Have you lost a loved one in an accident? Was your loved one solely responsible for the incident or did someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing contribute to the accident? Depending on the cause of the fatal injuries, you may be able to pursue financial compensation for your loss. Following a loved one’s death, families struggle not only emotionally, but also financially. Families are faced with grief and unforeseen expenses such as funeral and burial costs. In such cases, it is important that victims’ families understand their legal rights and options. Contacting a skilled, qualified La Habra wrongful death attorney is essential to moving throughout this step of the process.
A wrongful death is that which is caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing. In other words, if someone drinks and drives and causes his or her own death, it will not be considered a “wrongful death.” If, however, a drunk driver strikes and kills a pedestrian, then, the victim’s death will be considered wrongful and the at-fault driver can be held financially responsible or civilly liable for the victim’s death in addition to facing criminal charges. According to California Highway Patrol’s 2009 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were 62 deaths involving alcohol-related crashes in Orange County in 2009. One DUI fatality was reported in La Habra during the same year. Other examples of wrongful death include fatalities that occur as a result of medical negligence, defective products or nursing home abuse.
Who is eligible to file a wrongful death claim? Not all family members are able to pursue compensation. The claimant will have to prove that they suffered a physical, emotional or financial loss because of the actions of the defendant. The most common claimants include spouses, children, parents and financially dependent minors. Every case is different and potential claimants should discuss their case with an experienced wrongful death lawyer.
As with any personal injury case, proving fault and liability is critical and can be challenging in a wrongful death case. The family of a deceased victim in Orange County should consider hiring an attorney who will analyze all aspects of the case and determine who was involved. It may be necessary to work with experts to determine liability for the accident. Even in cases that appear cut-and-dry, it may be necessary to gather evidence, obtain key witnesses and prove who was responsible for the accident. It is common for either the at-fault party or their insurance companies to deny responsibility for the incident. In other cases, an inadequate settlement may be offered to make the claim go away. It is important in such cases not to rush to a settlement before all the facts are determined.
Value of a Claim
In most wrongful death claims, what can be obtained usually depends on the defendant’s insurance limit. One way to determine how much a wrongful death claim may be worth is to calculate just how much was lost in the accident. Did the victim provide financial support? How much longer would the victim have worked had the accident not occurred? A wrongful death claim can include the lost wages from the time of the accident until when the victim would have retired.
A wrongful death claim can also include coverage for medical bills and funeral expenses. A successful wrongful death claim can also result in compensation for noneconomic damages such as physical pain, mental anguish and loss of companionship. In some of the most egregious cases, punitive damages may also be awarded. No amount of compensation can replace a loved one, but a successful civil lawsuit can help support the victim’s family during their time of need.
The experienced La Habra wrongful death lawyers at Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys can help determine fault and liability and help hold the at-fault party accountable for the incident. Please call us at 949-203-3814 for a free consultation and more information regarding your situation. We will explore all avenues of compensation for victims’ families. We handle each and every case with care, commitment and sensitivity. Please contact us for a free, comprehensive and confidential consultation.