The sudden loss of a loved one can shatter a person’s life. When a careless act causes a family member’s death, it can be all the more difficult to comprehend. Although no amount of money can heal the pain brought about by the passing of a loved one, compensation can help mitigate some of the surviving family member’s financial concerns. Fortunately, California’s wrongful death laws allow people to pursue claims against those that negligently cause the death of another person. If you suffered the loss of a loved one due to someone else’s reckless behavior, you should speak to an attorney regarding your rights. Riverside wrongful death attorney Joseph Richards of Law Office of Joseph Richards, P.C. may be able to assess your losses and advise you of your potential damages. We have offices in Santa Ana and Corona, and we represent parties in wrongful death claims and other matters in Riverside and San Bernardino County and throughout California.Pursuing a Wrongful Death Claim in California
Numerous scenarios can lead to a persons’ untimely passing, including car accidents, physical altercations, medical malpractice, and harm caused by defective or dangerous products. Regardless of the precise cause of a person’s death, their surviving loved ones can often pursue damages from the party that caused their fatal harm.
Under California law, a plaintiff asserting a wrongful death claim must prove that a person died, the defendant’s negligence or intent to inflict harm caused the person’s death, and the family members left behind suffered monetary losses due to the person’s death. The plaintiff must also show that a personal representative has been appointed for the deceased person’s estate. Each element of a wrongful death claim must be established by a preponderance of the evidence. There is no exact definition for this standard, but it is generally understood to mean that the evidence shows that something is more likely than not to be true.
The law limits who can recover damages in a wrongful death case. Specifically, only the deceased person’s spouse, domestic partner, children, the issue of a child whose death preceded the decedent’s can assert such claims. If the deceased person did not have a surviving spouse, domestic partner, or issue, anyone who would be entitled to their property via the laws of intestacy can pursue such claims.
The putative spouse and their children, stepchildren, or parents who were dependent on the deceased party can also pursue wrongful death claims. If a minor who is not otherwise qualified to recover damages under California’s wrongful death laws lived in the deceased person’s home for 180 days prior to their death and relied on them for at least half of their financial support, they may seek damages via a wrongful death claim as well.Damages Available in a Wrongful Death Case
The law defining damages available in a wrongful death case merely states they must be just. Generally, the damages awarded in a wrongful death case aim to compensate the aggrieved parties for the economic and non-economic harm caused by the loss of the deceased person. Economic damages include the financial support the person would have contributed throughout their lifetime, the loss of any household services the person would have provided, and funeral and burial costs. Non-economic damages typically compensate the plaintiff for the intangible losses caused by the deceased person’s death, like the loss of care, companionship, affection, and the loss of the deceased person’s guidance.Discuss Your Case With an Experienced Riverside Wrongful Death Attorney
Some accidents only cause minor harm, but others lead to devastating injuries that ultimately cost people their lives. If you lost a loved one due to someone else’s carelessness, you might be owed substantial damages, and it is wise for you to meet with an attorney to discuss your potential claims.
Joseph Richards of Law Office of Joseph Richards, P.C. is mindful of the devastation the death of a loved one can cause, and if you hire him, he will work tirelessly to help you seek a just outcome. Our offices are located in Santa Ana and Corona, and we represent parties in wrongful death claims and other matters in Riverside and San Bernardino County and throughout California. You can contact us via our online form or at (844) 562-2667 to schedule a free and confidential conference.