Wrongful Death

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in California?

If your loved one passed away because someone acted negligently, California law entitles you to financial recovery. Wrongful death lawsuits provide compensation to a person’s dependent family members. They also deter others from engaging in the same conduct. They are civil suits, not criminal. You’ll need to prove that the defendant acted wrongly, caused the death, and left the surviving family members with losses.  Our Los Angeles, California wrongful death lawyers understand that no amount of money can make up for the loss of your loved one. Still, the law provides a way to recover from financial and emotional losses that occur with the loss of a family member. If you prevail in a wrongful death suit, the defendant must pay financial damages to the family members. Jail time is not a possible outcome. When you’re ready to find financial recovery after an accident, consider the Saeedian Law Group. We offer personalized representation and one-on-one attention to our clients. Our attorneys will bring their litigation experience to your suit and commit to maximizing the compensation that you deserve. Send us a message or call (310) 288-3000 today for a free consultation. Who Can Be a Plaintiff in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit? The family members who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in California are known as the “plaintiffs.” A lawsuit is a method for the surviving family to collect compensation for the financial losses associated with the person’s death. Therefore, the surviving spouse (or registered domestic partner), children, and grandchildren may file a suit. The law also allows a suit by a minor child who lived with the deceased and was dependent on them for half or more of their support for at least 180 days before the accident. Other people who were dependent on the deceased person’s income, such as a parent or stepchild, may also file. In addition, if the law entitled the deceased person to file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent person before they died, the personal representative handling the person’s estate may be able to take up those claims on that person’s behalf. These are known as survival actions. In survival actions, the law limits compensation to the damage that the person sustained before death, including penalties or punitive damages. You cannot recover damages for pain, suffering, or disfigurement in survival cases in California. Depending on the circumstances, a family member may bring both wrongful death and survival claims in the same suit.  Can a Sibling Sue for Wrongful Death in California? The law does not always allow a sibling to file a wrongful death lawsuit in California. If the person died without surviving children or grandchildren, the law identifies family members who can sue following the state’s “intestacy” laws, which set the order for inheritance if a person died without a will. Under California’s law for intestate succession, when there are no surviving children, the law designates the parents as next in line, then the siblings. The law allows the siblings of the deceased person to file a wrongful death lawsuit only when the person has no surviving children and the parents have already passed.  In addition, a sibling can be the personal representative who handles the deceased’s estate. In that case, a sibling may be able to file a survival action on the person’s behalf, but any damages recovered would go to the person’s estate. It would then be distributed based on the directions in the person’s will or according to state law if they have no will. What Are Wrongful Death Damages in California? Surviving family members can receive economic and non-economic damages for wrongful death in California. You’ll need to provide evidence that the defendant caused you damage, such as financial loss, by causing the death of your loved one. After you present your case, the jury will decide the damages the law entitles you to.  Economic Damages Economic damages are things you can assign a dollar value to, including:  The financial support that the person would have contributed to the family; The loss of gifts or benefits that the plaintiff would have expected to receive from the deceased person; Funeral and burial expenses; and The reasonable value of household services that the deceased person would have provided. The jury will estimate the person’s life expectancy to determine the amount of financial support the person would have provided to the plaintiff over their lifetime. The courts recommend that the jury estimate life expectancy using the life tables in Vital Statistics of the United States, published by the National Center for Health Statistics. These reports contain summary tables on mortality, including crude, age-specific, and age-adjusted death rates. The jury may also consider the average life expectancy of a person of that age, as well as that person’s health, habits, activities, lifestyle, and occupation. Non-Economic Damages Unlike economic damages, non-economic damages do not have a fixed standard. Instead, the jury will decide a reasonable benefit based on the evidence and their common sense. Typically, a jury award non-economic damages to cover the loss of: The person’s love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, moral support;  The enjoyment of sexual relations (if the plaintiff is the spouse); and  The person’s training and guidance (if a child or grandchild). The jury is not allowed to consider the plaintiff’s grief, sorrow, or mental anguish; the deceased person’s pain and suffering; or the poverty or wealth of the plaintiff. Rather, the jury may consider factors such as the closeness of a family unit and the depth of their love and affection. The law also allows them to consider the character of the person as kind, attentive, and loving. California Wrongful Death Damages Cap California does not have a universal cap on damages in wrongful death lawsuits. The law requires the jury to decide a “just” recovery under the circumstances. California does limit non-economic damages to $250,000 in medical malpractice suits. Because juries have leeway to determine damages in most cases, your best chance for a […]

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Wrongful Death

Average Wrongful Death Lawsuit Settlements in California

Losing a loved one is inconceivable. When due to the negligence of another, the loss can be even more devastating. Although no amount of money can ever bring back your family, it may assist in easing your financial burden. As you consider filing a wrongful death lawsuit, you may be wondering about the wrongful death lawsuit settlements average in California. Any experienced personal injury attorney will tell you there’s no average amount, as each case presents its own unique set of facts. Learn what your case may be worth by speaking to a qualified personal injury attorney.    What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in California?  When a person dies due to the negligence or wrongful act by another, this gives rise to a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death lawsuit in California is a type of personal injury claim brought by a deceased victim’s family. Wrongful death lawsuits seek to compensate surviving family members for their losses.  Wrongful death claims are not brought in criminal court, but civil court. This type of lawsuit seeks to hold a defendant civilly liable for a loved one’s death. If the victim’s family can prove that the defendant’s negligent or wrongful actions caused their loved one’s death, the court orders the defendant to pay the victim’s family a certain amount of damages.   Wrongful death lawsuits may be based on any type of wrongful act, including negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct. Wrongful death claims may result from any of the following and many more incidents: Slip and fall accidents,  Car accidents, Abuse or neglect, Defective products, Drowning,  A fatal workplace accident, or Medical malpractice.  A wrongful death action is different from a survival action, which seeks compensation for the losses suffered by the victim prior to their death, such as medical expenses and lost wages.  Who May File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in California?  Under California law, the following parties may file a wrongful death lawsuit in California:  Surviving spouse or domestic partner, Surviving children,  Anyone entitled to inherit from the victim under California laws of intestate succession, Putative spouse, Children of a putative spouse, Stepchildren, and Parents of the victim. This is the order in which surviving family members may bring a wrongful death action in California. A putative spouse and those below them on the list must show that they were financially dependent on the victim to file a wrongful death claim. A putative spouse is a person who was unaware that their spouse was already married and believed they were in a valid marriage.  Factors Affecting Wrongful Death Settlements in California  A personal injury attorney will never provide you with a wrongful death lawsuits settlements average. In California, multiple factors affect the value of a case. However, after a review of the facts and circumstances regarding your case, a personal injury attorney may be able to provide you with a range of values. California does not provide a damages cap, which would otherwise limit how much you could recover in a wrongful death lawsuit. Factors that influence wrongful death settlements in California include the following: If the victim was young at the time of death,  If the victim had numerous children or financial dependents,  The age of the victim’s children or financial dependents,  Whether the surviving spouse was financially dependent on the victim, The value of gifts that the victim’s loved ones expected during the victim’s life,  Circumstances of the victim’s death, and Whether the victim was involved in the community. These factors may also negatively affect the value of wrongful death settlements in California. For example, consider a circumstance where someone files a wrongful death lawsuit for an elderly man with no surviving spouse and no children. This man was also determined to be partly at fault for the accident resulting in his death. It is likely that a scenario involving a young victim with a surviving spouse and multiple young children would likely recover a much higher amount in a wrongful death lawsuit.   What Damages Can I Recover?  In a wrongful death lawsuit, surviving family members may pursue both economic and non-economic damages. An attorney reviews the circumstances surrounding the case in negotiating settlements with the defendant. Even though an average wrongful death lawsuit may not exist in California, surviving family members may reach an agreement without going to trial.  Economic Damages Economic damages seek to compensate the victim’s family for the financial support they expected to receive had the victim not died. Factors affecting economic damage awards include: The decedent’s age, The decedent’s income and earning potential, The decedent’s life expectancy, and The decedent’s health prior to the injury. The court typically considers the circumstances of the decedent at the time of their passing. Economic damages in a wrongful death lawsuit may include the following type of damages:  Funeral and burial expenses,  The loss of financial support to family members, Loss of gifts expected from the decedent,  Value of lost benefits, such as pension and retirement, and The reasonable value of household services the decedent would have provided. Economic damages represent tangible and quantifiable losses. They may be calculated from statements, records, medical bills, past expenses, expected future expenses, and projections of future lost earnings. Non-Economic Damages  Non-economic damages represent intangible and subjective losses that are difficult to quantify. Non-economic damages in a wrongful death lawsuit include: Loss of companionship and support,  Loss of affection, Loss of sexual relations, Loss of moral support, and Loss of training and guidance. There is no standard to determine what non-economic damages are worth. Therefore, they may amount to a large part of a wrongful death award.  Contact Us If you lost a loved one due to another’s actions, the knowledgeable attorneys at the Saeedian Law Group can help. Since 2009, the Saeedian Law Group has helped injured individuals and their families seek compensation from responsible parties. Serving clients throughout the Los Angeles area, we understand that each client deserves a tailored approach to their case. We are here to help you pick […]

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Wrongful Death

California Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations Overview

The California wrongful death statute of limitations places significant constraints on how long family members have to take legal action after the death of a loved one. In most cases, you have only two years from the victim’s death to file a civil lawsuit. As it concerns wrongful death, the California statute of limitations is complex and potentially confusing. If you lost a loved one in an injury accident caused by someone else, trying to interpret these laws and determine how they apply to you is the last thing you need to deal with. Let the experienced California wrongful death lawyers of the Saeedian Law Group help you through this challenging time. We understand the fear and uncertainty you’re experiencing. Our compassionate legal team can provide the support you need right now. We fight to get justice and fair financial compensation for the families of wrongful death victims in Los Angeles and throughout southern California. We offer a free consultation and case analysis, so you can determine the best course of action for you and your family. Contact us now to learn more. What Is the Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death in California? Under the California statute of limitation for wrongful death, you have only two years from the date of the victim’s death to file a lawsuit in civil court. If you do not take action within this timeframe, you could lose your legal right to recover compensation for the loss of your loved one. In California, the two-year limitations period does not apply to every wrongful death case, however. In some cases, this timeframe can be shorter. What Are the Exceptions to the California Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations? The two-year statutory time constraint does not apply in every wrongful death case. If your loved one’s death was caused by a governmental entity, you must provide official notification of your intent to sue within six months of the injury. The governmental entity then has 45 days to respond to your notification. If they deny your claim or fail to respond, you can then file your legal claim. These exceptions can be highly confusing for the victim’s family members. Talking to an experienced wrongful death attorney is the best way to determine how these laws might apply to your case. Can You Extend the CA Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations? In some instances, you may have the ability to “toll” (pause the clock) on the California wrongful death statute of limitations. If a minor seeks to bring a wrongful death action after losing a parent, they must do so within two years of their 18th birthday. This means that if the minor was ten years old at the time of the parent’s death, he or she has ten years to file a lawsuit. If family members had no reasonable means to have known about the victim’s death, they may toll the statute of limitations to the date that the victim’s death was (or should have been) discovered. Other exceptions to the statute of limitations may exist. It is critical to determine whether they apply to your case and how they might affect your timeline for filing a lawsuit. Talking to an experienced wrongful death attorney will help protect your legal rights to compensation for your damages. In most cases, victims’ families are best served by starting the legal claims process as quickly as possible. This ensures that your attorney and legal team can investigate the circumstances of the victim’s death while evidence remains fresh and untainted.  Seeking Help from a Personal Injury Attorney in Los Angeles As frightening and overwhelming as your situation is right now, you don’t have to fight this battle alone. At the Saeedian Law Group, our experienced trial lawyers and compassionate legal team are here to help you through your time of need. You could be entitled to recover compensation for the victim’s medical bills as well as funeral and burial costs. You could also be eligible to pursue a legal claim for lost financial and household support, lost inheritance, lost care and companionship, and emotional trauma. When you trust us to handle your wrongful death claim, we immediately begin investigating the circumstances of your loved one’s injuries and death. We build the strongest possible case and submit a demand to the at-fault party’s insurance company. We negotiate with the insurance company to get you the best possible settlement for your damages. If the insurance company does not make an acceptable settlement offer, we will be prepared to file a lawsuit and fight for you in court. We offer a free consultation and case evaluation. We can come to your location, meet you in one of our five southern California office locations, or facilitate a consultation via phone or video conference. Call 310-288-3000 now or contact us online for help with a wrongful death claim or to get answers to your questions about the wrongful death statute of limitations in California.

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