Losing a loved one can have a significant impact on the entire family. Wrongful death lawsuits respond to the tragic, unnecessary death of a loved one caused by the negligent or intentional behavior of an individual or corporation. Such personal injury lawsuits allow family members and loved ones to seek financial compensation for their loss, which can help to alleviate the burden of funeral costs and other incurred expenses. Though it may be difficult to work through your sorrow, it is important to contact a wrongful death attorney if you’ve recently lost a loved one at the hands of someone else. Doing so will ensure you receive the economic support necessary to begin the healing process and secure your financial future.
An individual or corporation that fails to take adequate care within the normal course of action, such that it results in the harm or death of another, may be considered negligent and therefore liable for any resulting damages. Negligence in wrongful death lawsuits can occur in a variety of circumstances, such as careless, distracted or drunk drivers, failure to provide safe workplace conditions or adequate safety protocols, medical malpractice, harmful drug manufacturing and slip and fall accidents, among others.
Similarly, individuals and corporations whose intentional acts led to a wrongful death can be held liable for damages if it is proven that their actions intentionally caused harm to another.
You should consider speaking with a wrongful death lawyer if you’re loved on was involved in any of the following types of incidents:
Wrongful death claims are typically filed by a representative of the deceased’s estate, on behalf of their survivors. Who qualifies as a ‘survivor’ of the deceased varies from state to state, but in most states, the following family members may bring a wrongful death claim:
However, states often disagree on whether other types of relationships may qualify for wrongful death claims. For example, not all states agree that a parent can file a wrongful death claim on behalf of an adult child, or that an adult child may file a wrongful death claim on behalf of their deceased parent. Siblings and extended relatives, such as grandparents, aunts, uncles or cousins, are also not guaranteed the opportunity to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of a loved one. Usually, a distant familial relationship will make it more difficult to recover for a wrongful death claim.
If you have been researching your family’s legal rights, you may have come across references to “survival actions.” In many cases, family members who are entitled to financial compensation for a loved one’s wrongful death will be entitled to recover additional compensation through a survival action as well.
While a wrongful death claim seeks compensation for family members’ losses resulting from their loved one’s death, a survival claim seeks compensation for the losses the deceased suffered prior to death. The deceased’s personal representative files a survival claim, and, if the claim is successful, the compensation recovered becomes part of the deceased’s estate. Once received by the estate, the compensation award is then distributed to eligible family members according to the deceased’s estate plan or in accordance with California law (if there is no estate plan).
Proving that negligence or an intentional act led to a wrongful death typically falls on the plaintiff. The plaintiff must be able to show that a variety of elements contributed to their loved one’s death before any damages can be awarded.
Typically, your wrongful death lawyer must prove the following elements of a wrongful death case:
Duty of Care – In most wrongful death or personal injury claims, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed a reasonable duty of care to the injured party. For example, drivers are held to a duty of care to follow local laws and safety guidelines. Corporations are held to a duty of care to keep the workplace free from dangerous hazards.
Breach of Duty of Care – Once a plaintiff has established that the defendant owed a duty of care, the plaintiff will be required to prove that their duty of care was breached. For example, a motorist who failed to stop at a red light would be found to have breached their duty of care. The plaintiff will need to present substantial proof that a duty of care was breached.
Causation – Unfortunately, proving that a defendant breached their duty of care won’t be enough to recover for a wrongful death claim in many courts. Instead, the plaintiff will need to prove that the defendant’s breach of duty of care caused the resulting accident and wrongful death. The defendant’s particular action - and not a subsequent, resulting incident - must be the direct cause of the accident.
Wrongful death incidents can result in substantial financial losses and significantly impact a victim’s loved ones for years to come. Particularly in instances where the deceased was the primary source of income for a family, a wrongful death incident can be both an emotional and financial burden for those left behind. Unfortunately, most insurance companies work to quickly settle wrongful death claims, and loved ones reeling from the tragic and sudden loss of their family member are rarely in a position to negotiate. These victims are often taken advantage of and they end up settling for far less than they need or deserve after suffering such a horrific loss.
From recovering overwhelming funeral costs to lost future earnings, a wrongful death lawsuit will ensure your continued stability and security. Initiating a wrongful death lawsuit with a proven wrongful death lawyer is a crucial first step. We’ll conduct a thorough investigation and legal analysis, ensuring that there is an accurate, inclusive projection of your total losses.
Some of the costs you can recover under a wrongful death lawsuit include:
If you have a strong claim and you hire an experienced wrongful death attorney, there is a fairly good chance that your claim will settle before trial. Most wrongful death claims settle, and settling avoids the uncertainty and additional burdens of going to court.
Of course, for settling to make sense, you need to receive an offer that represents “just compensation” for your loved one’s death. Since no amount can truly compensate for the loss of a loved one, this is a mathematical calculation that considers various principles of California law. At Banafshe Law Firm, PC, we help our clients make informed decisions about settling their wrongful death claims, and our attorneys rely on decades of combined experience to negotiate for maximum compensation.
When considering a settlement offer after a loved one’s death, it is important to ensure that you have a comprehensive understanding of your family’s legal rights. You only get one opportunity to seek just compensation; and, once you settle, your claim is over. When you choose our firm to represent you, our attorneys will tell you whether they recommend accepting an offer in no uncertain terms, and they will tell you if they believe they can win more by taking your case to trial.
If it is in your best interest to go to trial, presenting a compelling case to the jury will require exhaustive preparations. Each wrongful death lawyer at Banafshe Law Firm, PC, is an experienced litigator who will be fully prepared to assert your family’s legal rights in court if necessary.
As the plaintiff in your case, your attorneys will present your side of the case first. This will involve presenting evidence of the cause of the accident and the extent of your family’s losses, and this evidence can include everything from photos of the accident scene to expert witness testimony. The defense will present its side next, and then your attorneys will have the opportunity for rebuttal before both sides present their closing arguments. Then, the jury will deliberate before rendering a verdict on your wrongful death claim.
If you’ve recently experienced a wrongful death and are suffering the loss of a loved one, you can rely on the experience and guidance of an accomplished wrongful death lawyer. While it may seem like an insurmountable task, securing your financial future will alleviate an immense burden down the road. Our attorneys are sensitive to your needs and the inherent difficulty of this time, and we will make sure to guide you through the process. Contact us today for a free consultation. Start the process by calling 310-273-7300 now!
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