If you suffered the loss of your spouse, child, or parent because of another party’s reckless or careless actions, you can hold them financially accountable. Because the criminal justice system typically does not hand down serious punishment for acts of carelessness, even when those acts cause a fatality, civil compensation is often the most meaningful type of justice for survivors.
In order to hold the negligent party liable for their actions, you need to work with an experienced Glendale wrongful death lawyer. There are various reasons why fair compensation is only possible by seeking legal help, which is described in detail below.
What Is A Wrongful Death Claim?
All members of society, including companies and corporations, own a duty of care to others. This duty of care simply means that people must act in a careful, prudent manner that is not likely to cause harm to others. In terms of driving, this means following the speed limit, using turn signals, not looking at one’s phone while passing through intersections, and always yielding right of way, for example.
For business owners, a duty of care means fixing hazardous infrastructure or cleaning up spills that could cause a slip and fall. In hospitals, all medical professionals have a standard of care to their patients that requires them to treat injuries and illnesses in a specific manner. Any harm that occurs because of a driver’s texting, a business owner’s failure to maintain their premises, or a doctor’s disregard for the standard of care makes them liable for damages.
If one party’s actions cause the death of someone, the surviving spouse and family members of the victim can file a personal injury claim, demanding compensation, usually from the at-fault party’s insurance company. If that party refuses to cooperate with the claim, or the offer they provide is too small, a lawsuit can be filed, and the matter can be resolved in court.
Damages You Can Seek in a Wrongful Death Claim
- Pain and suffering
- Medical expenses
- Lost future earnings
- Loss of consortium
- Mental and emotional anguish
- Property damage
- Funeral and burial expenses
The only way to receive full compensation for the damages you and the decedent suffered is by hiring an attorney. A wrongful death attorney will:
- Investigate or use the official police report to determine the cause of death.
- Work with expert witnesses and hire an investigator if necessary, to establish fault.
- Establish a liable party whose actions caused the death.
- Compile and establish damages, including calculating lost earnings, pain and suffering, medical bills, and more.
- File the wrongful death claim with the appropriate party or parties.
- Negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
- Carefully read through the at-fault party’s insurance policy to determine what the policy limits are.
- Be with you during mediation.
- Handle communications between police (when necessary), the court, witnesses, expert witnesses, the at-fault party’s insurance company, and more.
- Communicate with you throughout the many months that this process takes.
- File a lawsuit, if necessary.
- If a trial is necessary, present your case in front of a judge and jury to ensure that your compensation is maximized.
Who Can Seek Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim?
Under California Code 377.60, the following individuals may be able to file or join a California wrongful death claim:
- Spouse or domestic partner
- A minor who lived with and was dependent on the deceased person
More than one plaintiff can seek damages in a wrongful death claim, but all parties must join a single wrongful death action. That means that the decedent’s parents cannot file a separate claim from the decedent’s spouse, for example.
Types of Wrongful Death Claims
The most common unintentional injury deaths, according to the CDC, are drug overdoses (accidental poisoning), motor vehicle collisions, drowning, and falls. Missing from the CDC’s list is medical malpractice, which takes hundreds of thousands of American lives each year, as recent research has discovered. Any act of negligence that leads to another’s death is considered a wrongful death. Below are the most common types of wrongful death claims.
- Traffic collisions:
- Car crashes
- Truck crashes
- Bus crashes
- Rideshare crashes
- Bike collisions
- Pedestrian collisions
- Motorcycle collisions
- Premises liability:
- Slip and fall
- Trip and fall
- Swimming pool accidents
- Dog attacks
- Negligent security
- Negligent maintenance
- Medical malpractice
- Defective or dangerous drugs
- Defective or dangerous medical devices
- Defective consumer products
Never Discuss The Incident Or Compensation With The Other Party
It is understandable that you have questions, and it can be hard to hang up the phone if you are contacted by the person who caused your loved one’s death. But, if they call, or more specifically if their insurance adjuster calls or contacts you by email, it is vital that you do not respond. Anything that you tell the other party, particularly if you have knowledge of how the incident occurred, can be used to devalue the wrongful death claim.
All communication with the other party must go through your attorney. The insurance adjuster may even offer a settlement right away. For people struggling to pay the bills, this can be a tempting offer, but it is never a wise decision to accept an offer like this. The true value of your loved one’s wrongful death claim is always worth much more. And, with hospital bills and funeral expenses to pay, as well as loss of companionship and your own emotional turmoil, it is in your best interest to hold out. Working with an experienced Glendale wrongful death attorney can help you seek justice to the highest degree.
Call A Glendale Wrongful Death Attorney At Ourfalian & Ourfalian
Whether your loved one lost their life because of a doctor’s mistake or a truck driver’s disregard for traffic laws, or by some other means of negligence, you can seek compensation for medical bills, lost future earnings, loss of companionship, and more by working with an attorney. We strongly encourage you to reach out to the Glendale wrongful death attorneys at Ourfalian & Ourfalian today. Call (818) 550-7777 to schedule a free consultation.