Death is a painful experience, especially when it comes sudden and it is a loved one that dies. The family is left mourning their loved one and might be in a dire financial predicament if the departed was the primary breadwinner. The sudden change in the family’s usual way of life should not be entirely their burden to shoulder, more so when their loved one’s demise is attributed to the negligent, reckless, or malicious actions of another. In such situations, the family should reach out to a San Diego wrongful death lawyer to help them pursue compensation and justice for their departed family member.
At times, people are too overwhelmed by grief to the point where taking legal action plays second fiddle, resorting to it after laying their loved one on to rest. But at Crockett Law Group, we highly advise you to act as soon as possible when dealing with wrongful death cases. California State laws give you the right to sue those responsible and seek compensation for your loss, pain, and suffering. The sooner you start the legal process, the better the chances of winning full compensation.
We are a law firm confident that we can represent you and your family. We have experienced San Diego injury attorneys and a team of specialists in different fields who will investigate the cause of death to determine liability, gathering crucial evidence needed for creating a robust winning strategy. Call us at (800) 900-9393 to schedule a free consultation and case review.
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How Is Wrongful Death Defined In The State Of California?
According to California statutes (CCP Section 377.60), wrongful death lawsuits are civil suits that we can help you file against the entity (person or organization) whose actions lead to your loved one’s death. That means that you can consider taking this legal action against intentional violence and murder cases, even when the accused also faces criminal prosecution.
However, the law stipulates that only those named in the CCP Section 377.60 can file a wrongful death case. Those permitted to bring a wrongful death action against those responsible include the departed’s surviving spouse or domestic partner, children, and grandchildren.
On a different note, acts that cause wrongful death in California include:
- Battery and assault
- Car accidents
- Workplace-related deaths
- Medical malpractice
- Criminal acts including intentional homicide
- Use of defective products (foods, drinks, drugs, appliances, vehicles) that lead to the user’s death
- Nursing home neglect or elder abuse
- Pedestrian accident fatalities.
Who Is Qualified to File a Wrongful Death Claim in California?
According to California State laws, knowing the deceased or have close associations does not qualify you to find a wrongful death case. Those eligible to take legal action are the departed’s surviving spouse or domestic partner, children (biological or legally adopted), grandchildren, the deceased’s parents, and those listed as beneficiaries in the departed’s estate plan or will.
The departed also might have stated a personal representative to hover the disbursement of his estate and transfer of damages recovered from incidents like wrongful death. In some situations, the court can appoint someone (a relative or family friend) as the estate representative who will work closely with the lawyer handling the wrongful death case to ensure the court’s ruling is honored.
What Types of Damages Are Recoverable?
California wrongful death laws dictate that the recovered damages are meant to compensate the departed’s legally recognized beneficiaries for the value of the support they could have enjoyed if their loved one had lived. The settlement is often paid out at once or in portions structured by the designated estate representative and the wrongful death attorney.
The recoverable damages are based on two essential factors: (1.) the departed’s life expectancy at the time of the wrongful death and (2.) the dependents’ life expectancy at the time of the wrongful death. The court will consider lifestyle, health, occupation, and financial status when determining the value of recoverable economic and non-economic damages.
The economic damages that we at Crocket Law Group can help you recover when you come to us to help with your wrongful death lawsuit in San Diego, California, include
- Lost financial support associated with the deceased’s untimely demise
- Medical expenses incurred when trying to save the deceased’s life
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost benefits the decedent’s beneficiaries could have received
- Value of household needs and wants the departed would have provided to the family.
The non-economic damages that our legal team will fight to ensure the court awards you and your family for the wrongful death include:
- Lost protection
- Loss of affection and intimate relations
- Loss of moral support, comfort, and companionship
- Lost training and guidance.
While there are no fixed standards under the California wrongful death act stipulates what amount to be awarded for non-economic damages, the judge or jury will award a reasonable amount governed by common sense and the evidence present during the case hearing.
Can the Surviving Family File for Punitive Damages?
California’s wrongful death act has some statutes that are particular about recovering damages and often exempts the surviving family from filing for punitive damages. However, we are aware of exceptions to this rule, especially in situations where the decedent’s demise is due to felony homicide for which the perpetrator has been convicted. In such a situation, the recoverable punitive damages could be through a survival action set up on behalf of the departed’s family and estate.
How Is Negligence Proved in a Wrongful Death Case?
When you come to us at Crockett Law Group for legal counsel for your wrongful death case, our lawyers and support team, comprising various professionals in specialty fields, will investigate the matter and gather evidence to help build a robust strategy. Our primary objective is to prove negligence, malice, or reckless acts that resulted in your loved one’s death, therein determining liability.
To achieve this, our attention will be on four crucial things that we must prove:
- The defendant owed the departed a duty of care in the situation.
- There was a breach of this duty through the accused’s reckless, negligent, or indifferent acts.
- The departed would otherwise have lived if the accused upheld their duty of care.
- The surviving family are owed damages for the losses, pain, and suffering attributed to the death.
What Is the Difference Between a Wrongful Death Claim and an Estate Claim?
At times, an estate claim can arise when seeking compensation for wrongful death in California. We consider them codependent depending on the prevailing circumstances surrounding your loved one’s demise. When pursuing a wrongful death claim, we can focus on recovering the loss of consortium, lost income/associated benefits, lost parental love, protection, and other responsibilities.
Conversely, our focus when pursuing the estate claim in the wrongful death lawsuit shall be on costs the family incurred during their deceased’s treatment, therapy, medication, and funeral/burial expenses.
Hire a Reliable San Diego Wrongful Death Lawyer at Crockett Law Group
Wrongful deaths are a weighty matter for most families. The family is left mourning their loved one and might be in a dire financial predicament if the departed is the family’s primary breadwinner. The family can seek compensation if a loved one’s death was caused by the reckless, careless, or intentional actions of another party.
Seeking legal redress is, at times, not a simple recourse for families, given the different legal hurdles they must surmount, all while mourning and laying their loved one to rest. That is why Crockett Law Group is a firm that does not take wrongful death lawsuits lightly. And that is why we partner with various specialists to ensure we gather the evidence needed to help you win the case and are compensated for the loss of your family member.
If you are looking for a reliable and committed San Diego wrongful death lawyer, you will find one at Crockett Law Group. You can contact us online or call us at (800) 900-9393 to schedule a free case evaluation and learn more about the steps you and your family can take to fight for your late loved one’s rights and protect the family’s interests.