A wrongful death claim can arise from a variety of personal injury claims in California. When a person dies because of another party’s negligence or wrongful acts, the family can seek compensation under California’s wrongful death laws. Situations and personal injury claims that may give rise to a wrongful death lawsuit include:
- Motor vehicle accidents, including car, truck, and motorcycle crashes
- Medical malpractice claims
- Product liability claims
- Defective medical products
- Premises liability claims
- Bicycle accidents
- Dangerous drug claims
- Pedestrian accidents
- Dog bites and animal attacks
If you believe your loved one died because of the acts of another party, you should contact a Fresno wrongful death attorney to discuss the circumstances of your family member’s death. An attorney can help you seek justice for your family, and your lost loved one by holding the responsible party accountable.
Why Should I File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Filing a lawsuit will not bring your family member back. However, your family has the right to seek compensation for your loss under the state’s wrongful death laws. The laws are designed to compensate families for their loss when a party negligently or recklessly causes another person’s death. Losses include both economic losses (i.e. loss of income to the family) and noneconomic (i.e. emotional distress, mental anguish, loss of love, etc.).
The state’s wrongful death laws are not criminal laws. If the person committed a crime, that would be a separate case the state would bring against the person. Wrongful death lawsuits are civil. Because the justice system cannot undo the wrong committed by the person, the only remedy is to provide a way for families to seek a monetary award for damages and losses.
Filing the Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Before a lawsuit is filed, your attorney must determine fault. Fault is a crucial element in a wrongful death case. A thorough investigation will reveal how your loved one died and the exact cause of death. After determining how the death occurred, the attorney can identify the parties responsible. In some cases, there could be more than one responsible party.
For instance, if a driver ran into your loved one head-on, the driver could be a liable party. However, if the airbag in the vehicle failed to inflate because of a defect, this defect could have contributed to the cause of death. If so, the manufacturer of the airbag or the vehicle could be partly responsible. The attorney will name all potential parties as defendants in the lawsuit.
Once the lawsuit is filed, the process can move slowly in the beginning stages. Each party has an opportunity to respond to the charges in the lawsuit. After that, attorneys may file a series of motions and conduct discovery. Various parties may be deposed during the process. In some cases, the lawsuit may be settled before a trial. If so, you will not be required to testify in court.
However, if the case goes to trial, you will need to testify as to the pain and suffering the death of your loved one has caused your family. The jury needs to hear from family members how the death has impacted the family. Your attorney works closely with you to prepare you for your court appearance. It is understandable to be nervous about testifying in court. However, you want to make sure that the jury understands the full extent of your distress and the only way to do this is by telling them from the witness stand.
Contact a Fresno Wrongful Death Attorney for More Information
If you suspect a wrongful act caused your family members death, contact our office for a free consultation with an attorney. Torem & Associates handles California wrongful death claims arising from many causes of action.
Call (559) 500-5000 or 1-800-954-4444 or use the contact form on our website to tell us about your loved one. Our attorneys want to help your family hold the responsible party accountable for his or her actions.