Wrongful Death Attorneys Serving San Diego, Riverside And Surrounding Areas
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, they are some of the most emotional cases that we handle at Martinez & Schill LLP.
We approach personal injury claims with compassion, patience and experience. We commit ourselves to understanding the process and ensuring that 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. Our wrongful death attorneys will do everything in their 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
- 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 our firm. Choosing a strong legal advocate who is compassionate, ethical and thorough can mean the difference between losing your case or obtaining a successful end result. Once you have all the information to make a decision, you are able to move forward knowing that you may be able to find some degree of closure and ensuring that 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 either must be caused by the acts or negligence of another or, in the case of a suicide, must involve an accountable party who had a responsibility or duty of care to the victim but failed to uphold it. 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 that the one being held responsible is not forced to defend more than one legal lawsuit, and it also prevents the problems that may come if the same lawsuit filed by more than one party were to result in different judgments.
How Long Do I Have To File A Claim?
There also exists a 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 two years. The exceptions include medical malpractice negligence, which has a three-year window from the 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 members of the deceased, rather than the harm or injury that the deceased suffered. Therefore, the damages awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit are determined from the impact of the death on the surviving family members.
The foregoing categories of damages are available to the survivors 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 pay stubs 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 that 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
Surviving family members can receive compensation for contributions and services they 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 surviving family members 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 devastating impact of prematurely losing a loved one.
Funeral And Burial Expenses
Surviving family members can also receive compensation for expenses related to the burial and funeral services, so long as the expenses are reasonable. In a 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
Our San Diego wrongful death attorneys at Martinez & Schill LLP handle cases in Escondido, Oceanside, Chula Vista and throughout Southern California. We understand how devastating it can be for families that have lost loved ones due to others’ negligence or wrongdoing, and we can assist you in understanding your legal options if a loved one has been the victim of a wrongful death. Contact our San Diego office at 619-512-5995 or our Riverside location at 951-290-3367 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 to schedule a free consultation and get your questions answered today.