Experiencing the loss of a loved one due to someone else’s negligence or intentional act can be an unimaginably painful ordeal. In these times, it’s crucial to understand the legal avenues available to seek justice for your loss. This article will guide you through the process of pursuing a California wrongful death claim after a car accident.
A wrongful death claim can bring financial relief to the bereaved, offering compensation for damages such as medical bills, funeral costs, and loss of future income. But beyond the financial aspect, it can also provide a sense of justice, helping families find some semblance of closure.
Statewide Car Accident Data
According to the the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), there are hundreds of thousands of reported traffic collisions each year. These accidents result in a significant number of injuries and fatalities, many of which potentially qualify as wrongful death cases. OTS reports traffic fatalities increased by 7.6 percent from 3,980 in 2020 to 4,285 in 2021.
Breaking down the data, some alarming trends emerge. Certain areas in California, such as Los Angeles County and the San Francisco Bay Area, experience higher rates of traffic accidents. This is largely due to their high population densities and congested roadways.
Furthermore, specific factors contribute heavily to these incidents. Distracted driving, speeding, and drunk driving accidents top the list of causes. Understanding these contributing elements is crucial in preventing future accidents and establishing liability in wrongful death claims.
California Wrongful Death Laws
Navigating through the maze of laws after a tragedy can be overwhelming. But understanding California’s specific wrongful death laws can provide some clarity in these challenging times. This is when a licensed personal injury attorney can help out. Deldar Legal has a staff of highly qualified California wrongful death lawyers ready to take on your case.
In the Golden State, the law states that ‘heirs’ or ‘beneficiaries’ are eligible to file a wrongful death claim. These include immediate family members like spouses, children, and in some cases, domestic partners. If none exist, anyone ‘who would be entitled to the property of the decedent by intestate succession’ can bring forth a claim.
California law also permits a wrongful death claim to be made by anyone who can prove they were financially dependent on the deceased. These ‘dependents’ may include putative spouses (those who had a good faith belief that they were married to the deceased) or children of the putative spouse. Additionally, stepchildren and parents can fall into this category if they were financially dependent on the deceased.
Another essential aspect to note is the statute of limitations. In California, a wrongful death claim must generally be filed within two years of the date of death. This deadline makes it crucial to consult with an experienced California wrongful death attorney as soon as possible!
In a California wrongful death case, the legal proceedings are a key part of the path towards justice and compensation. The first step is the collection of evidence. This may involve gathering police reports, medical records, and witness statements. An attorney can manage this process, ensuring that all necessary documentation is obtained and organized effectively.
The next step is filing the lawsuit within the appropriate legal timeframe (within two years). A California wrongful death lawsuit must establish that the defendant’s negligence or intentional action resulted in death. Four elements need to be proven:
- Duty of Care
- Breach of Duty
A critical part of the lawsuit is the determination of damages. The claim may seek to recover both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include quantifiable losses such as medical expenses and loss of income. Non-economic damages cover more subjective losses such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of companionship.
Throughout the lawsuit, negotiation plays a large role. Deldar’s attorneys are skilled in negotiating with the opposing side, aiming to reach a fair settlement that accurately reflects your losses. If negotiations do not result in an acceptable settlement, we will prepare for trial.
Undertaking a wrongful death claim is a complex process. An experienced California wrongful death attorney can guide you through these steps, providing support and expertise. For further information on the legal proceedings and process of filing a wrongful death claim, call Deldar Legal at (844) 335-3271 or contact us online.
Posted in: Wrongful Death