Why Hiring a Wrongful Death Attorney Is So Crucial

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The Role of a Newport Beach Wrongful Death Attorney

Losing a loved one is a deeply emotional and difficult time. Additionally, the financial impact of this loss can significantly affect surviving family members. This is why California law allows families the right to financial compensation.

While legal action may not be an immediate priority, we encourage you to at least consult with an experienced wrongful death attorney. Working with a wrongful death lawyer also helps clients understand their legal options, ensure filing periods remain active, and further preserve their cases. Here are other ways a dedicated legal team can assist with wrongful death lawsuits.


Ensure the Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filing Period Is Not Missed

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There are strict time limits under the state’s statute of limitations for filing a California wrongful death lawsuit. These time restraints are circumstantial and may vary per case, affected by the following factors:

  • Standard Cases: In most situations, claimants have two years from the date of the victim’s death to file a wrongful death suit.
  • City/Government Involvement: If a fatal accident results from a public agency, like a police vehicle, the filing period is shortened to six months.
  • Minor Claimants: If a minor child loses a parent, a wrongful death claim may be filed two years from his or her 18th birthday.
  • Delayed Discovery: Special rules may apply in cases if the cause of a loved one’s death is discovered later. This could involve complications from an injury that was sustained in a previous accident or when the connection between the accident and the death is not initially evident.

Because the statute of limitations can greatly fluctuate depending on the circumstances, it is important to confirm all due dates and exceptions with a qualified wrongful death lawyer. 


Recover Full Losses for the Wrongful Death Claims

While claimants are entitled to recover the full extent of their losses, wrongful death cases are complex and require a thorough understanding of the applicable laws. Without in-depth knowledge in the field, insurance companies can significantly reduce the value of wrongful death claims. 

A wrongful death case value is based on the apparent losses that were sustained as a direct result of the victim’s passing. These losses are categorized into two main groups: economic damages and non-economic damages.

Invoice with stethoscope concept medical expense; document is mock-upEconomic Damages

These losses account for financial expenses and can often be proven with receipts, bills, or other invoices. Common examples include:

  • Loss of Income: This includes the financial support the decedent likely would have provided, based on factors like age, earning potential, and work history.
  • Funeral and Burial Expenses: This covers the costs of final arrangements, including the funeral service, burial or cremation, and related funeral expenses.
  • Loss of Household Services: Financial recovery can account for the value of unpaid work the deceased performed, such as childcare, housekeeping, and yard maintenance.

File a wrongful death claimNon-Economic Damages

These types of losses are intended to address the emotional impact of losing a loved one, but they are also subjective and complicated to quantify financially.

This encompasses the emotional bond that has been lost, such as consortium, companionship, or guidance the deceased would have continued to provide.

Because these are subjective experiences, juries are given discretion to determine fair compensation based on the relationship between the deceased and the surviving family member(s), the deceased’s contributions to the family, and the future experiences lost due to the death.


Confirm of Who Can Legally File a Wrongful Death Claim

California law limits who can file a wrongful death claim. Here’s a breakdown of those generally eligible:

  • Spouses and Domestic Partners: A surviving spouse or registered domestic partner has the first filing right.
  • Children: Biological or adopted children of the deceased can also file for wrongful death damages.
  • Parents: In some cases, the deceased’s parents may be eligible, particularly if they depend on the deceased financially.

It’s important to note that these are general guidelines, and every wrongful death case is circumstantial. Other financially dependent relatives or those considered “family members” under California law, like grandparents or siblings, may also have a right to file a wrongful death claim.  

Due to complexities like eligibility in wrongful death cases, it’s crucial to consult with wrongful death attorneys. They can assess case specifics and confirm varying details like who can file a wrongful death suit and more.


Prove Liability to Hold the Other Party Accountable

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For a successful case outcome, it must be proven that the defendant’s “negligence” caused the fatal accident. This involves establishing the four key elements of negligence:

  1. Duty of Care: The defendant had a legal obligation to act in a reasonably safe manner. For example, a driver owes a duty of care to follow traffic laws to avoid accidents.
  2. Breach of Duty: The defendant failed to meet the duty of care and exhibited recklessness. This could be speeding or running a red light.
  3. Causation: The breach of duty directly caused the fatal accident. Evidence like witness statements or video footage can help establish this link.
  4. Damages: The surviving family suffered losses due to the fatal accident. These damages can be financial (lost income, medical bills) or non-economic (loss of companionship, pain and suffering).

Wrongful death cases are threatening to insurance companies due to their high value. Therefore, they will be aggressive in their efforts to avoid liability and pay out a fair settlement.

Experienced Newport Beach wrongful death attorneys carefully guide clients through the process, protecting them from the insurance company’s tactics and fighting to get them the compensation they are entitled to. 


Should I Hire a Newport Beach Wrongful Death Attorney?

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We understand the immense loss families experience after the tragic loss of a loved one. This is why we are committed to helping surviving family members seek justice. While hiring a wrongful death attorney is not required, doing so offers the following benefits.   

  • Investigating the Cause: We collaborate with medical and investigative experts to thoroughly examine the cause of death and determine if it was preventable. This includes gathering evidence surrounding the fatal accident to establish how and why the death occurred and if negligent actions were a factor.
  • Assessing ALL Damages: Through interviews with relatives, friends, and acquaintances, we establish the emotional and personal toll the deceased’s passing has left, both financially and emotionally.
  • Economic Impact Analysis: Using economic projections, we demonstrate the financial losses suffered by the victim’s family members, including lost income potential and medical/funeral expenses.
  • Negotiating a Settlement: We carefully present all evidence to the at-fault party and their legal representation. Our goal is to negotiate for maximum compensation that reflects the full range of damages suffered.
  • Trial Advocacy: If a fair settlement isn’t reached, we’re prepared to take the case to trial and file a wrongful death lawsuit. Our team of skilled litigators will leverage the expertise of our investigators and use compelling evidence to present the case to a jury.

The role of a law firm is to simplify the legal process, relieving clients of the stresses that often come with filing a wrongful death claim. Taking on these responsibilities allows families to focus on what matters most: their emotional healing.


Beach Accident Attorneys

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Every family member plays a vital role. Following a wrongful death accident, a significant void is left. Our law firm is committed to helping families navigate this challenging time. With extensive experience and a proven track record, we can guide you through the legal process and fight for the justice you deserve.  

Schedule a free consultation with our dedicated wrongful death attorneys when you are ready to begin discussing your case. 


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