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Why You Need the Assessment of the Best Wrongful Death Attorney

This content about Wrongful Death Attorneys was written by a third party and does not represent the views or opinions of Haddad & Sherwin LLP, nor should it be construed as a complete and accurate statement of the law or as legal advice.  For better information about this topic, please contact Haddad & Sherwin LLP.

The passing of a loved one is never easy, much less when it stems from unexpected and irresponsible actions by another. A wrongful death attorney is a professional who usually helps the surviving family members of the deceased file a lawsuit and guides them through the process.

Car accidents, defective products, medical malpractice, and other situations where negligence caused death can be grounds for a lawsuit, but you should seek timely help from the best wrongful death attorney to learn if you have a viable case first and win it later. Here are some things that an experienced attorney can tell you about wrongful death. 

Wrongful Death Attorneys and Civil Lawsuits

A civil lawsuit is one where a citizen affected by a wrongdoing (plaintiff) sues the perpetrator (defendant) for the wrongdoing, and it is not intended to convict someone of a crime, but to award damages in compensation for the loss; in the case of a wrongful death claim, this would be the loss of a dear person, usually direct relative or spouse. A defendant might face criminal charges separately for the same wrongful death if considered pertinent to the case.

Not Anyone Can File for Wrongful Death in California 

In the state of California, it’s only the spouse, parents, or children of the decedent that can file a wrongful death claim. Other relatives (grandparents, siblings, putative spouse, or domestic partner, especially if they were financially dependent on the decedent) might have the right to file for wrongful death if there is no spouse, parents, or children. An institution, a company, or a government entity can also be held liable for wrongful death. 

The Statute of Limitations 

Two years is the most common statute of limitations (deadline) for a person to file for wrongful death in California; including accident fatality and product liability, unless a government entity is involved, in which case it is six months. For medical malpractice, however, the statute of limitations is three years or one year from the moment that the injury is discovered to have caused death.  

The Plaintiff and The Burden of Proof

The burden of proof that the plaintiff should meet is the same as the decedent would have had to meet in the same case. The plaintiff should demonstrate that the accused (defendant) had a duty of care (the responsibility for the decedent’s safety) and that they breached it, which ultimately resulted in death. 

Gathering records, eyewitness testimonies, reports, parts (elements from the scene where the death took place), surveillance footage among others, can be helpful in reconstructing the facts and proving that the breach of duty of care actually took place. Only the best wrongful death attorneys in California can guide you in gathering effective evidence. 

Economic and Non-Economic Damages

Statutes in California define the damages you can be awarded in a wrongful death case as follows: 

Economic: these include financial support, gifts or benefits, household services, and funeral/burial expenses. 

Non-Economic: these include companionship/society, protection, affection, moral support, guidance, training, and sexual relations. 

The amounts will be defined in court based on the life expectancy of the decedent/ the surviving member of the family (from the moment of the wrongful death). 

If you need further details about wrongful death before you file in court, you’ll need the help of an expert. Contact the best wrongful death attorneys in California and get an assessment soon.

Haddad & Sherwin LLP has a long, successful track record winning wrongful death and other serious civil rights claims for police and jail officer misconduct, throughout Northern and Central California.  Call or email us for a free consultation.

This content about Wrongful Death was written by a third party and does not represent the views or opinions of Haddad & Sherwin LLP, nor should it be construed as a complete and accurate statement of the law or as legal advice.  For better information about this topic, please contact Haddad & Sherwin LLP.