Curtis Legal Group The Heavy HittersTM!
Award-winning California Wrongful Death Lawyers
The sudden and unexpected death of a loved one can be especially painful for the entire family. As experienced wrongful death lawyers we understand how difficult this is on you and your family. We know this is an incredibly trying time and we want extend our sympathies to you and your loved ones.
As you now look to find answers and potentially hold a business or person responsible for the death of your family member, the attorneys at Curtis Legal Group are here to help. Our lawyers are experienced in wrongful death litigation, and know how to build the strongest case possible so you and your family can obtain justice and compensation for the wrongful death victim. And while we know this is a painful and confusing time, our experienced wrongful death attorneys have assisted many families in pursuing litigation for the wrongful death of a loved one.
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Should You Hire a Wrongful Death Lawyer?
In order for a wrongful death case to proceed in California courts, there must be evidence of a negligent or intentional act. It is considered negligence when a person, business, or organization carelessly caused an accident that resulted in the death of another person. In some cases, the at fault party may have failed to do something that would have prevented a deadly accident from occurring. Scenarios leading to wrongful death can often occur at work, but also include car accidents, pedestrian accidents, fires, slips and falls, and other fatal accidents that were caused by negligent behavior.
Negligence can also be found in, production of defective products, or dangerous prolonged exposure to toxic chemicals. An intentionally harmful act happens when a person knowingly hurts another, including murder, arson, and assault.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit Explained
Wrongful Death Litigation in California: Civil vs Criminal
Depending on the cause of death, criminal charges could be filed against the responsible parties, but those legal proceedings are conducted independently of a civil wrongful death case. A favorable result in a wrongful death civil lawsuit results in financial compensation to the victim’s survivors and cannot not send a responsible party to jail for their actions. A criminal case would be initiated by a government entity and only that type of case could involve criminal penalties.
Wrongful Death Damages
For a wrongful death case to be valid, your lawyers must present evidence of the losses that resulted from your loved one’s passing. Financial loss is most commonly used in court because it is the easiest to quantify. If the deceased provided income to the household, losing that income can be a huge loss for a family. Additionally, the medical bills for any care received before your loved one died, as well as any funeral expenses, can be a drain on family resources. As your wrongful death lawyer, we will fight to get all available financial damages from the responsible parties.
As the wrongful death lawyer for you and your family, we will fight to get the surviving family members financial compensation for your loved one’s tragic passing. Our lawyers will work to prove that your family’s monetary losses, as well as emotional, caregiving, and other losses, are all significant and justified.
Damages That Can Be Recovered in California
In California, surviving family members or the estate of a person who has died due to someone else’s wrongful act can bring a lawsuit for damages under California’s wrongful death law. Those who can receive damages include surviving spouses, domestic partners, children, and other heirs.
In addition to economic damages such as medical expenses and lost wages, plaintiffs may also be able to recover non-economic damages, including pain and suffering. Until recently, California law did not allow for the recovery of these types of damages in wrongful death actions; however, a new law passed in 2020 now allows for the recovery of pain and suffering damages in certain cases.
Wrongful Death Claims
By law, California only allows certain individuals to file a wrongful death claim. These individuals include surviving spouses, qualified domestic partners, children, and grandchildren. Parents can also sue for the wrongful death of an adult child if they were financially supported by them and in other circumstances. Others may also be entitled to file a wrongful death claim depending on whether they would an inherit from the deceased individual through intestate succession, i.e. the family member died without a will or trust. In addition, certain other individuals may also qualify to file a wrongful death claim if they were financially dependent on the deceased person prior to the deceased person’s death.
Finding a trustworthy and caring wrongful death lawyer to guide your family through filing a wrongful death claim or lawsuit is essential to making the process go smoothly while you are grieving. As your wrongful death lawyer, we will thoroughly investigate the events surrounding the death of your loved one, find all responsible parties and determine the best course of action to pursue your wrongful death lawsuit.
What qualifies as wrongful death?
Wrongful death occurs when someone is killed due to the misconduct or negligence of a person or entity. It is different from murder or manslaughter, both of which are criminal charges, because wrongful death is a cause of action under civil law. When someone files a wrongful death lawsuit, they are seeking to collect financial compensation for the loss of their loved one.
How long do wrongful death cases take?
The length of time required to resolve a wrongful death case varies greatly depending on the details of the case. Some death claims can be finalized in a matter of months, but many wrongful death cases take from one to four years. You have two years from the date of the death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Please note that if the claim involves a public entity, then a claim will need to be filed with the public entity or medical provider before suit is filed. Also, the wrongful act may involve another cause of action triggering an earlier date in which a suit must be filed to protect your rights. You will need to consult with an attorney immediately regarding the statute of limitations applicable to your claim.
Who gets the money in a wrongful death lawsuit in California?
Any compensation awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit in the state of California is awarded in the following order:
- The surviving spouse or domestic partner.
- The surviving children.
- The surviving grandchildren of any deceased child of the deceased person.
- Whoever is next in line to inherit by way of intestate succession if there is no surviving children or grandchildren of the deceased person.
- Certain others who were financially dependent on the deceased person.
In the death of a minor without children or spouse and/or domestic partner, the compensation goes to the parents. In addition, parents who are being financially supported by an adult child can also potentially recover financial compensation for their loss.
Contact the California Wrongful Death Attorneys at Curtis Legal Group
Even if the at fault party in your wrongful death case is a company, you will likely be dealing with their insurance provider and its attorneys. We have extensive experience standing up to corporate insurance companies and have successfully helped families obtain the financial compensation they’re owed. Insurance companies do not have your best interests at heart and do not want to provide your family with maximum, if any, compensation. We are familiar with their tactics and will work to ensure your family is taken care of. Wrongful death cases will often settle out of court; however, if a settlement cannot be reached, we are prepared to fight for your family in court.
Our caring and experienced wrongful death lawyers understand that our work cannot heal the wounds caused by the unexpected and often preventable death of your loved one, but we can help bring you some semblance of closure by holding the responsible party or parties accountable and providing financial compensation to give your family a stronger financial foundation with which to move forward. If you believe someone else’s actions were the cause of your loved one’s death, contact Curtis Legal Group today at 1-800-LAW-3080 or send us a message below and we will reach out to you shortly.
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