How to Increase Your Chances of Winning a Wrongful Death Suit in California
If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s actions, you may be able to claim compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. While no amount of money can replace the life lost, compensation can help you deal with financial concerns related to the death and give you a sense of justice so that you can heal.
Here’s what you need to know to pursue a successful wrongful death claim. Don’t hesitate to speak with an experienced wrongful death attorney for legal help.
Determining Eligibility to File for Wrongful Death
Who can bring a wrongful death lawsuit? In California, these are the parties who are eligible to make a wrongful death claim for their deceased loved one:
- The decedent’s surviving spouse or domestic partner;
- The decedent’s surviving children;
- If decedent has no living partner or children, certain designated family members such as a parent or a sibling may bring the lawsuit;
- Other parties who were financially dependent on the decedent may also file a claim, such as a step-child or a putative spouse.
If you are unsure whether you can file a wrongful death suit, talk to a trusted attorney.
Establishing Negligence or Intentional Harm
Wrongful death can be due to either negligence or intentional violence. Together with your attorney, you’ll need to prove either of these by establishing its elements.
The elements of negligence are as follows:
- The defendant had a duty of care towards the victim. For example, a driver has a duty of care to operate their vehicle safely around other motorists. Or, a doctor has a duty of care to uphold medical standards while treating a patient.
- The defendant breached that duty of care.
- The breach caused the accident and death.
- The victim’s death resulted in losses for you and other claimants.
If you wish to prove that your loved one’s death was due to intentional harm, here are the elements to establish:
- The defendant had the intent to commit the act.
- The defendant made non-consensual contact with the victim. An example would be using a weapon or hitting the victim with a car.
- The contact caused fatal harm.
Establishing each of these elements requires thorough investigation, collecting evidence, and skillful case-building. A competent wrongful death attorney is indispensable in these aspects.
Maximizing Your Damages
California recognizes economic and non-economic damages in a wrongful death case. This means you may claim not just for your financial losses like medical bills, but also for less tangible losses like loss of companionship. These are some common damages in a California wrongful death claim:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical bills related to the decedent’s injury
- Loss of financial support
- Loss of household services (for example, if your loved one regularly did household cleaning and laundry, you may claim for the value of those services)
- Loss of community, consortium, or companionship
- Loss of training and guidance
- Decedent’s pain and suffering.
California does not have a standard formula for calculating the value of non-economic damages. This will be up to the jury’s discretion. Hence, this is one area where you’ll need to present a compelling case to assert the value you need and deserve. Having a skilled attorney will be an advantage in this regard.
We at the Hamparyan Personal Injury Lawyers combine our legal skills with valuable resources to bolster each client’s claim. We tap into our network of accident experts, financial analysts, and life planners to find strong evidence of our client’s losses.
We don’t just look at the decedent’s last income. We examine many factors such as the decedent’s life expectancy, potential career advancement, education and skills, and even inflation. We look at the various ways that the death has affected the claimant and their family.
Using our 20+ years of legal experience, we skillfully advocate for each client, in or out of the court. We can competently handle settlement negotiations, but if the case needs to go to trial, we will relentlessly pursue it to obtain the best outcome possible for our client.
Consult With a Wrongful Death Attorney in San Diego County
Led by top-rated trial attorney Robert Hamparyan, the Hamparyan Personal Injury Lawyers are among the most trusted wrongful death attorneys in Southern California. Talk to us if you need legal help with your loved one’s wrongful death.
Your consultation with us is free, and you won’t have to pay us lawyer fees until we obtain compensation for you. Call us today at (619) 550-1355.
Robert Hamparyan is one of California’s most accomplished personal injury lawyers. Hamparyan Personal Injury Lawyers San Diego was founded so that Robert could bring more of his skill and knowledge to personal injury victims in all types of cases. Robert and his team have dealt with semi truck accidents, wrongful death cases, brain & spine injuries, and many other types of personal injury cases with soaring success.
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