Fullerton Wrongful Death Attorney
The death of a loved one is never an easy thing to experience, but when you know your loved one’s death occurred because of the actions of another party, this can add a layer of extreme frustration and resentment on top of an already tragic situation. A wrongful death occurs whenever one party’s negligent or intentionally harmful actions cause the death of another person. These incidents can occur in many ways, and it’s vital to know your legal options after losing a family member to another party’s actions.
An experienced Fullerton wrongful death lawyer is the best asset to have assisting you in this situation. Your legal team will help you determine the full scope of your claimable damages. A wrongful death claim is a civil action that can help you ensure accountability for the party who caused your loved one’s death. A case award cannot replace your lost loved one, but it can help your family transition to your new reality a bit easier.
Chris and Frank have extensive experience representing Fullerton, CA clients in a wide variety of civil claims, including those pertaining to wrongful death. We understand the stress and frustration that these incidents can cause for the surviving family, and our goal is to help our client approach their case with confidence, understand the legal mechanisms in play, and secure maximum compensation for the losses resulting from the death in question.
Why Do I Need a Fullerton Wrongful Death Lawyer?
No matter how clear fault for your loved one’s death may be, do not make the mistake of assuming that you can manage your case entirely on your own. Wrongful death claims are very complex civil cases. While they may share some procedural similarities with personal injury claims, they are much more involved and demanding when it comes to the requirements a claimant must meet to succeed with their case.
Working with an experienced Fullerton wrongful death attorney is an investment in your own recovery. The right attorney can handle your case proceedings on your behalf, so you and your family can recover and grieve with some measure of peace of mind. Your attorney will keep you updated on your case’s progress and help you understand each phase of the case. Ultimately, you are most likely to succeed with a wrongful death claim when you have an experienced attorney representing you and your family.
Most Common Causes of Wrongful Deaths in California
Many situations that can lead to personal injury cases can also generate wrongful death claims. Every wrongful death claim hinges on proving liability for the death in question. If another party intentionally caused your loved one’s death, that party will likely face criminal prosecution for their actions in addition to civil liability for your wrongful death claim. If the death occurred due to negligence or a lack of reasonable care, you must identify the party responsible for the death and prove they failed to uphold a duty of care in some manner and that this is what directly caused your loved one’s death. Some of the most commonly cited causes of wrongful deaths in Fullerton, CA include:
- Car accidents. If a negligent driver caused a fatal crash, their auto insurance policy may only cover a small portion of the surviving family’s total damages.
- Medical malpractice. In the event a medical professional’s negligence causes the death of your loved one, you would need to file a wrongful death claim under California’s medical malpractice statutes.
- Intentional torts. An intentional tort occurs whenever one party intentionally harms another party. If your loved one died as the victim of a violent crime, you have the right to file a wrongful death claim against the perpetrator.
- Slip and fall incidents. A slip and fall on private property can potentially result in fatal injury depending on the height and location of the fall. The property owner may face liability for wrongful death if the slip and fall occurred due to their failure to address a foreseeable safety risk.
Ultimately, if another party’s actions, intentional or negligent, resulted in the death of your loved one, you should consult a Fullerton wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible to start building your case. The sooner you begin building your wrongful death claim, the more likely you are to succeed in holding the defendant accountable for their actions and the damage they have caused to your family.
Special Wrongful Death Rules in California
Every state has different laws pertaining to wrongful death claims. In California, the state follows the intestate succession law to determine eligibility to file a wrongful death claim. Intestate succession laws determine who inherits property when a person dies, and these standards are used to determine who has the right to file a wrongful death claim.
First in line is usually the surviving spouse or partner of the deceased, followed by children, parents, and siblings. Extended relatives would be next in line, and if the deceased had no family, then anyone who can prove financial dependence on the deceased or a valid claim on the contents of the deceased’s estate would be able to file a wrongful death claim. The right to file a wrongful death claim could also fall to the personal representative of the deceased or the executor of their estate.
California state law also enforces additional statutes regarding the damages available in a wrongful death claim. While a personal injury claim seeks compensation for the plaintiff’s damages, a wrongful death claim focuses on the damages incurred by the family of the deceased, not damages suffered by the estate of the deceased.
In the event the deceased did not immediately die from their final injury, it’s likely that their estate incurred losses, such as medical expenses and lost income. A survival action can effectively enable the family to seek compensation for damages that the deceased could have pursued in a personal injury claim had they survived.
Wrongful Death Damages and Compensation
Your Fullerton wrongful death lawyer will assist you in calculating the damages you can include in your claim. In a wrongful death case, the plaintiffs can potentially recover:
- Funeral and burial expenses.
- Lost value of household services provided by the deceased.
- Compensation for pain and suffering, or the loss of affection, care, consortium, and guidance provided by the deceased.
- Lost financial support provided by the deceased. A Fullerton wrongful death lawyer can help their client calculate the future income the deceased would have reasonably expected to earn until retirement had they survived.
In the event your situation qualifies for a survival action as well, you can recover compensation for damages incurred by the deceased’s estate, such as:
- Lost income the deceased would have earned while they were being treated for their final injury or illness.
- Medical expenses for treatment of the final injury or illness.
- Pain and suffering experienced by the deceased between their injury and their death. Until recently, it wasn’t possible for a survival action claimant to secure compensation for noneconomic damages related to a wrongful death.
When you calculate all of the damages your case includes, the total case award could potentially be much more than you and your family initially expected. Your Fullerton wrongful death lawyer will assist you in building your claim and securing the compensation needed after losing a loved one to the actions of another party.
Comparative Negligence in a Wrongful Death Claim
Depending on how your loved one’s death occurred, it’s possible for comparative negligence to come into play in your wrongful death claim. Comparative negligence applies whenever the decedent named in a wrongful death claim bears some responsibility for causing their death. For example, if your loved one died in a fatal car crash, an investigation may determine that while the defendant named in your claim is more responsible for the death, your loved one did bear some level of fault in causing the accident.
California’s pure comparative negligence law states that a plaintiff partially at fault for causing their damages still has the right to recover compensation for their losses. However, they must lose a percentage of their case award equal to their percentage of fault for causing the incident in question. For example, if the decedent is found to have been 10% at fault, the case award is reduced by 10%.
What to Expect From Your Fullerton Wrongful Death Attorney
Working with an experienced Fullerton wrongful death lawyer is the best way to approach your case. A good attorney will begin building your case by learning as much as possible about the situation that led to your loved one’s death. If liability isn’t immediately clear, your attorney will assist you in gathering whatever evidence and/or witness testimony you may need to establish fault for the death.
Once you have identified the defendant in your claim, you can rely on your Fullerton wrongful death lawyer to assist you in meeting the court’s various procedural requirements for your case. You will need to file a formal complaint with the civil court, and the court will then notify the defendant appropriately, giving them the opportunity to respond. At this point, your wrongful death claim is likely to go one of two possible ways. Either the defendant will accept liability and agree to settlement negotiations, or they will deny liability and demand a trial.
The overwhelming majority of wrongful death claims and other civil cases filed in California end in settlement. A speedy settlement negotiation process can allow both sides to resolve the matter as quickly as possible, as long as they are able to negotiate mutually agreeable terms. Your attorney can advise you throughout your settlement negotiations to ensure you receive a fair offer. In the event your case goes to trial, the judge handling the case has the final say when it comes to liability for the death and the plaintiff’s damages. Your Fullerton wrongful death attorney will be an invaluable asset if you must navigate difficult litigation to resolve your claim.
Q: How Long Does a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Take in California?
A: Some wrongful death claims can be resolved within a month or two, but others will take much longer. The variables that determine the time required to resolve a wrongful death case include the willingness of the defendant to accept responsibility for the death, the extent of the damages sought by the plaintiff, and the strength of the evidence in play. Your attorney can provide a reasonable estimate of how long your case will take to resolve.
Q: Does a Wrongful Death Lead to Criminal Charges?
A: When a person intentionally causes a wrongful death or causes a wrongful death due to egregious negligence or reckless disregard for the safety of others, it is very likely for criminal charges to come into play. The defendant in your wrongful death case may also face a criminal case from the state, potentially leading to many years in prison and additional penalties depending on the scope and nature of their behavior.
Q: How Do I Find a Good Fullerton Wrongful Death Lawyer?
A: It’s vital to find an attorney who has solid experience handling wrongful death claims and many positive reviews from past clients. Take time to research your options online, and if you know anyone personally who had to file a wrongful death claim, ask them about their experience with their attorney. Experience, availability, and responsiveness are some of the key traits to examine when choosing a Fullerton wrongful death attorney.
Q: How Much Will My Fullerton Wrongful Death Attorney Cost to Hire?
A: Chris and Frank provide our Fullerton, CA clients with contingency fee pricing. This means there are no upfront fees for our legal services, and we only take a fee if we win. Your legal fee is a percentage of the total case award, meaning you can have the legal counsel you need to win your case without sacrificing the majority of your recovery to legal fees.
It’s natural to have lots of questions about your rights and options for legal recourse after losing a loved one to the actions of another party. Regardless of the underlying cause of your loved one’s death, you need legal counsel you can trust to guide you through your case as efficiently as possible. Chris and Frank can provide the compassionate and responsive legal counsel you need to approach your wrongful death claim with confidence and peace of mind. If you are ready to discuss your case with an experienced Fullerton wrongful death lawyer, contact us today and schedule your free consultation with our team.
Fullerton Practice Areas
- Fullerton Personal Injury Lawyer
- Fullerton Car Accident Lawyer
- Fullerton Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
- Fullerton Truck Accident Lawyer
- Fullerton Wrongful Death Lawyer
- Fullerton Dog Bite Lawyer
- Fullerton Slip and Fall Lawyer
- Fullerton Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
- Fullerton Bicycle Accident Lawyer
- Fullerton Rideshare Accident Lawyer
- Fullerton Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer
Actual Client Testimonials
“This is the best firm to go to. They will fight for your rights to be compensated. I have a loved one that used them. They treat you like you are one of their own family members. I highly recommend them. To be honest I wouldn’t use any other firm.” Jeff E.
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