San Diego Wrongful Death Lawyers
Fatal Accident Attorney in Southern California
The death of a family member in an unexpected fatal accident caused by someone else’s negligent or wrongful actions can be hard to accept. Lives change in an instant as parents, wives, husbands, and children try to cope with the physical pain, mental anguish, and sorrow caused by a wrongful death and subsequent worries over medical bills, funeral bills, and other financial obligations. These are never easy cases and in fact, are some of the more emotional cases our firm handles.
Our San Diego wrongful death lawyers approach personal injury claims with compassion, patience and experience. We commit ourselves to the process and ensuring we are guiding our clients in a responsible manner that will help them find some degree of resolution in an already difficult situation. As a surviving family member, you are also a victim. The wrongful death attorneys at Martinez & Schill LLP will do everything in our power to assist you in recovering the compensation you deserve. Damages may include reimbursement or compensation for:
- Loss of future income;
- Loss of services, protection, care, and assistance provided by the decedent;
- Medical expenses incurred as a result of the negligence;
- Funeral expenses;
- Sorrow, mental anguish, and solace; or
- Punitive damages in the event of willful or wanton conduct.
If you are unsure of what to do after having lost a loved one due to the negligence of another, we invite you to contact Martinez & Schill LLP. Choosing a strong legal advocate who is compassionate, ethical and thorough can mean the difference between losing your case or a successful end result. Once you have all of the information to make a decision, you are able to move forward with assurances that you were able to find some degree of closure as well as ensuring your financial future is not jeopardized. Our San Diego wrongful death lawyers can assist you.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
According to California Code of Civil Procedure Section 377.60, anyone named in a deceased person’s estate plan can file a legal suit for wrongful death. A surviving spouse and any children the deceased left behind have legal options that include filing lawsuits and in some instances, other people may file too. The death must have been caused by the acts or negligence of another and in some instances, the death may be a suicide if the responsible party has a responsibility or duty of care to the victim, but failed to do so. There are many variables in these types of cases. There may only be one wrongful death action, so claimants must be joined if it’s to be pursued under California’s “one action rule.” This ensures the one being held responsible is not forced to defend more than one legal lawsuit and it also prevents the problems that come were the same lawsuit filed by more than one party resulted in different judgments.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
There also exists statute of limitations in wrongful death claims, so it is important to consult an established law firm in a timely manner to discuss your options. In the majority of cases, that statute is just two years. The exceptions include medical malpractice negligence, which has a three year window from date of injury or one year after discovering reasonable diligence was lacking when an injury was discovered–whichever occurs first. If the death is due to a government liability, such as an accident with any kind of government vehicle or medical negligence at a government funded hospital, the window is just six months from the time of the injury.
What Kinds of Damages are Recoverable in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In California, damages recoverable in a wrongful death case emphasize the loss and harm suffered by the family member of the deceased; rather than the harm or injury the deceased suffered. Therefore, the damages awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit are determined from the impact of the death on the surviving family member.
The foregoing categories of damages are available to the survivor in the case of wrongful death to an immediate family member:
Direct Pecuniary Loss
Direct pecuniary loss represents the actual financial loss resulting from the death of a loved one. You know the damage is a pecuniary loss because you can determine the exact cost by looking at paystubs, or bills. Several examples of direct pecuniary loss in a wrongful death case include the following:
- Loss of income or wages by the decedent
- Loss of future income the decedent would have earned
- Hospital or medical bills of the deceased prior to the death
- Loss of future inheritance
Loss of Contributions and Services
A surviving family member can receive compensation for contributions and services they would otherwise would have obtained if the decedent had lived. Instances of such “contributions” or services” sometimes include: alimony, child support, and the lost benefit of household chores. Additionally, in the case of a child who has lost a parent, a child can also recover for the loss of the advice and guidance of that deceased parent.
Loss of Love and Companionship
An additional category of damages for a surviving family member can also include compensation for the loss of love, comfort, companionship, affection, society, solace or moral support. This is most often the most substantial category of damages in a wrongful death case, as this is the most devasatating impact of prematurely losing a loved one.
Funeral and Burial Expenses
A surviving family member can also receive compensation for expenses related to the burial and funeral services, so long as the expenses are reasonable. In the situation where the funeral expenses were paid out of the estate of the deceased person, then those expenses are also recoverable.
Contact the Wrongful Death Attorneys at Martinez & Schill LLP Today
The San Diego wrongful death attorneys at Martinez & Schill LLP understand how devastating it can be for families that have lost a loved one due to another’s negligence or wrongdoing. We can assist you understand your legal options if a loved one has been the victim of a wrongful death. Please call our San Diego office at (619) 512-5995 or our Riverside office (951) 200-4630 to discuss your case with a compassionate and experienced wrongful death lawyer. We offer free consultations and don’t get paid until we recover compensation for you. Contact our office today. (619) 512-5995.