A wrongful death claim in California is very similar to a personal injury claim in many ways, but there are several crucial differences you should know before filing your claim. First, California follows the rule of intestate succession to determine eligibility for filing wrongful death claims. This means those who have valid legal claims on the deceased’s estate typically have the right to pursue wrongful death claims, starting with the deceased’s surviving spouse followed by their children, parents, and other close relatives. If the deceased did not have any close family, anyone who can prove they were financially dependent on the deceased or has a valid claim on the deceased’s estate may pursue a wrongful death claim instead.
California provides a two-year statute of limitations on filing wrongful death claims, and this time limit begins on the date of the death. While it may seem like a very long time, it can close very quickly as a family starts managing the aftermath of a wrongful death. It’s important to act quickly and secure legal counsel for the best chance of succeeding with your claim. Finally, when it comes to the damages available in your wrongful death claim, it is vital to understand that the compensation available in a wrongful death claim is meant for the surviving family. However, it’s possible for the claimants to secure compensation for damages to the deceased’s estate through a survival action.
If you succeed with your wrongful death claim, you can recover several types of compensation including funeral and burial expenses and the lost value of the household services provided by the deceased. The claimants can also recover pain and suffering compensation for the loss of affection, care, guidance, and companionship provided by the deceased. The plaintiff can also receive compensation for the financial support the deceased could have continued to provide, had they survived. Your Mission Viejo wrongful death attorney would calculate an appropriate amount based on the deceased’s salary and the amount of time they could have reasonably expected to work until retirement age.
A wrongful death claim can provide the deceased’s family with substantial compensation, but it cannot provide compensation for any damages incurred by the deceased estate. In these situations, a survival action can hold a defendant accountable for the additional damages that are not available in a wrongful death claim. For example, if a defendant caused the death in question but the deceased did not die immediately from the incident in question, the deceased may have incurred significant medical expenses following the incident. A survival action allows plaintiffs to recover medical expenses for the deceased’s final injury or illness, lost income between the incident and the death, and property damage sustained because of the defendant’s behavior.
Depending on how a wrongful death happens, the defendant could potentially face a wrongful death claim, a survival action, and criminal prosecution for causing the death of another person. If you intend to work with a Mission Viejo wrongful death lawyer to hold the defendant in question accountable, you should know what you will need to do to succeed with your lawsuit.
Wrongful death claims function around the legal concept of negligence, similar to personal injury claims. To succeed with a wrongful death claim, the plaintiff must identify the defendant responsible for the death in question, prove the defendant was negligent or acted intentionally in some way that resulted in the death, and provide the court with a complete and accurate list of their claimed damages.
Your attorney may need to provide several important legal services to accomplish this. You mayneed to secure material evidence, witness testimony, and even consult expert witnesses to identify the defendant responsible for the wrongful death in your family and prove their negligence. Once you have succeeded in identifying the defendant or defendants responsible for the wrongful death, your attorney must then calculate the damages you can secure from your claim. A good attorney will also advise you as to whether a survival action is appropriate for your circumstances.
Approaching any wrongful death claim can be incredibly challenging and emotionally stressful for the plaintiff and their loved ones. When you choose Easton & Easton to represent your wrongful death claim, we will do everything we can to make the process as easy and understandable as possible. Our team will work closely with you to gather the evidence and documentation we need to hold the defendant accountable and maximize your recovery.
We understand that a recent death in the family is an unexpected tragedy, and you probably have many questions about what to do and how to approach a wrongful death claim. If you are ready to discuss your legal options after a recent death in the family that someone else caused, Easton & Easton can help. Contact us today to schedule your consultation with our firm and we will let you know how we can assist you as your Mission Viejo wrongful death lawyers.