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When negligence leads to the untimely death of a loved one, the surviving family members should know their options for legal recourse against the responsible party. A wrongful death claim functions similarly to a personal injury claim, except that the injured party does not survive his or her injury or illness. California follows specific rules dictating who may file wrongful death claims, statutes of limitation for filing such claims, and the types of compensation available from successful claims.
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Finding the right attorney to handle a wrongful death claim in San Bernardino can be a challenge. The attorneys at Panish, Shea & Boyle, LLP, understand how difficult these situations are for grieving family members, and we take a compassionate, individualized approach to legal representation for every wrongful death claim we handle.
Our San Bernardino wrongful death lawyers have helped past clients recover more than $10 billion in compensation for their damages in all types of civil claims, including wrongful death lawsuits. We believe that close communication with our clients and staying up to date on the latest developments in the legal world allow us to offer comprehensive legal counsel in a wide variety of cases.
Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death in California?
California allows a deceased person’s surviving spouse, domestic partner, child, or any other relative with a claim on the deceased’s estate through intestate succession to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased. If no such parties exist or wish to file claims, then a personal representative of the deceased’s estate may file a claim.
Essentially, anyone who can prove they were financially dependent on a deceased individual may have grounds for a wrongful death claim in California. It is essential to work quickly to determine whether grounds for such a claim exist to meet the statute of limitations.
Damages Available in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Plaintiffs may qualify for many types of personal injury damages in a successful wrongful death claim, including medical expenses for the treatment of the deceased’s final illness or injury and lost income the deceased person would have reasonably expected to earn in the future had he or she survived. Plaintiffs may also claim compensation for funeral and burial expenses. The surviving family may also receive compensation for their loss of affection, consortium, and household services provided by the deceased.
Finding the Right Legal Counsel
Success in a wrongful death claim hinges on the plaintiff’s ability to prove that the defendant was negligent in some way that directly contributed to or caused the death in question. The four elements of negligence are:
- Duty. The plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed a duty of care in some way.
- Breach. Next the plaintiff must show how the defendant violated his or her duty of care.
- Damage. The plaintiff must prove a death occurred and provide evidence of the extent of the resulting economic losses.
- Causation. The plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s negligence was the proximate or direct cause of the death in question.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death in California?
The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit in San Bernardino or throughout California is two years starting on the date of death. However, if it is not possible to determine the cause of death immediately, the statute of limitations may begin on the date of discovery of the cause of death. Contact a personal injury lawyer in San Bernardino to determine the statute of limitations in your case.
Contact a San Bernardino Wrongful Death Attorney
An experienced San Bernardino wrongful death attorney will make a noticeable difference in the outcome of a wrongful death claim. The attorneys at Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP understand how devastating a wrongful death can be. Contact our firm today to schedule a free initial consultation to learn more about your rights to recovery after the untimely death of a loved one.