Did You Lose a Loved One From Negligence?
If you lost a family member in a tragic accident due to negligence, you may be feeling a lot of confusion and grief. Our Riverside wrongful death lawyers can help navigate this complex legal matter to obtain justice for your loved one.
A wrongful death claim arises when a person dies from the negligence or intentional act of another person or entity. When this happens, the surviving family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit to seek compensation for the losses and damages they suffered. A wrongful death claim is a civil claim and is separate from a criminal case.
Why Hire Sycamore Accident Lawyers?
Filing a successful wrongful death claim requires knowledge of both personal injury law and wrongful death law. Given the severity of these types of claims, insurance companies may drag their feet to avoid paying out a large settlement. A Riverside wrongful death lawyer can expedite the process and ensure you receive financial compensation as quickly as possible.
At Sycamore Accident Lawyers, our legal team maintains a 99% success rate among all cases, and we have recovered millions of dollars in settlements. We take a client-forward approach and are here for you 24/7. Here are more reasons why you can benefit from hiring a wrongful death attorney for your case:
Conduct a thorough investigation – Riverside wrongful death lawyers will conduct a detailed investigation into the cause of the accident, gather critical evidence, and interview witnesses and experts to build a successful case.
Offer compassionate legal representation – Our attorneys will give you the space and time to grieve. We will work diligently to ensure the best possible outcome for you and your family.
Negotiate with insurance companies – Insurance companies are notoriously difficult to deal with. They may try to place some of the blame on your loved one, or they may not compensate you for the entirety of your losses. An experienced lawyer will know exactly how much you deserve.
Maximize a settlement – Having legal representation sends an immediate and clear message to the insurance company and the other party. It also gives them more of an incentive to offer a favorable settlement to avoid a lengthy and costly court trial.
Common Types of Wrongful Death Claims in Riverside
Wrongful death cases typically arise from auto accidents if the at-fault party was speeding, driving while intoxicated, or otherwise acting recklessly. Some of the most common cases of wrongful death in California include:
Car accidents are the leading cause of wrongful death claims in California. California has the highest number of licensed drivers in the country, with over 27 million. Dozens of serious car accidents happen everyday, especially on busy highways. Higher speeds almost always indicate serious and fatal injuries for drivers or passengers in the car.
Commercial trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. If a truck collides with a passenger vehicle, the aftermath can be devastating. Either the truck driver or the trucking company can be held responsible. Consult with a truck accident lawyer to learn more.
Riding a motorcycle comes with many inherent risks, even for the most experienced riders. Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents result in serious or fatal injuries. Like with car accidents, speed is a major factor, whether in single-vehicle collisions or multi-vehicle collisions.
Construction workers, loggers, and transportation workers face constant dangers while on the job. If your loved one died in a work-related accident, consider filing a wrongful death claim alongside a workers’ compensation claim.
A defective product that causes a death is both a product liability and a wrongful death suit. The deceased person’s family members will need to prove the death was caused by a defective product, either in its marketing, design, or manufacturing.
Who Can File a Riverside Wrongful Death Claim?
Under California civil law, the following individuals may file a Riverside wrongful death claim.
- Surviving spouse or domestic partner of the deceased
- Surviving children of the deceased
- If the deceased left no surviving heir, anyone who would be entitled to the property of the deceased by intestate succession.
The following people may also file a wrongful death claim if they can show they were financially dependent on the deceased:
- Putative spouse or children of putative spouse
- Parents or siblings of the deceased
- Stepchildren of the deceased
To learn more about who can file a California wrongful death claim, consult with a lawyer.
How Do You Prove Wrongful Death?
Proving a wrongful death occurred is a difficult and lengthy process. In the lawsuit, the plaintiff (the person suing) must prove the following elements of negligence for the defendant (the person or entity being sued):
If you are considering filing a wrongful death suit, you must prove the other party owed your loved one a duty of care. In the case of a car accident, the defendant would have had a duty to drive responsibly and prevent harm to others.
Breach of Duty
The defendant breached their duty and caused the deceased’s death. Examples of a breach include driving while intoxicated, driving recklessly, speeding, or running a red light.
A wrongful death attorney must show the defendant’s negligence directly resulted in the death, rather than an outside force.
The plaintiff must be able to prove that they suffered financial and non-financial damages, or losses, because of the death. Examples include medical bills and funeral expenses.
An experienced wrongful death lawyer will be able to prove all of these elements through evidence obtained from the accident, such as witness testimony, surveillance footage, and accident reports. An attorney can also bring on additional help with an accident reconstructionist or private investigator.
What Damages are Available in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The main objective of wrongful death claims is to recover compensation that the surviving family members have suffered due to the loss. Like personal injury claims, wrongful death damages can be divided into two categories: economic and non-economic.
These damages represent actual monetary losses and can be calculated using bills, invoice statements, and receipts. These losses include:
Funeral and burial expenses – Expenses associated with the deceased person’s funeral burial or cremation.
Medical expenses – Medical bills related to the fatal injury that led to the victim’s death.
Lost income – If the deceased person was the primary breadwinner of the family, a wrongful death claim can include the loss of financial support now and in the future.
Loss of benefits – These include benefits like health insurance, 401k, or pension that the deceased would have received.
Damages that do not have a specific monetary value are considered non-economic. These losses include:
Loss of consortium – The loss of the deceased person’s love, affection, attention, companionship, guidance, and moral support.
Pain and suffering – The emotional distress and mental trauma suffered by the surviving family members because of the loss.
Is There a Time Limit for Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Unlike for serious criminal cases that do not have a time limit, civil cases, including wrongful death lawsuits, have a tight deadline to file. This means that surviving family members of the victim must act quickly before time runs out.
The deadline for filing is known as the statute of limitations. In California, wrongful death victims have two years from the deceased’s date of death to file a claim. In a medical malpractice suit, the statute of limitations is three years from the deceased’s death.
What Is a Survival Action?
A survival action can be filed in conjunction with a wrongful death claim. It is essentially the claim the deceased victim would have been able to file if he or she had survived their injury. A survival action can be filed only if the victim did not die immediately from their accident, but survived for a time after.
The main difference between a survival action and a wrongful death suit is the damages awarded. A survival action would provide compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other related expenses.
How Long Will My Case Take?
A wrongful death case involves several steps, including gathering and reviewing all evidence, filing an insurance claim, conducting discovery, and negotiating a settlement. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, a court trial may follow. Wrongful death claims can take anywhere from months to years to settle.
However, do not let this discourage you. Our Riverside wrongful death attorneys will keep you informed on every step of the process. We will not stop fighting until we obtain justice for your loved one’s death.
Consult with a Riverside Wrongful Death Attorney
There is no greater pain than losing a loved one. If you believe you have a wrongful death case, consult with an experienced Riverside wrongful death attorney as soon as possible.
The compassionate lawyers at Sycamore Accident Lawyers will be here for you throughout this difficult time. Our team will guide you through the entire process, from start to finish. When you are able to do so, contact our personal injury law firm to schedule a free consultation.