Paul E. Lee has experience in handling Wrongful Death cases. If you or someone you know has been affected by Wrongful Death, a wrongful death lawyer is needed. We can help!
If a person suffers the loss of a family member, caused by the actions of another, a claim for wrongful death might be necessary.
Discussing legal issues and the future is often difficult during the trying time following the loss of a loved one, however, members of the family should seek the guidance of sympathetic, tactful, and experienced lawyers to ensure evidence is protected and the family is provided for after such an event that caused a lot of trauma and pain.
Successful and fair resolution to wrongful death claims require careful and skilled handling by an attorney who is experienced and knowledgeable in the unique laws and rules involved in making a claim, and what steps must be undertaken to recover all damages suffered by the bereaved family members.
Many times monetary recovery is only a portion of the legal action to be taken. If a lawsuit involves serious and obvious wrongdoing by an individual or a corporation, there is a larger responsibility to society on the part of the attorney to take appropriate steps to ensure the party responsible for causing the unfortunate death never has the opportunity to cause the same trauma and grief to another family.
AA-Accident Attorneys, has successfully prosecuted many wrongful death claims, recovering damages for family members, and forcing guilty parties to change the way they conduct themselves and their business.
Each state has its own laws under which a family member may claim damage because of someone else’s death. Many states’ laws follow wrongful death statues, thus the information that follows should be applicable nationwide, however, in order to ensure correct law is being used to analyze your situation, immediately contact AA-Accident Attorneys, for a free consultation to be certain you are able to make an educated decision about proceeding with a wrongful death action.
In California, the only claimants who are authorized to seek wrongful death damages are the people who would be the dead person’s heirs at law under the laws of the state. First in line are the surviving spouse, children, and surviving issue of deceased children of the decedent: these people have the right to claim damages “jointly and severally” — that is, they share a single claim for damages. If there are no such claimants, next in line are the person’s parents; then brothers and sisters; then the children of deceased brothers and sisters; then grandparents; and then their lineal descendants. As soon as someone has a place in line under this scheme, that person cuts off those people whose claim is less strong that theirs.
Another class of claimants, if not qualified under the first group, are the putative spouse, children of the putative spouse, stepchildren, and parents of the decedent IF these claimants can prove that they were dependent on the decedent at the time of the decedent’s death. A “putative” spouse is a person who can prove that he or she had a good faith belief that he or she was married to the decedent but was, in fact, not married to the decedent.
Yet another class of claimants exists under law. A minor who can prove that he was a resident of the decedent’s household for at least the 180 days before the death AND that he was dependent upon the decedent for at least 50% of his support at the time of the death can be a wrongful death claimant.
Where there is a claim for wrongful death, the claimant has not suffered personal injuries. Therefore, a claimant cannot successfully seek pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, or other kinds of damages which can be sought in a personal injury case. A claimant cannot recover damages for grief or sorrow, no matter how destructive that suffering may have been. However, the law holds that certain future emotional and economic interests have been destroyed by the death, and permits a wrongful death claimant to recover damages for those losses.
In California, juries are instructed that they can award a successful claimant three kinds of damages:
1. The loss of the love, companionship, comfort, affection, society, solace, moral support, and (if a spouse is a claimant) consortium of the decedent;
2. The value of the household services the decedent would have provided in the future, if any, and the value of the financial support which the claimant would have received from the decedent but for the death.
In some instances, a wrongful death claim can be joined with the claim that the decedent had against the person or entity whose negligence caused the death. A limited portion of the decedent’s claim survives his death: the action to recover those limited damages is often referred to as a “survival action”. In most states, the estate of the decedent has the right to pursue a “survival action”. In California, the decedent’s claim for pain and suffering, disfigurement, and any future damages dies when the decedent dies. In most cases, that leaves only the “economic damages” — medical bills, lost income, etc. — which existed before the death. However, a claim for punitive damages survives the death, and can make a large contribution to the recovery that might be available to the decedent’s estate — in the appropriate case.
Common challenges encountered by Wrongful Death claimants
A wrongful death claimant should seek a law firm and an wrongful death attorney experienced in establishing and proving wrongful death damages. The attorney should have the empathy, insight, and the skill to determine the damages recoverable in the action. The attorney needs to be familiar with the right experts who can evaluate the claimant’s losses, and know how to document and evidence those losses for a judge, jury, and/or claims adjuster.
One of the most important aspects is often overlooked by potential claimants when selecting the right law firm to represent them is the financial ability of the firm to successfully pursue the wrongdoer. Often, wrongful death claims require costly and time consuming litigation. Many small firms and sole practitioners are simply ill-equipped to advance the money and time necessary to successfully pursue a defendant with substantial assets, such as large corporations. The successful wrongful death attorney must be able to commit to the significant cost of very expensive litigation, and have the fortitude and perseverance to commit all his energy and resources toward obtaining a fair recovery for the claimant.
AA-Accident Attorneys, PLC lawyers are experienced in handling wrongful death cases inside the state of California. We provide our legal services in a number of areas like Riverside, Orange County, Los Angeles, San Fernando Valley, Pomona, Ontario, Newport Beach, Las Vegas and San Jose.
We also have adeptness to deal with any kind of accident case be it auto accident, car accident, personal injury and truck accident. Our attorneys completely understand that a crash can happen even if you were following safety rules. If your case involves the Federal courts, AA-Accident Attorneys, PLC has handled many personal injury cases that involved Federal court rulings for defective products and dangerous drugs. Call us today at 800-260-2577
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