Losing a loved one due to someone else’s negligence or misconduct is a devastating experience, and seeking justice can be overwhelming. During these difficult times, a wrongful death attorney can be your advocate, guiding you through the legal process and helping you obtain the compensation and closure you deserve. In this blog, we’ll highlight 7 key ways a wrongful death lawyer can assist you in your pursuit of justice.
Did You Lose a Loved One in an Auto Accident?
Auto accidents are one of the leading causes of wrongful deaths in the United States. Each year there are over 220,000 unintentional injury deaths across the US. Motor vehicle crashes account for over 45,000 traffic accident deaths. If you’ve lost a loved one in a car crash, a wrongful death lawyer can provide invaluable support in several ways.
7 Ways Wrongful Death Lawyers Can Help
Wrongful death law is complex and intricate due to varying circumstances. A wrongful death lawyer’s legal expertise is invaluable, ensuring thorough investigation, strong case building, and effective representation for grieving families.
Investigate Your Loved One’s Death
Wrongful death attorneys have the expertise to investigate the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s death thoroughly. They will examine accident reports, gather witness statements, and consult with accident reconstruction experts if necessary.
Gather and Preserve Evidence
Preserving evidence is crucial in building a strong case. Attorneys will ensure that all relevant evidence, such as medical records, accident reports, and witness testimonies, is properly collected and stored.
Build a Compelling Case
Wrongful death lawyers have the experience to build a compelling case on your behalf and prove the other party caused the fatal accident. They will work with experts, such as medical professionals and accident reconstructionists, to establish liability and calculate damages.
Deal With the Insurance Companies
Dealing with insurance companies can be daunting, especially during a time of grief. Attorneys can handle all communications with the other party’s insurance company, ensuring that you are not taken advantage of or pressured into accepting inadequate settlements.
Hold The Liable Party Responsible
If someone’s negligence caused your loved one’s death, a wrongful death lawyer will work tirelessly to hold the responsible parties accountable. This may involve negotiations or pursuing a personal injury lawsuit.
Represent You in Court
If a fair wrongful death settlement cannot be reached through negotiations, your attorney will represent you in court. They will present your case before a judge and jury, fighting for justice on your behalf.
Fight for Maximum Compensation
Wrongful death attorneys understand the complex factors that determine the value of a wrongful death claim. They will strive to secure maximum compensation to cover medical expenses, funeral costs, lost income, and emotional suffering.
Common Types of Wrongful Death Cases
Wrongful death cases can arise from various situations, but some common scenarios include:
Car accidents are a leading cause of wrongful death. Distracted driving, reckless behavior, and negligence often contribute to these tragic events. In California, traffic fatalities increased by 7.6% from 2020 to 2021. In 2021, there were 4,285 auto accident deaths compared to 3,980 in 2020.
When cyclists are involved in accidents with motor vehicles, the results can be fatal. Wrongful death attorneys can help surviving family members seek justice in bike accident cases.
Collisions with large commercial trucks can be catastrophic. Auto accident lawyers are skilled in dealing with the complexities of truck accident cases.
Motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable on the road. In California, there were 565 motorcyclist fatalities in 2021, which was a 3% increase from 2020 (549). Wrongful death lawyers can assist families in cases involving motorcycle accidents.
Pedestrians are at risk when sharing the road with vehicles. Pedestrian fatalities are on the rise in California. In 2021, there were 1,108 pedestrian deaths, a 9.4% increase from 2020 (1,013). Wrongful death attorneys can help families seek compensation for the loss of a loved one in a pedestrian accident.
Accidents involving rideshare services like Uber and Lyft can result in wrongful death claims. Auto accident attorneys can navigate the unique legal aspects of these cases.
Compensation Available in a Wrongful Death Claim
In a wrongful death claim, compensation, also known as damages, can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case. While it is impossible to place a dollar amount on the loss of a loved one, compensation can help ease the financial burden and provide some sense of justice. Damages in wrongful death cases may include:
Medical expenses – Financial compensation can cover any medical bills and expenses related to the deceased person’s injury or illness before their death.
Funeral and burial costs – These expenses can be substantial, and compensation can help cover the costs of a dignified funeral and burial.
Loss of income: If the deceased person was a primary breadwinner, the family may be entitled to compensation for the income they would have earned over their lifetime.
Loss of consortium – This refers to the loss of companionship, support, and guidance the deceased provided to their family members.
Pain and suffering – Financial compensation may also account for the emotional pain and suffering experienced by the surviving family members.
Punitive damages – In cases of extreme negligence or intentional harm, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the responsible party and deter similar behavior in the future.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in California?
In California, as in most states, not just anyone can file a wrongful death lawsuit. There are specific criteria that determine who has the legal standing to bring a wrongful death claim:
Surviving spouse – A surviving spouse has the first right to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Domestic partner – In cases where the deceased person had a registered domestic partner, that partner may have the right to file a claim.
Children – If there is no surviving spouse or domestic partner, the deceased person’s surviving children can file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Other dependent family members – In some cases, other family members who were financially dependent on the deceased person may have the right to file a wrongful death suit.
Statute of Limitations for a Wrongful Death Case
It’s essential to be aware of the statute of limitations when pursuing a wrongful death case. In California, the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is generally two years from the date of the person’s passing.
However, there are exceptions, and the timeline can be shorter in certain circumstances. It’s crucial to consult with an experienced wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible to ensure your case falls within the applicable timeframe.
Contact an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney Today
Losing a loved one in a wrongful death incident is a traumatic experience, and seeking justice can be overwhelming and challenging. An experienced wrongful death attorney can be your ally during this difficult time, helping you navigate the complex legal process while you focus on healing.
At Santiago Accident Lawyers we will provide you with the support and guidance you need to pursue justice and obtain the compensation you deserve. If you’ve lost a family member due to someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions, don’t hesitate to consult with our wrongful death lawyers. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.