Nothing prepares you for the tragic loss of a family member. The pain remains 24/7, and while it may lessen over time, it is not something you ever really put behind you. Adding to your grief is the fact that your loved one died because another party behaved recklessly, or in the case of a crime, intentionally.
Nothing can change this, but a wrongful death lawsuit can provide you with financial compensation and the knowledge that justice has been served. A West Covina Wrongful Death Lawyer is there for you at this difficult time.
A Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer at Salamati Law determines which entities are responsible and hold them accountable. We will fight aggressively so you and your family receive the maximum compensation for your loved one’s death.
Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
In California, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit is two years. However, the statute of limitations is just six months if any government agency was involved in the death– such as a person dying after being struck by a West Covina public school bus.
That is why it is important to contact a personal injury lawyer in West Covina as soon as possible. Crucial evidence may vanish. For example, there may be nearby surveillance videos. Further, family members may not realize that the involvement of a government entity dramatically changes the timeframe for filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
What is Wrongful Death?
In California, wrongful death occurs when the individual succumbs due to a negligent, reckless, or intentional act. While many wrongful death cases involve accidents, not every “accidental” death is a “wrongful” death case per se. That is why a lawyer must investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident and decide not only whether the situation falls within the scope of wrongful death but also who is responsible.
For example, if the person was killed in a truck accident, parties beyond the driver might be held liable. The investigation might show that the truck was not loaded properly, and the shifting cargo played a major part in the crash. That means the freight company would also be named in the lawsuit.
Wrongful Death Causes
Most wrongful death cases result from accidents, but that is not true in every situation. If the death resulted from a crime, the defendant might face criminal court proceedings. A wrongful death case is a civil, not a criminal, matter.
Common causes of wrongful death include:
A West Covina wrongful death lawyer gathers evidence through various sources to prepare a wrongful death lawsuit. To be successful, it requires proving the defendant breached a duty of care owed to the decedent and that this breach contributed significantly to the death.
Compensation from wrongful death lawsuits goes to the family of the deceased. If the person did not immediately die, their estate might file a survival action, often in tandem with a wrongful death lawsuit. In a survival action, the estate receives compensation, which is then distributed to the surviving heirs.
For example, a person enters the hospital for routine surgery. A surgeon makes an error, and the patient slips into a coma, dying a few weeks later. The late person’s spouse could file a wrongful death lawsuit based on the loss of spousal income and companionship. At the same time, the estate can file a survival action for medical malpractice against the surgeon or other healthcare providers responsible for the error and subsequent death.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In California, the decedent’s surviving spouse or domestic partner may file a wrongful death lawsuit. So may the decedent’s children. If any of the children have died, surviving grandchildren may also file.
If there are no decedents, the California laws regarding intestate succession– or dying without a will– apply. That might include the decedent’s parents, siblings, or grandparents. If someone can prove they were financially dependent on the decedent, they may also file a wrongful death lawsuit. That may include the stepchildren.
Wrongful Death Damages
Damages, or compensation, for a wrongful death lawsuit may include:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Financial support the decedent would have contributed to the family
- Reasonable value of the decedent’s household services
Determining those economic damages is relatively straightforward. Non-economic damages are less quantifiable and may include:
- Loss of the decedent’s love, companionship, protection, and moral support
- Loss of intimacy for the spouse or domestic partner
- Loss of guidance
Contact a Wrongful Death Lawyer in West Covina
When your life has been turned upside down due to the tragic loss of a loved one due to another party’s actions, seek out the services of a compassionate Wrongful Death Attorney in West Covina at Salamati Law. To schedule a free consultation, call or text us 24/7 or fill out our online contact form.
After reviewing the circumstances of your family member’s death, we can advise you whether to file a wrongful death lawsuit. While such lawsuits are usually settled, we will take your case to trial if the insurance company does not agree to an acceptable amount of compensation. Since we work on a contingency basis, no fee is charged unless we win.