Did You Lose A Loved One To Wrongful Death in Riverside?
If you have lost a loved one in Riverside and you are unsure of what to do next, look no further. Speaking with our Riverside wrongful death lawyer can help guide you in the right direction and inform you of your legal rights and possibilities for compensation.
Our award-winning injury attorneys and professional staff are available to help you in your time of need and are here to discuss your case at your convenience. We are available to help you 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
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The family of a Riverside woman was devastated when they received the news that their loved one had been fatally struck in a car accident. Worse yet, she wasn’t even in a car when she was killed. A wrongful death lawsuit filed in Riverside alleges that she was struck and killed by a 35-year-old food delivery driver while she was out in her yard attending to yard work. The local news in that area reported the following about the incident:
The victims children contend the delivery driver looked away from the roadway to look at his cellphone to read the details of a DoorDash order. His car drifted into the left lane and swerved back to the right before veering off the right side of the road, striking the woman in her yard.
The young man is alleged to have looked away from the road and down to his phone to read the details of his latest food pickup order when his vehicle left the road and struck a pedestrian. Her death was sudden and horrifying. As tragic as this story is, similar stories pop up throughout the United States every day. They don’t always involve delivery drivers, or even a vehicle at all, but they illustrate the fact that negligence leading to someone’s death is an all too common occurrence that we must be alert to. This is why it is so essential to understand the value of obtaining legal advice immediately upon learning of the death of a loved one under troubling circumstances.
Surviving Family Members of Riverside Wrongful Death Victims
You may not realize it, but you have rights as a surviving family member should any terrible accident befall a loved one, resulting in their death. You must fall under one of the following categories to be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit:
- Surviving Spouse – If the dearly departed is married, then the most obvious person to file a wrongful death lawsuit is the surviving spouse. The surviving spouse is the first person that the courts look to as having the standing to sue. However, special circumstances may prevent this individual from filing a lawsuit themselves. If they are deemed to be mentally incompetent to do so, or if they were in the midst of a divorce or legal separation when the death occurred, then the court may appoint another family member as the designated individual with standing to sue.
- Child Of The Decedent – The children are the next in line to have standing to sue if the departed was not married or if their spouse is deemed ineligible by the court to file the lawsuit.
- Parents Of The Decedent – Next up are the parents of the deceased. They would come into play if the departed was not married and did not have children or if other circumstances disqualify those individuals from serving the role of being the one to bring the lawsuit.
- Executor – If the deceased had a will, the executor of that will may be determined to have standing to sue.
- Others As Deemed By The Court – The court has broad discretion to name someone else as eligible to bring a wrongful death lawsuit if it so chooses. This is not common, but it can happen in certain cases.
As you can see, there are a number of people who might have legal standing to bring a case before the courts following the death of a loved one. Even if someone feels that they are not eligible to do so, it might be worth speaking to an injury attorney to determine if this is actually true. There are some special circumstances under which even distant connections can potentially bring a case.
Types Of Wrongful Death Cases in Riverside
Wrongful death cases do not have to be as dramatic as the one detailed at the top of this piece. There are horrific cases like that which do occur, but there are also everyday car accidents that may qualify as falling under the umbrella of wrongful death as well. Sometimes, a wrongful death case is brought because a product is defective or a safety procedure was not followed at work. It is an unfortunate reality of the world that we live in that freak accidents can happen at any time, and they sometimes lead to someone’s death. Thus, the courts need to hear about these events so they might step in to try to right some wrongs, at least from a monetary point of view.
File a Riverside Wrongful Death Claim
Courts are apt to hear a variety of claims related to a wrongful death lawsuit when those claims are brought to the attention of the court in a reasonable and professional manner. Great lawyers know how to follow all of the court-designated procedures required to bring such claims into the case.
Hardship Of A Wrongful Death Case
Medical bills are not the only financial concern under consideration when a wrongful death lawsuit is on the table. It is true that medical bills related to the injury leading to death of a loved one are often enormous, and they are typically included as part of the compensation sought in a wrongful death lawsuit, but they are far from the only consideration. Hardship due to wrongful death is often brought up as well. Nolo.com explains why hardship is considered as part of the process:
When a loved one dies, it takes an enormous emotional toll on family members. It can also cause extreme financial hardship. Laws in each state provide the means to ease that financial burden when a person or entity is legally responsible for causing the deceased person’s death. It’s important to understand the different categories of compensation (called “damages” in legalese) that are available if your wrongful death lawsuit is successful.
The court understands that it is dealing with real human lives when it is adjudicating these cases, and real human lives extend beyond some numbers on a medical invoice. A jury will ultimately determine the amount of money to be awarded due to the emotional trauma inflicted on the surviving family, but it is important to know that this can be part of the compensation received.
Lost Wages Claim
The family member that died left not just an emotional hole in the family’s life, but also a financial one. If that family member was of working age and was holding down a job when they died, then there are lost wages to be considered as well. How much might that individual have earned over their lifetime had they not been taken away so soon? That is another factor for the jury to weigh as they come back with a judgment in the case.
Punitive Damages Case
In some cases, a jury may determine that it is necessary to apply punitive damages to a case to send a message that a business or institution needs to change its behaviors immediately to avoid causing more pain and turmoil for another family. This type of damage is most commonly applied in cases where the defendant is a large corporation or other institution capable of paying the financial burden of the damage that they have done. Punitive damages are not exclusive to wrongful death cases as a recent ruling by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Wal-Mart for $125 million dollars shows us, but these damages are frequently at least a potential out of a wrongful death case. These damages are about sending a message and about trying to protect others down the line from suffering the same fate as your own family has.
This is not an exhaustive list of potential times of claims that the court may consider, but it gives you an idea of the broadness of the scope of potential claims that a jury may decide to look at.
Talk To A Riverside Wrongful Death Attorney About Your Injury Claim
The emotional baggage that comes with losing a loved one, particularly in a sudden or unnecessary way, is very painful. Do not allow yourself to compound this pain by waiting to obtain legal representation and beginning the process of filing a wrongful death lawsuit. The current statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit in California is two years. That might seem like plenty of time, but remember the fact that your lawyer will require a certain amount of time to just get the paperwork in order to file the lawsuit itself.
Your Riverside wrongful death lawyer will require time to investigate the case, obtain documents, verify information, interview witnesses, and do many other tasks required to begin to build a case. It is essential that you speak with an attorney as soon as humanly possible following the wrongful death of your loved one. It is understandable that you might be in a very emotional state following the death, but that is exactly why you want to turn everything over to the attorney right away. He or she is emotionally separated from the incident and can deal with things in a level-headed manner.
While all of this is happening, make sure you DO NOT speak with anyone related to the case about the events surrounding it. In other words, if you lost a loved one due to a workplace incident, do not speak with their employer at all. Most likely, that employer is seeking only to gather information or statements from you that they can later use to defend themselves in court. You should either ignore their calls entirely or only refer them to your lawyer and refuse to speak to them. You must protect your rights at a time like this, and your Riverside wrongful death lawyer is the best person to help you do that.
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