Riverside Wrongful Death Lawyers Standing up for the Rights of Wrongful Death Victims and Their Surviving Families
The sudden loss of a loved one after an accident caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness is understandably a traumatic and emotionally charged situation, especially when the death could have been prevented if the other party had not acted with such disregard towards others. If you have lost a spouse or loved one to a wrongful death accident, you may have options to recover compensation and make sure the party responsible for the accident is held financially liable.
What Is Wrongful Death in California?
California law defines wrongful death as a death caused by someone else’s wrongful act. The act may have been negligent, reckless, or intentional. Wrongful act lawsuits are a type of personal injury civil lawsuit, so they are not criminal in nature. While it is understood that nothing can replace your loved one, a wrongful death lawsuit seeks to provide the next best thing, which is compensation for all damages resulting from the loss of your loved one.
A wide range of fatal accidents may qualify as a wrongful death case, including (but not limited to) work accidents, auto accidents (including those caused by a drunk driver), child or elder abuse, and drowning, among others. Some cases such as dog bites or defective products can be sued under strict liability, regardless of whether the defendant was negligent or not.
Who Is Eligible to File for a Wrongful Death Case in California?
In California, the representative of the decedent’s estate, as well as certain relatives, are entitled to bring forth a wrongful death lawsuit. This can be done regardless of whether the at-fault party was convicted or is being charged with a criminal case. Surviving spouses, domestic partners, children, and grandchildren may be able to initiate a wrongful death suit.
Only one wrongful death lawsuit may be filed, so the heir that chooses to initiate it must include all other eligible heirs in the lawsuit as well. An attorney may be essential to help determine who should be included in the lawsuit and the order in which the resulting settlement should be distributed.
What Is the Average Settlement Amount Awarded for a Wrongful Death Case?
When you have just lost a loved one and are facing unexpected expenses such as funeral costs, you may be in a hurry to find out how much you may be able to receive for a wrongful death claim in California. Unfortunately, there is no average claim value, as some cases can settle for less than $10,000.00 while others reach millions. An attorney will be better suited to calculate a more accurate estimate for your specific case.
Most wrongful death actions seek to compensate surviving family members for damages including financial losses (medical bills, funeral costs, loss of inheritance, etc.) and non-economic damages such as loss of consortium and pain and suffering. Punitive damages may not be available through a wrongful death lawsuit.
What Is the Difference Between a Wrongful Death Action and a Survival Action in California?
A survival action is a way for the decedent’s estate to recover punitive damages if not available through a wrongful death action. A survival lawsuit is often combined with a wrongful death lawsuit and enables heirs to recover compensation for losses resulting from the wrongful act that led to the decedent’s passing. The key difference is that a survival action does not result in compensation given directly to surviving relatives, but lets the decedent’s estate recover compensation for damages that happened after the wrongful act and before the decedent died.
If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, consult The Accident Network Law Group. We are prepared to advise you on the best course of action and will fight to provide your family some financial relief while holding the at-fault party liable for what happened. Contact our Riverside office by calling (951) 554-1010 and requesting a free consultation. We are here to help!