Ventura, CA Wrongful Death Lawyer
It’s hard to imagine losing a loved one as a result of an accident – most of us expect to say goodbye to grandparents and even our own parents at some point, but don’t plan for life without a spouse, child, or a parent who dies well before their time. Tragically, though, accidents happen on a daily basis in California, taking the lives of victims of leaving family members’ lives forever changes. If you have lost a loved one, our Ventura, CA wrongful death lawyers at the law office of Fisher & Talwar can help. We know that there is nothing easy about pursuing a wrongful death claim – our lawyers will provide you with the guidance and support you need during such a trying time.
What Is A Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim is a type of civil action that resembles a personal injury lawsuit. In a personal injury lawsuit, an injured plaintiff can bring forth a claim for monetary damages against a person whose negligence caused the plaintiff harm; in a wrongful death action, a wrongful death action can be brought if the plaintiff can prove that the death of the decedent would not have occurred but for the wrongful or neglectful actions of the defendant. A wrongful death action is filed to pursue monetary damages.
Who Can File A Wrongful Death Action In California?
In California, only certain parties related to a decedent maintain the right to bring forth a wrongful death action. These parties include the following related to the decedent:
- The surviving spouse;
- The domestic partner;
- The surviving children; or
- Anyone who would be entitled to the property of the decedent if none of the above parties exist.
In some cases, the putative spouse, children of a putative spouse, stepchildren, and parents of the decedent may have a right to damages via a wrongful death action.
Why would someone want to sue for wrongful death?
The point of civil action such as in a case of a car or a motorcycle crash is to be compensated for the survivors’ loss. Such loss can include lost wages and funeral expenses that create a situation of financial hardship (economic damages).
Loss of companionship, love and affection (otherwise collectively known as loss of consortium) is also a reason for seeking compensation. Since damages suffered here cannot be assigned a specific monetary value, they are known as non-economic damages.
Who may be sued for wrongful death?
Civil action for death in a car crash can be brought against a number of different persons, companies, government agencies and employees of such agencies and companies. It is best to speak with an attorney to determine the right entity to sue.
Defendants may include:
- Driver who’s negligence resulted in the accident.
- Manufacturer of a car part that failed to function properly resulting in the accident.
- An auto company that knew about a defective part but chose to ignore it.
- An installer of an auto part who failed to perform an adequate job.
- A government agent responsible for providing warnings and notifying of known hazards.
Note: some government agencies and their employees may be immune to wrongful death lawsuits. Not to sound like a broken record, but if you lost someone and wish to file a wrongful death lawsuit, you should talk to a competent attorney before doing anything else. Wrongful death lawsuits can get very complicated and costly, especially if pursued incorrectly. It is easy for a person or an incompetent attorney to make mistakes in the process, often resulting in unsuccessful lawsuits.
Damages In A Wrongful Death Action
Filing a wrongful death claim can be beneficial for surviving family members for a number of reasons. First, it can provide a sense of closure and justice, especially if the death of a loved one did not result in any criminal actions against the defendant. Second, it can serve as a deterrent to others who may be prone to engage in negligent acts similar to the act that resulted in the decedent’s death (such as drunk driving). And third, it can provide monetary damages that can be used to support surviving family members now and into the future.
Types of damages that are available in a wrongful death action in California include:
- Expenses for a funeral and burial services;
- Medical and hospital expenses incurred by the deceased prior to death (related to the injury that led to death);
- Lost income and benefits, including the loss of future benefits that would have been acquired had the deceased been able to continue working;
- The value of loss of household services of the decedent; and
- The loss of love, companionship, parental guidance, and moral support.
Statute Of Limitations On Wrongful Death Claims In California
One of the most difficult elements of a wrongful death claim is simply finding the emotional energy to start the process – after losing a loved one, filing a civil action is usually the last thing that a person is thinking about. Unfortunately, however, you only have so much time to file a wrongful death claim for damages and, if you wait too long, your right to compensation will be forfeited. In California, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within two years of the death of the deceased party. We recommend consulting with an attorney as soon as possible after losing a loved one. While it can be difficult, your attorney can handle the legal process on your behalf so you can have the time to mourn and plan for your future.
Call Our Ventura, CA Wrongful Death Lawyers Today
Losing a loved one is never fair or just. If you have lost a loved one in California, our wrongful death lawyers at the law office of Fisher & Talwar empathize with what you’re going through and truly want to help. We know how sensitive this type of legal matter is, and we promise to approach your case with the degree of care you deserve. For help from an aggressive, passionate, and committed Ventura, CA wrongful death lawyer, please call our law firm today or send us a message at your convenience. Our lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, and never charge any upfront legal fees. Consultations are offered free of charge.