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San Diego Wrongful Death Attorney

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is never easy. When a loss occurs due to the negligence or recklessness of someone else, the grief can truly be unbearable. Trying to process how a loved one could needlessly be taken away is an unimaginable loss beyond words.

Continuing life can present some real challenges as well. Along with trying to emotionally process the sudden death of a loved one, the surviving family is likely facing financial concerns as well. Family members might face insurmountable medical bills and insurance claims. The surviving spouse and children will also need to deal with the loss compensation that could lead to financial stress.

At Walker Law, P.C., we feel for those with the needless death of a loved one, as we realize what a huge burden it is for surviving family members. While we cannot emotionally replace what has been lost, we will do everything in our power to deal with the legal and financial realities so you can have time to grieve without added worry. Our San Diego wrongful death attorneys are here for you and your loved ones. Call us today for your free consultation.

What is a Wrongful Death Claim?

A wrongful death lawsuit stems from the same area of law as personal injury suits. Known as tort law, the burden is on the plaintiff to demonstrate that the defendant breached a duty to carry out a standard of care that led to someone’s death. While the same parties may be involved as in a criminal suit, wrongful death claims differ because the aim of a wrongful death suit is to compensate the victim’s family members rather than to punish the at-fault party. Even if the defendant is not found guilty in a criminal case, they still may be legally liable for the wrongful death of the deceased.

Examples of Wrongful Death Claims

Wrongful death claims can be a broad area of law encompassing different types of accidents. Some commonly seen cases in San Diego include:

  • Vehicular accidents
  • Bicycle and pedestrian accidents
  • Aviation accidents
  • Defective goods
  • Exposure to chemicals or toxic materials
  • Medical malpractice
  • Fall accidents
  • Dog attacks

Required Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim

To win a wrongful death claim, the plaintiff must prove by the preponderance of the evidence that the following elements were met:

  • The harm done was due to negligence or intentional act
  • The negligence or intentional act was directly related to the death of
    the victim
  • The action resulted in the death that left the surviving family in a
    financially-distressed position

Who Can File a Lawsuit Against a Wrongful Death?

§377.60-377.62 of the California Code of Civil Procedure outlines who is able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Per that statute, the following are able to file a claim:

  • The decedent’s spouse
  • The decedent’s children
  • The decedent’s parents
  • Others that are financially dependent on the decedent
  • The decedent’s estate

While a lawsuit can be filed against every party responsible for the death of your loved one, only one family member can file a claim rather than by separate relatives. For this reason, efficient communication among family members is crucial in these cases.

Potential Compensation

Financial compensation can be recovered in a wrongful death lawsuit for the damages caused by another’s negligence or intentional act. Examples of potential compensation include:

  • Medical Expenses – The decedent does not have to die immediately for a family member to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Often, the victim may be in the hospital for a few days before their passing. The longer they stay, the higher the medical expenses are. Extensive treatment such as surgeries may be required in an attempt to save the victim’s life.
  • Funeral Expenses – These are expenses related to the victim’s funeral or memorial. Funerals can cost a large amount of money, and families may not be able to handle them on their own.
  • Property Damage – There are wrongful death cases that involve the damage of any property, which can be recovered if applicable.
  • Loss of Income – This is among the economic damages that may be compensated by an at-fault party. The family of the victim may receive compensation for the lost income that would have been earned by the deceased victim if he or she had been alive.
  • Emotional Damage – Losing someone is traumatizing and overwhelming. This form of compensation is directed towards any damage that affects clients emotionally, such as the loss of companionship, loss of moral support, and loss of affection.
  • Punitive Damages – There are extreme cases in which a family member can pursue and recover this form of compensation. Although this may not be related to any direct form of loss, the court awards these damages in the name of justice so that others will not repeat the same act.

When and Why Should You Seek a Wrongful Death Attorney?

In California, the statute of limitations for a case of wrongful death is two years. This may be extended for six months if the deceased did not immediately pass away from his or her injuries. Not taking action within the given time frame could serve as a forfeiture of rights to file for a wrongful death lawsuit or to apply for death benefits. If a family member is considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit, they should contact an attorney right away to determine what the deadline is for filing.

Contact Our Wrongful Death Attorneys Today

The death of a loved one is a tragedy beyond words. The emotional, mental, and financial impact is a legitimate burden to take on by oneself. At Walker Law, P.C., we can help ease this burden. Our attorneys aim to help and protect families from being taken advantage of and to assist in eliminating the financial stress so that the family members can mourn in peace. Our San Diego wrongful death lawyers are here for you in any way possible. You do not have to face these challenging times alone. Call our lawyers today for your free consultation.

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