- December 29, 2018
- In wrongful Death
Losing a loved one is devastating in any situation. However, when the death is untimely and caused by the negligent or reckless actions of another party, it can be even harder for the deceased victim’s loved ones. Survivors may be able to bring a wrongful death claim against the negligent or reckless party who caused the accident and resulting tragic death.
If you have lost a loved one in an accident that was caused by another party, you may be entitled to money damages. Although no amount of monetary compensation will undo the harm caused and bring back your loved one, it can bring a sense of justice and closure. Hiring an experienced Orange County wrongful death attorney can help you get the full compensation that you deserve. The wrongful death lawyers at the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates can help! For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with an accident attorney, please call 949-727-9300.
Who Can Claim Wrongful Death Compensation?
The damages available in wrongful death claims differ from state to state. Many states “cap” or limit the amount and type of damages, especially in medical malpractice claims. California law allows legal heirs to seek wrongful death damages with the following order of precedence:
- 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.
- 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 descendants.
- Minors who lived with the deceased victim and who received 50% support from the victim at the time of the victim’s death. This minor must have been part of the deceased’s household for at least 180 days before the victim’s death.
Proving Wrongful Death Cases
In order for your Orange County wrongful death attorney to succeed in a wrongful death lawsuit, he must prove the following:
- Your loved one died as a result of the negligent or wrongful actions of another party.
- As an heir, you suffered damages as a result of your loved one’s death.
Wrongful death cases are generally more complicated than other types of personal injury claims. These cases are also typically more emotionally charged. As such, it makes it even more important for you to hire an attorney who is aggressive in getting the full compensation that you deserve, as well as compassionate to help guide you through these difficult times.
If your attorney can prove a successful wrongful death case, you may be entitled to compensation for the following:
- Medical and funeral expenses connected to the death.
- Loss of the victim’s expected earnings.
- Loss of benefits, such as pension plans or medical coverage.
- Loss of an inheritance caused by the untimely death.
- The value of the goods and services that a victim would have provided.
- Damages for the survivors’ mental anguish or pain and suffering.
- Loss of the care, protection, guidance, advice, training, and nurturing from the deceased.
- Loss of love, society, and companionship from the deceased.
- Loss of consortium from a deceased spouse.
Types of Damages
There are generally three types of damages available to survivors in a wrongful death claim: 1) economic, 2) non-economic, and 3) punitive.
– Economic Damages. Economic damages include the value of the financial contributions the wrongful death victim would have made to the surviving loved ones if he or she had not died. These types of damages include:
- medical and funeral expenses connected to the death
- loss of the victim’s expected earnings
- loss of benefits, such as pension plans or medical coverage
- loss of an inheritance caused by the untimely death, and
- the value of the goods and services that a victim would have provided
– Non-Economic Damages. Non-economic damages may be less tangible, but generally have more value than economic damages because there is no exact value that can be assigned to them. Examples include:
- damages for the survivors’ mental anguish or pain and suffering
- loss of the care, protection, guidance, advice, training, and nurturing from the deceased
- loss of love, society, and companionship from the deceased, and
- loss of consortium from a deceased spouse.
– Punitive Damages. Punitive damages are typically awarded by the court to punish the defendant for egregiously bad conduct. In some states, punitive damages are not available in wrongful death claims or against certain defendants including most governmental agencies. In California, a punitive damage claim can be pursued in a wrongful death claim if the decedent sustained an economic loss before death. The economic loss giving rise to a survivor’s action is often lost wages or medical expenses, but it can be any other economic loss the decedent had before death.
Time Limit to Bring a Wrongful Death Claim
Just like any other legal claim, you only have a certain amount of time to file a wrongful death claim. This time period is known as the “statute of limitations.” The general rule for timely filing a wrongful death claim is two years from the date of misconduct that caused the death of the victim. In some cases, however, the statute of limitations may be shorter than one year. Special rules apply to minors, cases involving fraud or intentional conduct, and cases involving governmental agencies.
Common Types and Causes Giving Rise to a Wrongful Death Claim
Below are some scenarios which constitute the most common types and causes of wrongful death lawsuits:
- Wrongful death car accidents
- Truck accident wrongful death
- Wrongful death motorcycle accidents
- Defective or dangerous products – product liability wrongful deaths
- Wrongful death in workplace accidents
- Premises liability wrongful deaths
- Dangerous drug wrongful deaths
- Medical malpractice wrongful deaths
- Aviation accident wrongful deaths
- Drowning or boating accident wrongful deaths
Regardless of the cause, a wrongful death lawsuit should be handled by an experienced Orange County wrongful death attorney to avoid causing additional pain to the surviving loved ones. Although no amount of money can ever truly compensate for the loss of a loved one, wrongful death lawsuits do provide a sense of closure and justice that many surviving family members find helpful for the recovery process.
Call an Orange County Wrongful Death Attorney
As a family member of a loved one who died in an accident, you may also be entitled to compensation. To ensure you get the full money damages you deserve, you need to consult with and hire an Orange County wrongful death attorney.
For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with an Orange County wrongful death lawyer, please call the Law Offices of Samer Habbas at 949-727-9300.
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