negligence directly caused the person’s death. Even if the defendant was involved, it is possible he or she wasn’t the direct cause of the victim’s death. For example, in a fatal car accident, even though a driver ran the red light, mechanical issues could have hindered the deceased’s ability to control the car, leading to death. If the mechanical issues were a large part of the reason for the death, the driver who ran the red light may not be liable. Proving that the victim would have lived if it had not been for the defendant requires strong evidence that the defendant was being negligent.
California wrongful death lawsuits also involve the burden of proof. Unlike criminal lawsuits, the decision by the jury does not need to be unanimous for the plaintiff to win the case in the majority of situations. The burden of proof for civil cases requires the plaintiff to provide strong enough evidence to convince most of the jury that the defendant acted negligently. Additionally, the plaintiff must prove the defendant is guilty of each of the following aspects: having a duty, breaching the duty, and directly causing the death.
What do I have to do for my Riverside, California Wrongful Death Case?
If you believe your loved one died because of someone else’s negligence, you may have grounds to file a wrongful death claim. Each state has a specific statute of limitations for wrongful death claims. In California, you must file your claim within two years of the date that the deceased person died for it to be eligible. If you wait longer than two years to file the claim, you will most likely lose your right to file a lawsuit. However, there are exceptions. Discuss the specifics of your case with a Riverside wrongful death attorney if you have questions.
What Do Recent Wrongful Death Case Clients Have to Say About Panish Shea & Boyle, LLP?
“Looking back over our trial, one thing really stands out from all the other details and events. The dedication, hard work and thorough investigation done by the attorneys and staff made all the difference in enabling the jury to speak in our favor. The care that was given, and the respect that was shown to our family, will never be forgotten. The trust we put in them was not misplaced and we know why their organization is ranked among the best in the country. Not only has their work made a difference in our lives, but also in the lives of those with various ‘challenges’ nationwide! We pray that their efforts continue to help justice be served!” – Colen Cuthbertson
Our Riverside Wrongful Death Lawyers Offer Free Consults!
Wrongful death actions are often difficult actions to bring, due to the devastating effect of the loss of the loved one. However, it is important to bring a claim as soon as you can to preserve your ability to bring a claim and to preserve the memories of any witnesses to the accident. Bringing a wrongful death action may additionally ease the long process of slowly moving forward. The attorneys of Panish, Shea & Boyle are experienced in handling Riverside wrongful death actions and will work tirelessly to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve from the actions of the person who caused the accident.