When you have someone you love in your life, it might just be the high point of your life. Human beings are social creatures, and we thrive to the utmost when we’re surrounded by people we love and who love us back. This is why family is so very important to so many people. When you’re that close to someone, you truly come to rely on them and losing them unexpectedly or before their time is a tragedy beyond belief. It’s even worse if their premature demise happens because of someone else. Such cases are known as wrongful death cases.
When a person dies as the result of wrongful and negligent conduct by another person, their family can seek compensation with help from a Palm Desert wrongful death lawyer. If they are successful in the lawsuit, they may receive monetary compensation to help with funeral expenses, loss of income, and perhaps even loss of companionship.
Those of us at Crockett Law Group know what it takes to win such cases. We’ve got plenty of experience in helping those before you who were wronged and lost someone before their time. Contact our personal injury attorneys at (800) 900-9393 today for a free case evaluation.
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How Is Wrongful Death Defined In The State Of California?
Wrongful death in the state of California is defined as a person dying as a consequence of someone else’s fault. That legal fault can be from a person or a legal entity. Common occurrences can include intentional acts (including crimes), negligence-based incidents (such as some car accidents), and medical malpractice.
The liability of the defendant in such a case is only expressed in terms of damages and financial compensation. These are something the court orders a defendant to pay to the survivors of the decedent. Unlike criminal cases, there will not be jail or prison time, or probation. Also, whereas criminal cases have to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, civil lawsuits only have to be proved by a preponderance of available evidence.
Who Is Qualified To File A Wrongful Death Claim In California?
The wrongful death statutes in the state of California allow the following individuals to file wrongful death lawsuit through the civil courts of the state:
- Surviving domestic partners or spouse
- Surviving children
- Surviving grandchildren
If there are no survivors in a decedent’s line of descent, then wrongful death lawsuits are possible from anyone that might have been entitled to the decedent’s property or anyone able to prove financial dependence. This can include siblings, parents, legal guardians, stepchildren, a putative spouse, and children of a putative spouse.
What Damages Are Possible In A California Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
There are two kinds of damages possible. The first kind is economic, whereas the other kind is considered non-economic.
Economic damages can be based on things such as financial support the decedent was likely to contribute to the family, the loss of benefits or gifts that the family would have reasonably expected to get from the decedent, burial/funeral expenses, and dollar value of any household services the decedent provided or would have.
Non-economic damages would cover the loss of more untangible things from the decedent, including love, comfort, protection, moral support, affection, assistance, and companionship. These damages might also cover loss of guidance from the decedent, and a spouse might be compensation for losing the intimacy and loss of consortium with the decedent.
Can Surviving Family File For Punitive Damages?
Possibly. There must be proof of harm prior to the death of the decedent in question.
In civil cases, punitive damages refer to damages assessed against a person for an action that was believed to be unjustified, or, in other words, for an action that was suspected of being motivated in violation of a legal principle. Punitive damages are typically assessed against corporations or companies that have been found liable for the illegal conduct detailed in a case. These damages can also be assessed against individual businesses, especially those with a history of harassment. Additionally, punitive damages may be assessed against public figures who are perceived to have abused their position as public figures.
Second, in assessing punitive damages, it is important to determine whether the nature of the conduct of the defendant has any bearing on the outcome of the case. For example, if a defendant were to intentionally inflict personal harm on another person, such harm could be awarded as a punitive damages award.
How Is Negligence Proved In A Wrongful Death Case?
If you want to establish a death in California as wrongful, then you must prove that it happened because of the wrongful act or negligence of another person or party. Unlike a criminal trial, beyond a reasonable doubt is not the burden of proof.
A Palm Desert wrongful death lawyer can help you establish your case by establishing the four elements of negligence:
- The party you deem liable had a particular duty of care they owed to any victims
- The party breached their duty of care somehow
- That breach resulted in the incident and/or injuries resulting in the death
- That death resulted in specific losses to both you and any other claimants
How Do You Start A Wrongful Death Claim In California?
Starting a wrongful death claim in the state of California involves three basic steps:
- Filling out the appropriate forms
- Filing these forms with the proper courthouse, often in the jurisdiction where the wrongful death took place
- Informing the defendant about your claim
Just one error, unintentional or otherwise, in the process or paperwork, can actually result in your claim being denied on technical grounds by a judge. Also, going at this without a lawyer can leave you vulnerable to the tactics and expertise of lawyers for the defendant and/or their insurance.
How Can a Palm Desert Wrongful Death Lawyer Help My Case?
The first task that a Palm Desert wrongful death lawyer does is to assess the case that he or she is working on. From there, the legal representative will then put together a case strategy. From there, they will represent you and work to get you the compensation that you are entitled to.
They will file paperwork with the courts. This paperwork is known as a complaint. Your lawyer will ensure your case is filed within the time frame set by California’s statute of limitations.
Your Palm Desert wrongful death lawyer can represent you in both settlement negotiations and in an actual trial. Sometimes, settlement negotiations don’t finalize or even present themselves until there is a specter of a trial hanging over the defendant’s head. You can count on your attorney to also make sure you don’t get lowballed with an early settlement offer that’s too low.
The most basic and perhaps most powerful benefit that a Palm Desert wrongful death lawyer can provide you is just handling the legal side of things while you and your family grieve for your lost loved one and try to find a way to move forward without them. Contact Crockett Law right away for a free consultation.
Contact Us Today for a Free Case Evaluation & Consultation
If you’ve recently lost someone due to wrongful death, then we grieve with you on your loss. There’s simply no way to replace a family member who is now gone. However, there might be ways to recover compensation for the loss of the financial and emotional contributions they made to your family or life. This is possible through a wrongful death lawsuit, and a Palm Desert wrongful death lawyer can help you out. Contact our team at the Crockett Law Group right away for a free consultation.