Wrongful deaths commonly occur from many of the same situations that lead to personal injury claims. However, while personal injury claims pertain to claims for physical injuries, illnesses, and economic losses caused by another party’s negligence, wrongful death claims function differently. Instead of compensating for losses sustained by the deceased’s estate, a wrongful death claim compensates the deceased’s family for their losses. Some of the most commonly reported causes of wrongful deaths in California include:
- Motor vehicle accidents. Traffic accidents can easily result in devastating injuries, some of which are fatal. Distracted driving, moving violations, and speeding are just a few ways negligent drivers can cause fatalities.
- Driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs and alcohol. While any motor vehicle accident can cause fatal results, drunk driving accidents have a much higher chance of resulting in deaths than most other traffic accidents. The DUI driver will likely face criminal prosecution for vehicular manslaughter in addition to civil liability for wrongful death.
- Premises liability. Property owners must address known safety issues promptly and prevent foreseeable injuries to lawful visitors. If your loved one died due to a safety issue on someone else’s property, a wrongful death claim could hold them accountable for your family’s damages.
These are only a few examples of how fatal injuries might occur in California and lead to wrongful death claims. If you think another party bears fault for the recent death of your loved one, an experienced Fullerton wrongful death lawyer can help you prove their liability for wrongful death.
Both personal injury claims and wrongful death claims require the plaintiff to accurately identify the party responsible for their claimed damages and prove the at-fault party directly caused those damages. In a wrongful death claim, the plaintiff and their attorney must prove the defendant failed to uphold a duty of care and consequently caused the death in question.
Your Fullerton wrongful death lawyer can help you gather the evidence you may need to prove fault for wrongful death. This can include physical evidence from the scene of the incident in question, witness testimony, or even input from relevant expert witnesses.
Wrongful death claims seek compensation for the surviving family members, not damages incurred by the deceased’s estate. A wrongful death claim can compensate for loss of affection, loss of consortium, and lost financial support the deceased provided. A survival action, by comparison, seeks compensation for damages to the deceased’s estate. For example, if the deceased did not die immediately from their final injury or illness and incurred medical costs during their final days, a survival action would allow the plaintiff to recover those losses. It’s common for wrongful death claims and survival actions to work in tandem, increasing the surviving family’s overall recovery.
Facing a wrongful death is a distressing and uncertain experience, and you understandably have lots of questions about the legal proceedings ahead of you and your family. Easton & Easton has years of experience representing clients in wrongful death claims, and we know the challenges these cases pose to surviving families. The following are some of the most common questions we hear from prospective clients.
Q: How Much Is a Wrongful Death Case Worth?
A: Your Fullerton wrongful death attorney can help you calculate the full scope of the damages you can claim in your wrongful death case. Depending on how the death occurred, the age and medical status of the deceased at the time of their fatal accident, and the losses sustained by their family, the case award for a successful wrongful death claim can be substantial.
Q: Do Wrongful Death Cases Go to Trial?
A: Many wrongful death claims settle outside of court. It’s generally in the best interests of all parties involved to reach a settlement quickly and avoid protracted litigation. However, a wrongful death case can go to trial if a defendant denies liability or contests the scope of the damages sought by the plaintiff.
Q: How Long Will My Wrongful Death Case Take to Complete?
A: It can take several months to finalize a wrongful death claim. The time required typically depends on the strength of the evidence in play and whether the defendant is willing to accept liability.
If you have more questions about a potential wrongful death claim in Fullerton, CA, it’s vital to consult an experienced Fullerton wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible. Easton & Easton is available to provide the support and guidance you need for an emotionally stressful wrongful death claim. If you are ready to discuss your case with a compassionate Fullerton wrongful death lawyer, contact us today and schedule a consultation with our team.