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Napa Wrongful Death Lawyer


Finding out that someone you love has suddenly been killed in an accident is a gut-wrenching and often traumatic experience that, sadly, many Napa residents face. For example, a head-on collision happens on Highway 29 just outside the city on the way to American Canyon. Reports state that a sedan and an SUV crashed into each other at South Kelly Road. Two of the people inside the SUV were fatally injured during the crash. Suddenly, with no warning, two families face the devastating news of their loved one’s death because of a potentially avoidable accident.

If you have lost a loved one in a tragic accident in Napa and believe it was due to negligence, call our legal team at (707) 564-1900 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly, and compassionate advice.

Holding Negligent Parties Responsible for Wrongful Death Claims

It’s a painful truth – losing a spouse, parent, or guardian causes emotional damage and often creates serious financial problems. This can be even worse when the person who lost his or her life is the primary income earner in the family or household. In a single moment, families can be left unsure of how they will pay their credit card bills, mortgages, car payments, and other necessary expenses. For these reasons, those who have lost a loved one can often pursue payments for their losses through what is called a “wrongful death claim.”

The California Code of Civil Procedure 377.60 provides that a case of wrongful death has happened when a person loses his or her life due to the proximate result of another party’s misconduct or negligence. A wrongful death claim aims to ensure that those who rely on the deceased can have financial security and peace of mind after suffering a terrible loss.

Recoverable Damages

The kinds of damages that dependents and families can pursue differ for every case. However, some of the types of compensation that are frequently recoverable in wrongful death claims include:

  • Hospital Bills: if your loved one received medical treatment in an emergency room or ambulance before losing his or her life, you could seek reimbursement for costs related to the procedure.
  • Funeral Costs: you can seek payment for your loved one’s burial and funeral.
  • Future Income: families and dependents can seek reimbursement for wages and Income their loved one would have earned if they were still alive.
  • Pain and Suffering: these damages represent non-quantifiable losses. These damages are often related to emotional hardships such as the loss of a parent’s guidance or the companionship of a spouse or partner.
The Process of a Wrongful Death Claim

Filing a wrongful death claim often becomes complicated, especially if any parties contest their liability for the accident. Those seeking compensation may even need to file a formal lawsuit with a Napa civil court to resolve. Usually, your Napa wrongful death lawyer will first file a claim with the defendant’s insurer. If a settlement cannot be negotiated between all parties during this first phase, your lawyer will go on to file an official complaint and issue the defendant a court summons.

The pre-trial discovery process will begin once the suit has been duly filed. This process includes the following steps:

  • Interrogatories – These are mainly written questions. A claimant and defendant will both have the chance to send inquiries. These must be answered under oath by all relevant parties.
  • Depositions – This term essentially means an in-person interview. The defendant’s attorney will depose you, and your lawyer will depose the defendant and any other witnesses or parties associated with the case.
  • Requests for Admissions and Documents – Your attorney can request documents that are relevant to your case. These may include vehicle maintenance records, workplace safety documentation, product literature, etc. In addition to documents, requests for admission can be given to the opposing party. These require one to deny or admit particular facts related to the case.

Through this process, one should remember that settlement negotiations will occur between your lawyer and the defendant’s attorney. Often, the defendant’s insurer will initially make a lowball offer for the settlement and gradually increase the amount they are willing to pay as litigation proceeds. You may need to attend a court-ordered mediation to settle the case without taking it to a trial.

The case will continue to trial if an agreement cannot be made. During this trial, a jury and/or judge will be presented with arguments from both sides and asked to decide about the defendant’s conduct and how much money they owe to the claimant.

How a Napa Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help You

As you can read above, dealing with a wrongful death case can be long and complicated. Having a legal team can help you build and argue a successful claim. Things such as interviewing witnesses, reviewing medical records and finances, depositions, and filing legal documents with courts are best handled by a professional with adequate experience. Those who’ve lost a loved one should be able to focus on emotional healing while a lawyer takes care of their case.

An experienced Napa wrongful death lawyer will handle the case in a detailed, effective manner. Your lawyer can use relevant legal codes and statutes to negotiate with insurers. Once your lawyer has gathered all the evidence and constructed a compelling case, he or she will be well-equipped to argue your case in front of a courtroom.

The video below explains what wrongful death claims are and when to know if a claim is worth pursuing.

Call Our Wrongful Death Lawyers in Napa, CA

Losing someone you love can be difficult, especially if that person was lost suddenly in an accident. If your loved one or family member was killed by a party’s negligence, we can offer free, friendly, and compassionate case advice. Contact our Napa wrongful death lawyers as soon as possible by calling (707) 564-1900 or (800) 404-5400. See a list of our past cases on our verdicts and settlements page.

Editor’s Note: updated [cha 8.22.23] Photo: “flowers” by vlanka through cc0pixabay ms cha [cs 1020]