A wrongful death case is the loss of a loved one due to acts of negligence of another party. Such negligence includes work-related accidents, medical malpractice, defective products, and pedestrian accidents. If you are directly affected financially by the death of your loved one, you can file for compensations and settlements through the assistance of California wrongful death attorneys.
Wrongful death cases are very complicated. You will need the assistance of an experienced attorney. In California, these cases fall under personal injury claims. If you believe you have a solid legal case, you can find a trusted personal injury claims lawyer with a strong background in wrongful death lawsuits to help lessen the burden of your loss.
Who Can File For Wrongful Death Claims?
Wrongful death settlements are different from the insurances and personal injury claims that the deceased person is entitled to receive. These are separate claims made by loved ones asking the at-fault party to pay for damages resulting from the victim’s death. You can file for wrongful death claims if you are:
A direct family member – Immediate family members are the most qualified to file for claims. These include the legal spouse, biological children, and legally adopted children. Elder parents can also be qualified as a direct dependent if the victim is not married.
A financial dependent – Some states, including California, allow financial dependents, including domestic partners, stepchildren, and other minors in the household. However, there needs to be proof of dependency before this is accepted.
The parents of a deceased fetus – This usually happens in cases of medical malpractice. Parents can often sue for emotional distress and financial losses. This inclusion is only possible in some states.
If you think you are qualified and have decided to file for a wrongful death claim, you need to provide a well-structured story backed by evidence and official records. To do this systematically, you will need the help of an experienced attorney who can guide you through the entire process.
How To Prove The Claim
Some of the reasons you might want to file for claims include the burden of burial and funeral expenses, loss of consortium, and loss of financial support from the deceased person. But there is a lot of paperwork involved before you can prove to the court that you are eligible for claims. Here is an overview of what you and your lawyer will have to do before filing for claims:
Proof of negligence – The most critical part of the claim is proving that the other party was at fault due to negligence or intentional harm. You will need to prepare your rebuttals if the other party tries their best to prove that the victim is also at fault and the situation was purely an accident.
Breach of duty – You must be able to prove that the other party has a duty of safety and responsibility for the victim that they failed to implement.
Causation – Aside from the act of negligence, you and your lawyers should also be able to prove that their actions or inactions have a direct cause in the death of your loved one.
Emotional and financial damages – You can prove economic damages through accumulated medical, funeral, and out-of-pocket expenses. Claims for emotional distress should come with a summary of the onset and duration of the stress, related physical symptoms, and most importantly, proof through medical validation.
Wrongful Death Case Settlement Cost
The cost of a wrongful death settlement is on a case-to-case basis. Computations can be very challenging because there is no formula given in the California state jury instructions. The jury computes everything based on negotiations and what insurance companies are willing to pay. Claims can range anywhere from a few thousand dollars to over a million. Factors that will come into play are:
Funeral and burial costs
Hospital balance and other related medical bills
Out-of-pocket expenses related to the incident
Loss of financial support
Non-economic damages related to emotional and mental health
Wrongful death claims are defended aggressively by large insurance companies to try and pay the bare minimum of the claims. That is why it is crucial to follow the necessary steps, have proof of negligence, and get a competent attorney who can represent you properly in court.
Accident attorneys understand the emotional and financial strains that are involved in sudden personal injury cases. Fortunately, there are law firms that offer free consultations and accept legal cases on a contingency basis. This setup means that you only settle attorney fees upon receipt of claims. Seeking the help of a personal injury lawyer for wrongful death settlements will not only help lessen the financial burden but may also ease you into emotional acceptance and closure.
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