Santa Ana Wrongful Death Attorney
Losing a close loved one unexpectedly is never an easy thing to handle. When a sudden death in the family occurs due to negligence or intentional misconduct, this factor can add frustration to an already challenging mix of emotions. When one party causes injuries or economic losses to another party in California, this is a personal injury. The victim has the right to pursue a civil claim against the party responsible for their losses. However, if the victim of a personal injury dies from the incident, their family must pursue a wrongful death claim against the party responsible for causing the death.
Representing Santa Ana, CA, Clients in Wrongful Death Claims
While fault for your loved one’s recent death may seem readily apparent at first, the reality is that many people face very challenging legal issues as they navigate wrongful death claims. Liability isn’t always immediately clear, and the full scope of effects a wrongful death has on the surviving family may not be immediately apparent. If you believe you have grounds for a wrongful death action in Santa Ana, CA, you must secure legal counsel you can trust to navigate your case successfully.
Chris and Frank Accident Attorneys is a team of Santa Ana personal injury lawyers with years of experience guiding clients through challenging cases. We understand the distress and uncertainty a wrongful death can cause for any family. We have the resources and expertise necessary to handle the unique details of your wrongful death case.
The Benefits of Working With a Santa Ana Wrongful Death Lawyer
Reliable legal counsel can make a significant difference in a wrongful death claim outcome. While fault for your loved one’s sudden death may seem clear to you, proving liability could be far more challenging than you expect. An experienced Santa Ana wrongful death attorney will know how to obtain the evidence you need to establish fault for your loved one’s death beyond any argument. In addition, your legal team can uncover evidence you may not have considered seeking, and their input can potentially mean the difference between success or failure with your civil case.
Filing any civil claim for damages in Santa Ana, CA, also requires meeting strict procedural rules with the court, and any mistakes in the early stages of a case can jeopardize the claimant’s case. Your Santa Ana wrongful death attorney can ensure your claim meets all procedural deadlines and streamline the early phases of your proceedings. This allows you and your family to mourn in peace with some reassurance knowing your case is in capable hands.
When it comes to securing compensation for your loss, money cannot replace your lost loved one, but a suitable recovery can help your family adjust to your new reality more quickly. Depending on how your loved one’s death occurred, you could have grounds for a wrongful death claim and a survival action. In tandem, these two claims can potentially secure substantial compensation for you and your family. An experienced Santa Ana wrongful death attorney will be able to identify every possible channel of compensation available to you in your case.
Working with reliable legal counsel increases your chances of success with a wrongful death claim and likely will yield far more compensation than you could have obtained on your own. Do not make an already difficult situation worse by trying to manage your legal affairs unassisted. Instead, have an experienced Santa Ana wrongful death lawyer represent your claim on your behalf.
California Wrongful Death Statutes
While wrongful death cases are very similar to personal injury claims, all plaintiffs should understand that unique statutes apply to wrongful death cases. First is the statute of limitations, or the time limit you have in which to file your wrongful death claim. California enforces a two-year statute of limitations on wrongful death claims, beginning on the date a death occurs. However, if the cause of the death cannot be immediately determined or the party responsible for the wrongful death conceals their actions in any way, it can be complicated. The statute of limitations may toll or pause until the surviving family discovers their loved one’s death was wrongful and the result of negligence or intentional misconduct.
In addition to the time limit for filing a wrongful death case, California also limits eligibility to file a wrongful death claim based on the state’s law of intestate succession. The first party with the right to file a wrongful death claim would be the surviving spouse of the deceased, followed by their children or parents. Next would be siblings and other blood relatives, followed by anyone who can prove a legal claim to the contents of the deceased’s estate or financial dependence on the deceased.
State law also limits the damages a plaintiff can seek in a wrongful death claim. While a personal injury suit seeks compensation for the victim’s losses, a wrongful death claim seeks compensation for the damages sustained by the deceased’s loved ones. This type of civil claim does not seek compensation for losses incurred by the estate of the deceased. However, if such losses exist, the family must include them in a survival action attached to the wrongful death suit. This action seeks compensation for the damages the victim could have sought in a personal injury suit if they had survived.
Common Causes of Wrongful Deaths in California
To succeed with a wrongful death claim, the plaintiff must identify the party responsible for causing the death of their loved one and prove they acted negligently or with an intentional desire to harm the victim. Some of the most commonly cited causes of wrongful deaths that lead to civil claims in Santa Ana, CA, include:
- Motor vehicle accidents, which is one of the leading causes of accidental deaths and serious injuries throughout the United States each year. Your Santa Ana wrongful death attorney can help you navigate the insurance claim process after a fatal accident and then help you build a wrongful death claim against the driver who caused the accident.
- Medical malpractice. While thousands of people rely on medical professionals to provide safe and effective treatment every day, medical negligence is a top-cited cause of unexpected deaths throughout the country. If a negligent medical professional caused your loved one’s death, you must file your wrongful death claim under California’s medical malpractice statutes.
- Slip and fall incidents. A slip and fall could easily result in a fatal injury. However, if such an injury occurs because a property owner failed to take proper care of their property or address a known safety hazard that could injure lawful visitors to the property, they face liability for the wrongful death under California’s premises liability laws.
- Interpersonal violence. If someone caused your loved one’s death through an intentional act of violence, they likely face criminal prosecution and severe penalties as well as liability for your family’s civil damages.
Most wrongful death claims revolve around incidents of negligence, and these cases unfold similarly to most other civil lawsuits filed in California. However, when a wrongful death occurs because of intentional misconduct or criminal behavior, the responsible party faces severe criminal penalties and civil liability.
Compensation for Wrongful Death Claim in California
State law allows the plaintiff of a wrongful death claim to seek compensation for losses suffered by the surviving family of the deceased. Damages typically listed in Santa Ana wrongful death suits include:
- Funeral costs and burial expenses for the deceased.
- The family’s lost financial support provided by the deceased. Your Santa Ana wrongful death lawyer can calculate the income your loved one would have reasonably expected to earn in the future had they survived.
- Lost value of household services provided by the deceased.
- Pain and suffering compensation for the loss of affection, care, consortium, and moral support the deceased provided.
It can be difficult for anyone to calculate these losses without legal counsel, and your wrongful death claim may allow for the filing of a survival action as well. If you can attach a survival action to your wrongful death claim, the damages available can include:
- The deceased’s final medical expenses. If your loved one did not immediately die from the defendant’s actions and spent time in the hospital, you can claim compensation for these final medical expenses that would otherwise be paid out of the deceased’s estate.
- Lost income between the final injury and the death of the victim. If your loved one could not work due to their final injury, you have the right to seek compensation for the income lost between their final injury and their death.
- Property damage. If the defendant damaged the victim’s vehicle or any other personal property that would otherwise need to be addressed through the deceased’s estate, these losses could be included in the survival action.
- The pain and suffering of the deceased. A recently passed law in California allows plaintiffs in survival actions to seek compensation for non-economic damages like pain and suffering, which were previously unavailable in survival actions filed in the state.
Working with an experienced Santa Ana wrongful death lawyer is the best way to ensure a defendant is held accountable for their actions and for your family to maximize the compensation you obtain through the civil claim process. The lawyers at Chris and Frank Accident Attorneys have the experience, professional resources, and skills required to handle the most challenging wrongful death claims in Santa Ana, CA.
What to Expect From Your Santa Ana Wrongful Death Attorney
You can rely on Chris and Frank Accident Attorneys to help you build the foundation of your claim. We’ll help you identify the defendant or defendants responsible for your loved one’s wrongful death and assist you in calculating the full scope of damages you and your family can seek from the defendant. In addition, if you have grounds for both a wrongful death claim and a survival action, we can assist you in building both civil actions and streamline your case proceedings as much as possible.
As far as compensation for wrongful death is concerned, our goal in every case we accept is to maximize our client’s recovery as much as California state law permits. Therefore, we will carefully review the details of the death in question, gather whatever supporting evidence needed to prove the full scope of your damages, and guide you through your court proceedings with confidence.
FAQs About Santa Ana, CA Wrongful Death Law
How Much Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Worth in Orange County, California?
The value of your wrongful death claim hinges on many factors, such as how the death occurred and whether you have grounds for a survival action with your wrongful death claim. An experienced Santa Ana wrongful death lawyer is the best resource for determining the value of your case.
How Long Will My Wrongful Death Case Take to Resolve?
Many wrongful death claims filed in California end in settlement, and the settlement negotiation process can potentially last weeks or a month or two. If a case goes to litigation, it will take much longer to resolve. Your attorney can estimate the timetable your case will likely follow.
Is It Worth Hiring a Santa Ana Wrongful Death Lawyer?
Hiring experienced legal counsel to advise you in a wrongful death claim significantly increases your chances of obtaining compensation for your losses. It will be much easier for you to address the procedural requirements of your case with the help of an attorney, and reliable legal counsel also improves your chances of maximizing your total recovery.
How Much Does a Santa Ana Wrongful Death Lawyer Cost to Hire?
Most attorneys who represent clients in wrongful death cases offer contingency fee billing. A contingency fee agreement means the client only owes a legal fee once the attorney wins their case, and the fee is a percentage of the final case award. The client pays nothing upfront and is not liable for legal fees if the attorney fails to secure a recovery on their behalf.
Chris and Frank Accident Attorneys can provide the guidance and support your family needs in a very difficult time. To discuss your legal options with an experienced Santa Ana wrongful death lawyer, contact us today to schedule a free consultation with our firm.
Santa Ana Practice Areas
- Santa Ana Personal Injury Lawyer
- Santa Ana Car Accident Lawyer
- Santa Ana Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
- Santa Ana Truck Accident Lawyer
- Santa Ana Wrongful Death Lawyer
- Santa Ana Dog Bite Lawyer
- Santa Ana Slip and Fall Lawyer
- Santa Ana Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
- Santa Ana Bicycle Accident Lawyer
- Santa Ana Rideshare Accident Lawyer
- Santa Ana 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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