Yuba City Wrongful Death Lawyer
The death of a loved one is always devastating. It is one of the hardest things we go through as humans. Even an uncomplicated, peaceful, natural death results in grief and mourning. The feelings can be even more intense when the loss is compounded by the circumstances surrounding a tragic accident. Losing a loved one due to negligence can cause the grieving process to be complicated by feelings of anger, guilt, confusion, and even a desire for vengeance. It makes sense that accidental deaths caused by negligence, carelessness, or recklessness fall into a legal category known as "wrongful" deaths.
In addition to complicated grief, sudden, accidental deaths can leave surviving family members in a challenging financial situation, especially if the deceased was the household's primary earner. Besides the loss of income, there are expenses related to the funeral and burial to consider. During such a difficult time, money is the last thing anyone wants to worry about.
When death is caused by the negligence, carelessness, recklessness, or intentional conduct of another, the decedent's surviving heirs may be able to initiate a wrongful death claim. If you have suffered the heartbreaking loss of a loved one due to another party's negligence, an experienced Yuba City wrongful death lawyer can help protect your family's legal rights and work to maximize your financial recovery.Wrongful Death - Causes
Some examples of circumstances that could lead to wrongful death are:
- Traffic accidents: vehicular or bicycle/pedestrian
- Medical malpractice or negligence
- Slip and fall incidents
- Intentional acts/assaults
Investigating wrongful death cases can be extremely difficult and emotional for the surviving family. A thorough investigation, however, is crucial to the success of a claim. A skilled and experienced Yuba City wrongful death attorney can take much of the case-related stress off the family members' minds. The grieving process should not be needlessly entangled with questions surrounding the related legal matter. This is one of the many reasons why retaining a compassionate lawyer who can protect your legal rights is beneficial.Can Wrongful Death Also be Homicide?
While all homicides are wrongful deaths, not all wrongful deaths are homicides. Homicide is a criminal charge that refers to another person's intentional and unlawful killing. There can be a criminal case and a civil wrongful death claim for monetary damages from the same incident. However, most civil wrongful death cases involve simple negligence, which would not give rise to a criminal matter.
If there is a concurrent criminal matter related to the incident that caused your loved one's death, it is sometimes better to let the criminal case conclude before attempting to settle the civil wrongful death matter. If the defendant is found guilty of criminal charges, they will nearly always be found responsible for damages in the civil matter. Even if the criminal case does not result in a finding of guilt, the burden of proof is not as high in a civil matter as in a criminal case. That is why you often see high-profile civil lawsuits filed in cases even after a defendant was found not guilty at the criminal trial. Again, a Yuba City wrongful death lawyer can help you navigate these legal complexities and help you make the best decisions for you and your family.Who Can File a California Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Not everyone has the legal authority to file a lawsuit to recover damages related to wrongful death. Only those with specific relationships to the deceased can do so. Examples include:
- The surviving spouse or domestic partner
- The decedent's children
If there is no spouse and the deceased has no children, the law allows those who would have the right to the decedent's estate in order of succession to file a claim or lawsuit. This could include the decedent's parents or siblings. Please consult a qualified Yuba City attorney for more information about who can file a wrongful death lawsuit.What Damages Are Recoverable in a Wrongful Death Matter?
Both economic and non-economic damages may be recovered by family members through a wrongful death lawsuit. Economic damages are demonstrable and objective and essentially account for the financial expenses and future losses resulting from untimely death. Some examples include:
- Any medical expenses that the decedent incurred related to the injuries that resulted in his or her death
- Burial and funeral expenses
- Loss of expected and reasonable future income
- The value of the household services the decedent would have performed
Examples of non-economic damages that may be recovered in a wrongful death case include:
- Loss of love, companionship, and affection
- Loss of sexual relations (spouse or domestic partner)
- Loss of parental guidance (children of the deceased)
Documenting economic and noneconomic damages thoroughly and compellingly is crucial to a successful wrongful death matter. This is one of the biggest benefits of having an expert wrongful death attorney working on your case. Gathering all evidence to account for past and future economic damages is not an easy task and not one that it is recommended you embark upon unguided. The emotional task of compiling evidence to support the noneconomic damage claims is more challenging. A compassionate attorney can lead you through this difficult process.Is There a Time Limit to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
California has a two-year personal injury statute of limitations under which most wrongful death lawsuits fall. That means the claim must be settled, or a lawsuit must be filed before the second anniversary of the death.
There are circumstances under which that time limit is much shorter, only a matter of months. If the negligent party is a governmental or public agency, action must be taken within six months of the death, or the family could lose all rights to recover from that particular defendant.
Minors typically have more time to file suit - the statute of limitations begins to run once they reach the age of majority - 18 years old.
Because there are so many complexities to these legal cases and missing a deadline to file could destroy your right to obtain financial compensation, we advise retaining an experienced Yuba City wrongful death lawyer.
Watch the YouTube video below that discusses the grieving process.Yuba City Wrongful Death Lawyer
We are genuinely sorry if you have found this page because you have lost a loved one due to wrongful death. The grieving process differs for everyone, but the searing pain is universal. Our compassionate injury lawyers can offer free and friendly advice. If appropriate, we can then set up a no-obligation consultation to review your potential case's details. Do not hesitate to seek experienced legal counsel, which can help ease your mind of some of its burdens. Call us at (530) 392-9400 or (800) 404-5400. Please also review our Verdicts and Settlements page.