If someone you love has died because of the reckless actions of a third party, then we are truly sorry for your suffering and loss. We understand that there is no way to fully and permanently overcome that pain. But there are still steps that you can take to honor their memory and to preserve their legacy. We can help to ensure that justice is served and that the guilty party pays for the damages they caused.
When a wrongful death occurs because of negligence, then compensation is owed to certain surviving family members. If you are one of those surviving members, then you should immediately begin working with a professional Yucca Valley wrongful death lawyer so that you may fight for that compensation. We at the Crockett Law Group want to be that legal team.
At the Crockett Law Group, we give every client the personal attention they need to succeed during troubling times. We deal with the insurance companies on their behalf and negotiate settlements that make a real difference. The initial consultation is 100 percent free and we guarantee that are no hidden fees.
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How Does California Define a Wrongful Death?
California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) covers the specifics of wrongful death claims. This includes what may be classified as wrongful death and which parties are allowed to sue for damages. A few of the most important sections worth reviewing include 377.60 and 726(a). Of course, one of the many benefits of working with a professional attorney is that you do not need to burden yourself with extensive legal reading and confusing jargon.
Section 377.60 defines the foundation for a wrongful death claim, which is when a person’s wrongful act or negligence causes the death of another individual. A wrongful death may also lead to a criminal trial, but the civil and criminal cases are not necessarily related and their outcome may not always agree. The burden of proof is significantly lower in a civil case and a person may be found liable in a wrongful death claim even if they were not found guilty in a criminal trial.
Here are a few examples of negligence that may lead to a wrongful death claim:
- Medical Malpractice – This occurs when a patient dies because a doctor failed to properly perform their duties.
- Car Accidents – These can include accidents caused by DUIs, reckless driving, or improperly maintained roads.
- Defective Products – Any number of products that are sold in a defective state may be used as the foundation for a wrongful death claim.
Who Is Qualified to File for Wrongful Death in Yucca Valley, California?
CCP sections 377.60 parts “a” and “b” go further to detail who exactly may bring a wrongful death claim forward. If you are in one of these parties, then we advise contacting our law offices as soon as possible. And if you are not the correct party, then please advise the relevant person to come forward and begin the process.
It’s important to mention that California operates according to a “One Action Rule” based on CCP section 726(a). This rule requires that all potential claimants in a wrongful death claim join together in a single action. It is impossible for multiple parties to open separate suits against the same defendant. This rule allows for a single, reliable outcome for all people involved.
The three parties with priority when filing a wrongful death suit in Yucca Valley are as follows:
- The surviving spouse.
- The surviving children.
- The surviving grandchildren of a deceased child.
What Types of Damage Are Recoverable?
There are two types of damages that may be recoverable in a wrongful death claim. They are:
Economic damages are the easiest to convey because they have a clear financial value. That value is often indicated with evidence, such as receipts, bank statements, and other financial records. A few examples of economic damages include:
- The loss of financial support that the deceased would have normally provided to the plaintiff during the remainder of their lifetime.
- The value of any household services they would have provided during their lifetime.
- Expenses related to their funeral and burial.
- The loss of any gifts or other financial benefits that the deceased would have normally provided during their lifetime.
These types of damages are not quite as easy to quantify. They are not necessarily provable with receipts and financial documents. Estimating their value will require input from the plaintiff and other witnesses as well as expert legal skills on behalf of the negotiating attorney. Their value is ultimately determined by the jury. They can include:
- Loss of affection and sexual relations.
- Loss of moral support, companionship, and protection.
- Loss of training and guidance.
Can Surviving Family Members Sue for Punitive Damages in California?
No. California law does not permit family members to file for punitive damages in a wrongful death claim nor does the jury award these damages.
The only way it is possible to receive compensation in this form is through the filing of a survival cause of action. However, a cause of action claim is often coupled with wrongful death claims depending on the circumstances of the situation and who is filing the claim.
How Is Negligence Proved in Regards to a Wrongful Death Case?
In California, negligence refers to an individual’s failure to provide the reasonable duty of care that their position calls for. This duty of care will vary according to their profession, the actions they were performing, and their relation with the deceased. In general, negligence is proved by establishing the following circumstances.
- The defendant owed the deceased a “Duty of Care.”
- The defendant violated this owed “Duty of Care,” thus committing the act of negligence.
- That specific negligence resulted in the death of the deceased.
- That death must be the causation of the damages being pursued in the claim.
How Do You Start a Wrongful Death Claim in California?
You do not need to undertake any of this process alone. You are advised to begin working with a Yucca Valley wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible. After contacting an attorney who agrees to handle the case you will need to meet to fill out some paperwork. The attorney will handle the filing process and the various tedious tasks required to begin and proceed with the wrongful death suit.
What Is the Difference Between a Wrongful Death Claim and an Estate Claim in California?
In California, the estate claim is known as a “survival” cause of action claim. It is intended to compensate the estate of the deceased for specific losses that were suffered prior to their death. The major differences between these claims are the types of damages that can be pursued. In addition to punitive damages, the estate claim may also seek compensation for medical bills, damage to property, and lost wages.
Call Our Yucca Valley Wrongful Death Lawyers Today
Even without a limit on the amount of damages recoverable, the California courts can never truly award enough to overcome the pain and suffering of losing a loved one. But that shouldn’t stop you from fighting for what is right.
The compensation received in these cases is enough to ward off debt, cover death expenses, and provide a level of financial stability similar to what the deceased could have provided.