Get Help From Top Rated Wrongful Death Lawyers in West Covina
Wrongful death lawsuits are brought against individuals who are responsible for another person’s death, either from an intentional act or negligence. Wrongful death cases allow loved ones or the estate of a deceased individual to file a claim against a party who is legally liable for their death.
If you live in California and believe that you might have a wrongful death case, West Covina personal injury lawyer, Lem Garcia, can answer all of your questions and address any concerns. When you lose someone you cared about because of someone else’s negligence or recklessness, it’s important to talk to a wrongful death attorney to go over your legal options.
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Wrongful death is when an individual dies due to another entity or person’s misconduct or negligence. While there may also be a criminal prosecution portion of the incident, a wrongful death claim is a civil action that is completely distinct and separate from any associated criminal charges. For instance, civil cases have a lower standard of proof than criminal cases do for manslaughter and murder.
Many circumstances can result in a wrongful death lawsuit, including:
- Criminal activity.
- Manufacturing defects.
- Medical malpractice.
- Motor vehicle accidents.
- Toxic torts.
- Work injuries.
In California, wrongful death claims arise when an individual dies as the direct result of another’s negligence or wrongful act. Wrongful death lawsuits are civil claims brought to a court directly by the deceased individual’s family or the personal representative of their estate. Fault in wrongful death lawsuits is expressed in monetary damages paid to the decedent’s survivors by the defendant.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, deaths by unintentional injury are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, with more than 160,000 happening each year due to unintentional injuries. Examples of wrongful death cases can include:
- Car and truck accidents: When commercial or passenger vehicles collide, people often sustain injuries. Single-vehicle accidents that occur due to faulty products, error, or negligence can also result in serious injuries.
- Bicycle and pedestrian accidents: These deaths usually happen when a vehicle hits a person either on a bicycle or on their feet walking or running. These accidents often occur around school zones, but they can happen anywhere and at any time.
- Premises liability accidents: Premises liability accidents can include an individual being struck by or against an object or a slip and fall. Property owners are legally responsible for keeping their property free of hazards.
- Medical malpractice: Medical malpractice occurs when an individual is harmed due to an error or negligence on the part of a medical professional. These incidents can result from medication errors, surgical errors, missed diagnosis, and misdiagnosis.
- Accidental overdoses and poisoning: Prescription medications and illegal narcotics have both been known to result in death in some instances.
- Boating or drowning accidents: Drowning can happen in a city pool or the backyard of a friend or family member. If a swimming pool isn’t properly secured, the owner can be found at fault if someone drowns. Boat operators who fail to provide safety devices or cause an accident can also be held legally responsible in a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Workplace illness and accidents: Most people are aware that workplace accidents can result in workers’ compensation claims. What they may not be aware of is that if death occurs as the result of a workplace illness or accident, it can also lead to a wrongful death lawsuit.
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of all types of wrongful deaths, just some of the most common. Things like criminal acts and animal or dog attacks can also be considered a wrongful death. Any time an individual dies as the result of another’s error or negligence, their family or estate may be entitled to recover damages.
In California, only certain individuals can file wrongful death lawsuits. The current statute specifically mentions that the following individuals are allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit:
- The surviving spouse of a deceased person.
- The domestic partner of a deceased person.
- The surviving children of a deceased person.
According to California’s official legislative information, when there isn’t a surviving individual in the line of descent for a deceased individual, then anyone “who would be entitled to the property of the decedent by intestate succession” could bring a wrongful death claim. This can include parents or siblings of the deceased individual who are still living at the time of their death.
If the following individuals are able to show financial dependency on a deceased individual, then they are also able to file a wrongful death claim in California:
- A putative spouse of a deceased person and that putative spouse’s children.
- Stepchildren of a deceased person.
- The parents of a deceased person.
Talk with a lawyer like Lem Garcia who’s familiar with the specific laws governing wrongful death lawsuits in California to learn more about your legal rights.
Talk to a lawyer as soon as you think you may have a claim so that you can preserve valuable evidence and legal rights while building the strongest case possible. It’s important to work with an experienced personal injury attorney when dealing with a wrongful death claim to ensure that you recover the damages you are entitled to. This recovery can include both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages include several kinds of financial losses that the family encountered due to their loved one’s death. These losses can consist of medical bills and funeral costs associated with the wrongful death.
Complex calculations are often required to determine the financial contribution the victim would have made to their family throughout an average lifespan. Courts consider the decedent’s age, their health before the incident, their earning capacity, the needs of their children, and other details.
A skilled and knowledgeable Southern California attorney will help you present the financial loss incurred through expert witnesses and verifiable data.
Non-economic damages address the loss of nurturing, companionship, affection, and love. It’s incredibly challenging to establish a monetary amount for non-economic damages as you need to demonstrate how the pain and suffering, desolation, and emotional stress has affected the family due to the wrongful death.
When a possible wrongful death claim exists, it is very important that you talk to a skilled attorney to help you recover as much as possible for your claim. Make sure to speak with an attorney as soon as possible so you can save valuable evidence, preserve your legal rights, and build the strongest case possible for your claim.
Wrongful death cases are complex, but are worth pursuing. You only have one opportunity to pursue your wrongful death claim and only one opportunity to pursuit it correctly. This is why it is important that you give Lem a call so he can fully evaluate every detail of liability, every avenue for damages, and work hard to recover as much as possible for you.
After an accident, feel free to give us a call anytime. We provide FREE consultations to car collision victims all throughout California, including in Whittier, El Monte, West Covina, Covina, and Azusa. We are committed to giving you and your case the personal attention and respect you expect from your personal injury lawyer.
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Lem Garcia | Law
1720 W. Cameron Ave., Ste. 210
West Covina, CA 91790
17777 Center Court Dr.
Cerritos, CA 90703
(By Appointment Only)