San Diego Wrongful Death Lawyer
If a loved one has died due to the wrongful act or neglect of another, contact a San Diego wrongful death attorney at the Liljegren Law Group today for a free legal consultation. Our personal injury lawyers have years of experience representing families in wrongful death cases San Diego and across California. Unfortunately, time is of the essence in these devastating cases and it is important to contact a legal team as soon as possible.
A wrongful death occurs when a person is killed due to negligence or misconduct of another individual, company or entity. In San Diego, this can be a result of a car accident, burn injury, or any other serious accident.
An action for wrongful death belongs to the decedent’s immediate family members, often called “distributees.” The most common “distributees” are surviving spouses and children.
California Wrongful Death Laws
California’s wrongful death laws permit only individuals with a certain relationship to the victim to file a wrongful death claim. These include:
- The victim’s surviving spouse, children, dependent stepchildren, dependent minors living in the victims household for at least six months, and dependent parents.
- If there are no heirs as described above, then claimants include those who would be entitled to inherit the victim’s estate under the law of intestate succession.
- If none of these relatives exist, the next of kin may file a wrongful death suit.
A wrongful death victims personal representative who was appointed by the probate court can also maintain a wrongful death action.
Compensation in San Diego Wrongful Death Lawsuits
In California, wrongful death claim compensation can include damages for:
- Financial support that the victim would have contributed to the heir during the life expectancy of the heir
- Decedent’s future anticipated earnings
- Lost gifts or benefits of the victim (medical insurance, pension, 401(k), etc.)
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Reasonable value of household services
- Loss of the victim’s love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, and affection
- Survivor’s pain, suffering, and mental anguish
What’s the Average Wrongful Death Settlement in CA?
When a person dies due to another party’s negligence, the victim’s surviving family can pursue damages through wrongful death claims. Similar to personal injury lawsuits, plaintiffs in wrongful death claims must prove that the defendant’s negligence caused the victim’s death and show the court the extent of the family’s losses due to the death. Plaintiffs can recover various types of compensation through wrongful death claims, but it’s vital to consider how wrongful death settlements work in California. The state has laws in place affecting how plaintiffs may file wrongful death claims, and who may be eligible to file such claims.
California Limits on Wrongful Death Claims
While some states place limits or “caps” on the amount of compensation plaintiffs in wrongful death claims may earn, California does not. The law simply states that the claim must be “reasonable under the circumstances.” The court considers various factors in determining compensation amounts for wrongful death plaintiffs, including the age of the plaintiffs and the decedent’s age, earnings, and relationship to the plaintiffs.
In California, a deceased person’s spouse, domestic partner, or child may file a wrongful death claim. If no such kin exists, the deceased’s parents, stepchildren, siblings, or anyone else who was financially dependent on the decedent may file a claim instead. State law also indicates that anyone with a claim on the deceased’s estate, or who would be entitled to the deceased’s property through intestate succession may file a wrongful death claim.
Compensation in Wrongful Death Claims
Plaintiffs’ compensation in wrongful death claims hinges on the deceased’s income and the impact of the death on the family. For example, the death of a 30 year old doctor with his or her entire life ahead would likely lead to a more substantial settlement than a wrongful death claim for an elderly retiree on a fixed income. The court takes the age of the decedent into account, and the family pursuing the claim can secure compensation for the victim’s future earnings and financial security he or she provided to the family.
Damages in wrongful death claims typically include:
- Funeral and burial expenses. The decedent’s will or estate will likely contain his or her wishes concerning funeral and burial, and the court will award compensation for these expenses as long as they are reasonable.
- Medical expenses. The plaintiffs in a wrongful death claim can sue for the cost of their lost loved one’s medical care during his or her final illness or injury.
- Pain and suffering. If the victim’s final illness or injury caused severe pain or other forms of distress, the claimants can secure compensation for the deceased’s suffering as well their own loss of love, affection, comfort, guidance, and household support provided by the victim.
- Lost income. The family can sue for the decedent’s lost wages during his or her final illness or injury as well as future earnings the deceased would have reasonably expected to earn in the future. Depending on the victim’s profession, this can be a substantial award.
Wrongful death claimants must file their claims within two years of the date of a loved one’s death to meet California’s statute of limitations. While no amount of money can replace a lost loved one, wrongful death claims help families manage their financial worries after the unexpected death of a loved one.
How and When to Hire a San Diego Wrongful Death Attorney
Preserving evidence and identifying defendants are key factors in California wrongful death cases. Plus, California law mandates a claim must be filed within two years if the descendent’s death- known as the statue of limitations.
Contact the Liljegren Law Group today at 866-613-9906 for a free legal consultation. Our San Diego personal attorneys have years of experience and success in wrongful death cases. If chosen to represent your loved one in a wrongful death case our injury attorneys will investigate all circumstances surrounding the accident and preserve any and all evidence. The Liljegren Law Group will fight aggressively to help you obtain the compensation you are entitled to.