Losing a loved one due to the negligence, malicious acts, or carelessness of another party can be extremely painful and emotionally scarring. The family members left behind can also be left dealing with financial hardships that can affect their lives for a long time, especially if the deceased was the primary supporter. While there is nothing that can bring back the dead loved one, making a wrongful death claim with a Riverside wrongful death lawyer can help get the justice and financial support the surviving members require. The party responsible, whether the act was intentional or not, needs to be held accountable.
Unfortunately, the State of California has complex laws as to what makes a wrongful death claim. These types of cases call for an experienced lawyer, with proper comprehension of the relevant statutes. Not to fret though, a highly skilled Riverside wrongful death lawyer at Crockett Law Group is ready to provide the assistance you need. Our firm is committed to protecting the rights of people dealing with wrongful death cases and ensure they get maximum compensation.
How Is Wrongful Death Defined in California?
Under State Law, wrongful death in California is defined as death caused by the wrongful acts of another party. This is usually based on the following:
- Medical malpractice
- Intentional acts like assault.
- Negligence, like workplace accidents, auto accidents, and the like.
Also, it’s imperative to note that there are some exemptions in regards to wrongful death in the state of California. For example, the death of an unborn child is not subject to wrongful death laws, and they only apply when they are born.
If the decedent was killed while committing a felony, the heirs can’t make a wrongful death claim.
Lastly, when it comes to medical malpractice wrongful death, a claim can’t be considered valid if the deceased has less than 50 percent chance of survival.
For a wrongful death claim to be considered valid in California, the following elements need to be met:
- The individual lost their life
- The death was a result of criminal acts or negligence from another party.
- The surviving members suffered or are suffering damages following the death of a loved one.
Who Is Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Claim in the State of California?
Under California’s wrongful death statute, only the following parties are eligible to file a wrongful death claim:
- Children of the deceased
- The spouse or domestic partner of the deceased
- Grandchildren of the deceased born by a dead child of the deceased.
Other than the above individuals, the following people can make a wrongful death claim on behalf of the decedent, given they can prove the deceased financially supported them:
- Parents or the legal guardians of the deceased.
- The decedent’s stepchildren
- Children of the deceased’s putative spouse.
What Types of Damages Are Recoverable in California?
The purpose of a wrongful death claim is to compensate the surviving members for monetary losses and other damages as a result of the death of a loved one. Generally, the surviving members can seek to recover the following types of damages:
These damages are meant to cover any monetary losses experienced by the family members due to the loss of a loved one. Examples include funeral costs, medical bills, the value of goods and services no longer rendered by the deceased, and much more. Economic damages are objective in nature, and thus the easiest to determine.
These are compensatory damages awarded for non-monetary damages such as loss of care, mental anguish, loss of consortium, loss of guidance or protection, pain and suffering, loss of companionship, etc. These types of damages are subjective in nature, and this makes it harder to assign a value.
Although no amount of compensation can replace the loved one, fair and full monetary compensation can help make your lives better and help you cope better in the absence of the deceased.
Can the Surviving Members File for Punitive Damages?
In California, surviving members, unfortunately, can’t recover punitive damages by making a wrongful death claim. However, there’s an exception for cases where the victim was killed in a felony crime and the party responsible was convicted of the crime.
Punitive damages are extremely rare and are usually recoverable in survival action claims. These are often brought by the estate of the deceased individual to recover damages the deceased would have received if they survived. This implies for a survival claim to be made, the deceased individual needs to have been alive for a particular period before the accident or incident ultimately led to their death.
How Is Negligence Proved in a Wrongful Death Claim in Riverside California?
In order to prove negligence in a wrongful death claim, the surviving members or their lawyer has to prove the following aspects of negligence:
Duty of Care
You need to prove to the jury or judge that the defendant owed your loved one duty of care in the situation that led to their death.
Breach of Duty of Care
Second, you should be able to show that the defendant violated or breached the duty of care. This means they acted or failed to act in a manner that is expected if a reasonable person was in their shoes.
Next, you need to show that the death of your loved one was a direct result of the defendant’s actions and not other reasons.
Lastly, you need to show that the surviving family members suffered damages as a direct result of the death of their loved one. Examples of damages include funeral expenses and loss of companionship.
How to Start a Wrongful Death Claim in Riverside, California
If you’re looking to file a wrongful death claim in Riverside, there are some important steps to take:
- Consult a Riverside wrongful death lawyer to determine if you have a valid claim.
- Show the lawyer proof of death of the loved one, including a death certificate.
- Show that the deceased could have made a personal injury claim if they survived.
Also, keep in mind that you’re required to file the claim within two years of the victim’s death. If you go beyond the period as per the statute of limitations, you will lose the right to legally pursue compensation and recover damages. The process of making a wrongful death claim can be complex, and that’s why it is advisable to start as early as possible and while the evidence is still fresh.
Hire an Experienced Riverside Wrongful Death Lawyer Today!
Losing a loved one is one of the most painful experiences. If their death was due to the wrongful acts or negligence of another party, California law allows you to recover monetary damages for the loss by making a wrongful death claim. No amount of money can bring back the loved one or heal your scars, but compensation and justice is the only form of restitution.
If you have lost a family member in Riverside, California due to the negligence, carelessness, or wrongful acts of another person or entity, do not hesitate to reach out to Crockett Law Group. Our experienced wrongful death attorneys are always ready to provide the required legal help. Let our team fight for you and your loved ones during these trying teams. All you have to do is call our offices at (800) 900-9393 and schedule a free initial consultation.