Wrongful Death Law
Accidental deaths are among the leading causes of fatalities across the country. The National Safety Council projects that every five minutes another person dies in a preventable accident. That means that well over a hundred thousand families lose a loved one in these circumstances each and every year. While the incidents take many forms, there are certain accidents that are much more common than others, specifically auto accidents, fires, falls, and choking. For years our wrongful death lawyer at the Walton Law Firm has helped families throughout our area after these accidents.
As the name implies, a “wrongful death” occurs any time that an individual dies as a result of the wrongdoing of another. Of course, the individual who is hurt by the misconduct can no longer go to court and protect their rights, and so wrongful death lawsuits allow family members of the victim to seek legal recourse for the harm caused. These rights are based on statutory law. The California legislature has specifically passed legislation allowing certain survivors to pursue these claims. The statute lays out rules regarding exactly who can file a California wrongful death lawsuit. Usually the right is limited to a surviving spouse, children of the victim, and dependent parents. However, in situations where the victim does not have any of those relative, then others can step in.
The damages that can be recovered in one of these cases are unique. A wrongful death action is intended to compensate the actual survivor for what they lost when the victim died. As such, a jury in a wrongful death case may award a range of both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages in these cases includes things like lost financial support that the victim would have provided, funeral and burial expenses, and the value of lost household services. Recoverable non-economic damages in these cases include loss of companionship, loss of affection, and similar qualitative losses. Therefore, unlike other personal injury cases, a wrongful death suit does not involve recovery for medical expenses or the victim’s property damage. A separate “survival action” can be used to return these losses to the estate of the victim. Often a wrongful death claim and a survival action claim can be brought together and litigated at the same time.
Visiting with a legal professional following the accidental death of a loved one is essential. Our wrongful death attorney has worked with families in our area after the death of a loved one in a variety of circumstances. Timing it important, because it often takes a significant amount of preparation before a legal cases related to these accidents can be pursued. Please remember that no family should have to deal with the loss of a loved one from accidental circumstance alone. Experienced, professional help is available at the Walton Law Firm to guide you through the process and ensure fair, timely recovery with personal attention devoted to each and every case. You can contact our attorney by phone at (866) 607-1325 or (760) 571-5500. In addition, feel free to send our lawyers a message at any time with our online contact form.