Losing a loved one is a moment of shock and tragedy
The idea of losing a loved one as a result of an unexpected accident is tragic, shocking, and heartbreaking to even consider.
For many people living in Los Angeles, though, the death of a family member as a result of an accident is a reality with which they are living.
If you are someone who has lost a spouse, child, parent, or another family member in a serious accident, you may maintain a cause of action for a wrongful death claim.
Our Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer understands the pain you are suffering, is here to offer you support and guidance, and answer the many questions that you may have.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim is a type of civil suit that seeks to hold an at-fault party liable for an individual’s death, and recoup monetary damages from the at-fault party as such.
Under California law, a wrongful death claim may be pursued when the wrongful death was caused by the negligence or wrongful act of another.
A wrongful death lawsuit is not a criminal action; the outcome of a wrongful death case will have no criminal consequences for the defendant.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Action?
California statute section 377.60 explains that the personal representative of the deceased can bring forth a wrongful death action, as can any of the following parties:
- The surviving spouse or domestic partner of the decedent;
- The children of the decedent;
- Anyone who would be entitled to property of the decedent via the laws of intestate succession; or
- The putative spouse, children, stepchildren, or parents of the decedent if such parties can prove that they were financially dependent on the deceased.
The Elements of a Wrongful Death Case and How Los Angeles Wrongful Death Attorneys Can Help
There are four elements of a successful wrongful death claim, one of which was already mentioned: that the wrongful act or neglect of the defendant led to death. Further, a plaintiff must establish that a) the defendant owed the decedent a duty of care; b) that the duty of care was breached (via a wrongful or neglectful act); c) that the wrongful or neglectful act was the primary cause of death; and d) that damages have been suffered by the deceased’s beneficiaries as such.
Proving a breach of the duty of care and causation are typically the two most complicated elements of a wrongful death case. Working with a Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer can be very helpful in establishing both of these elements. An attorney will not only investigate the case, but also hire experts whose opinions can have a profound effect on the outcome of your case.
Why File a Wrongful Death Action?
When you are mourning the loss of a loved one, bringing forth a civil action may seem like the furthest thing from your mind. Instead, you may be focused on planning a funeral or burial service, making a plan for your financial future, ensuring that any children that you have are getting the help that they need after losing a parent, and coping with your own grief.
Our lawyers completely understand and sympathize with what you are going through, and are sensitive to the fact that filing a lawsuit may not be a priority. While taking legal action can be emotional and complicated, doing so may provide numerous benefits.
First, filing a wrongful death lawsuit may help to fulfill a sense of justice - holding an at-fault person liable for your loved one’s death can provide you with a sense of closure, and also deter the person from committing a similar negligent or wrongful act in the future.
In addition to offering you closure, a wrongful death action can also yield the monetary benefits that you and your family need to care for yourselves and move forward in the future.
Types of Damages Available in a Wrongful Death Claim
The value of your wrongful death claim settlement will depend on numerous factors, including the amount and type of insurance coverage available and the extent of your and your family’s losses. While it is impossible to say what your claim is worth without a thorough review your case first, damages that may be available in a wrongful death claim include:
- Medical expenses - You have the right to recoup the full value of medical expenses incurred by the deceased prior to death;
- Funeral and burial expenses;
- Lost wages - When an income earner dies, their loved ones often feel the burden of lost wages and a loss of earnings, including the loss of benefits over time;
- Noneconomic losses - Not all losses are financial - surviving loved ones also suffer a loss of the value of household services, parental guidance, companionship, and more. Damages may be sought for these intangible losses too.
It’s Important to Act Quickly
You may be hesitant to reach out to Los Angeles wrongful death attorneys so soon after losing a loved one; however, acting quickly is important. Not only is quick action essential for collecting and preserving evidence that may be integral to your claim, but also if you wait too long, you may breach the state’s statute of limitations. If you wait longer than two years from the time of death to take action, you will be barred from seeking damages at all.
Our Wrongful Death Lawyers Want to Help You
If you have lost a loved one in an accident that you believe would not have occurred but for the wrongful actions of another person or party, please do not hesitate to call our wrongful death lawyer.
Los Angeles wrongful death attorneys like those at the office at Starpoint Law, LC, care about the outcome of your case and will work hard on your behalf. At Star Point Law, we offer free consultations for all wrongful death
Please call us today or send us a message to schedule an appointment now.
Want to talk about it?
If you have recently lost a loved one and feel like you have a wrongful death case. Please reach out to us, we are here to help