Riverside Wrongful Death Lawyer

When a family member dies unexpectedly, the surviving relatives are often left with emotional and financial losses, especially if the deceased was the primary income earner. The state of California allows surviving family members to receive compensation if the deceased’s death was due to negligence or wrongful acts by another party.

If you recently lost a loved one, you can take legal action against those who contributed to their death. A Riverside wrongful death attorney at Younglove Law Group will do everything in their power to fight for your family member to receive justice and for you to secure the financial ability to mourn their death.

Understanding Liability in Wrongful Death Cases

Wrongful death is a situation where one party dies or develops injuries that cause their death due to the negligent actions of another. In such a case, the California law allows specific surviving members to file a wrongful death claim against the negligent party provided they can prove four key elements. These include:

  • Duty of care: The surviving relatives must prove that the other party had a duty of care in the situation that caused the deceased’s death. For example, if a truck driver was texting while driving through a crosswalk, causing the death of someone, the surviving members can cite the driver’s duty to maintain a proper lookout while driving.
  • Breach of duty: The remaining family must show not only that the defendant had a duty of care but also that they failed to perform their duty, breaching their duty of care. To continue with the above example, the driver breached his duty to maintain a proper lookout while driving by texting while driving through a crosswalk.
  • Causation: The deceased’s loved ones must show a direct correlation between the defendant’s negligent actions and the death of the deceased. For example, if a bus driver ignored a red traffic light, ran someone over in the process, and caused their death, that death would be directly attributed to the driver’s breach of their duty of care.
  • Damages: Finally, proof must be provided to demonstrate the surviving family members experienced losses due to the death of a loved one, such as financial and general (non-economic) damages. These include any potential future earnings lost, funeral and burial expenses incurred, and loss of consortium (love and guidance).

If any of the above can be established, only a handful of people are legally allowed to file a wrongful death claim. According to California’s Code of Civil Procedure [377.60 – 377.62], the following people can file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased:

  • Surviving spouse
  • The domestic partner
  • Surviving children
  • Grandchildren, if no surviving children are available
  • Anyone entitled to the deceased’s estate, if no surviving family members
  • Estate administrator

In special cases, the following may also file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased if they can prove they were financially dependent on the deceased:

  • Putative spouses and their children
  • Stepchildren of the deceased, if there are no surviving children
  • Parents of the deceased

If you have doubts about who should file a wrongful death claim on behalf of a loved one, a wrongful death attorney in Riverside can help figure out the ideal person to file a wrongful death lawsuit to increase the chances of compensation.

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Potential Damages for Wrongful Death

A loved one can die from different types of accidents, including:

If the surviving family members can prove that negligent actions caused any of these accidents, they’re entitled to various forms of compensation. These include:

Economic Damages

Economic damages are expenses related to the deceased’s wrongful death. This compensation usually covers:

  • Funeral and burial costs: Expenses for planning the funeral and undertaking the burial process
  • Medical bills: if the wrongful death claim is coupled with a survivorship claim, compensation for medical expenses incurred by the deceased is available
  • Lost wages: The future earning potential of the deceased were it not for their untimely death
  • The value of household services lost: the present cash value of the expected services that the deceased would have provided to the household had they not passed away

Any financial loss that you suffer after the death of your family member may be classified as an economic damage.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic compensation is for losses caused by the death of a loved one that are subjective and more difficult to quantify. The next of kin can obtain damages for any one of these non-economic damages:

  • Loss of the deceased’s love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, and/or moral support
  • Loss of guidance, companionship, and love (loss of consortium)
  • Loss of deceased’s training and guidance

Punitive damages are generally not allowed in wrongful death claims. There is one exception to this general rule, however. A court may award punitive damages if the concurrent criminal case convicts the defendant of felony homicide for the deceased’s death. Unlike wrongful death claims, survival actions do provide for punitive damages when the defendant’s conduct justifies such an award.

A California personal injury attorney has the experience and knowledge to help you get the best compensation for the death of your loved one.

Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death in California

If you lose a loved one, you have two years to legally file a wrongful death claim for the deceased, known as the statute of limitations. The two-year period begins when a loved one passes away, not the time they suffered injuries that led to their death. However, if the death of your loved one was due to negligent actions of a government entity, you only have six months from the time of their death to file claim forms with the appropriate public entity or entites to notify them of the wrongful death claim.

Failure to file your wrongful death claim within the set period, for whatever reason, could harm your chances of compensation. The court might declare your case invalid and prevent you from pursuing it in the future. While this is a difficult period for you, don’t let months go by without filing your claim. A wrongful death attorney can initiate the process of filing a wrongful death claim in Riverside. Remember that there’s a lot involved in wrongful death cases, including facts, evidence, and even eyewitnesses, and the more you wait, the greater your chances of losing them.

Contact Experienced Wrongful Death Attorneys in Riverside at Younglove Law Group

If your loved one died from the negligent actions of another, take action as soon as possible after the death occurs. Experienced wrongful death attorneys at Younglove Law Group are ready to help you start the process of filing a wrongful death claim. Our wrongful death lawyers in Riverside offer free consultation services to all our potential clients.

After our Riverside wrongful death attorneys look at your case, they will offer legal advice on which steps to take. If you hire us, we will begin the investigation almost immediately and speed up the filing process so you can receive compensation quickly. Call us today at (951) 356-9639 to book a consultation or fill out our contact form with your details, and our attorneys will get back to you.

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