What is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death is when a person dies by the wrongful act or negligence of another individual, company, or entity. This can include car accidents caused by a drunk driver, medical malpractice, defective products, or even intentional acts of violence. Wrongful death cases are emotionally and legally complex, leaving families grappling with both grief and legal obligations. Understanding the statute of limitations is the first step in seeking justice.
In California, the law allows certain family members to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased. Typically, the surviving spouse, domestic partner, or children have the right to bring a claim. If none of these individuals exist, other individuals who would be entitled to the deceased person’s property through intestate succession may have the right to file a claim.
What is the Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death in California?
The statute of limitations refers to the time limit within which a claim must be filed. In California, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the deceased person’s death. However, there are certain exceptions and variations that may apply depending on the circumstances of the case.
A medical malpractice case, for instance, could extend the statute of limitations to three years. Consult an experienced wrongful death attorney to determine the specific statute of limitations that applies to your case.
What Are Some Relevant Laws?
In California, laws regarding wrongful death claims are primarily governed by the California Code of Civil Procedure, specifically sections 377.60 to 377.62. These laws outline who has the right to bring such a claim, the types of damages that can be sought, and the procedures involved in filing a lawsuit.
Additionally, California follows the principle of comparative negligence when it comes to wrongful death cases. This means that even if the deceased person was partially at fault for the accident that led their death, the surviving family members may still be able to recover damages. However, the amount of compensation awarded may be reduced by a percentage based on the fault assigned to the deceased.
What is the Legal Process for a Wrongful Death Claim?
Compiling Evidence–The initial phase in pursuing a wrongful death case in California involves meticulous evidence gathering. This encompasses medical documentation, eye-witness testimonials, and possibly expert opinions.
Legal Proceedings–Once the evidence is amassed, the next phase is the formal initiation of a wrongful death claim within California’s jurisdiction. This sets the wheels of justice into motion.
Counsel and Representation–The nuanced nature of California law mandates that you seek competent legal counsel familiar with the state’s wrongful death statutes.
How is an Award or Settlement Calculated?
While no monetary value can ever replace the emotional void, California law allows for the recovery of both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages could cover funeral costs and lost earnings, while non-economic damages account for loss of love, companionship, and emotional support.
California does not place a cap on the damages for wrongful death cases. This means that the potential for a significant settlement exists, especially when the negligence or intentional act was particularly egregious.
How Can an Experienced Lawyer Help?
Navigating the legal process surrounding wrongful death claims can be complex and emotionally challenging. Hiring an experienced wrongful death lawyer can greatly alleviate the burden and ensure that your rights are protected.
An experienced lawyer will have a deep understanding of the relevant laws and case precedents in California. They will guide you through the entire legal process, from gathering evidence and building a strong case to negotiating with insurance companies and representing you in court if necessary.
Furthermore, a skilled lawyer will work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation possible for your loss. They will assess the damages suffered by the surviving family members, including medical expenses, funeral costs, lost income, loss of companionship, and emotional distress, and fight for a fair settlement on your behalf.
If you are interested in seeking justice and compensation for your loss, call the Hejazi Law Group today at (949) 749-7402 for a case evaluation.