| Read Time: 2 minutes | Wrongful Death

Wrongful Death Damages in California

Losing a loved one in a preventable accident is a tragedy that no family should ever face. However, each year, there are more than 15,000 accidental deaths in California. While there is no amount of money that can adequately make up for the loss of a family member, by bringing a wrongful death claim, you can recover compensation that will ease some of the financial burdens. What Are the Damages of Wrongful Death in California? A wrongful death lawsuit is a type of personal injury claim brought by an accident victim’s surviving loved ones. Typically, spouses, domestic partners, children, or grandchildren can bring a wrongful death claim. However, certain other close relatives can also bring a claim if they show they were financially dependent on the accident victim. A family can pursue a wrongful death claim after an accident caused by another’s negligence, including: Construction accidents; Slip and fall accidents; Accidents caused by defective or dangerous products; Motor vehicle collisions; Dog bites; and Medical malpractice. When it comes to wrongful death damages in California, there are two types: economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those that compensate loved ones for their “actual” losses. This includes the money they could have expected to receive if their loved one hadn’t died as well as the money they spent due to their loved one’s passing. For example, the following are common types of economic damages in a California wrongful death lawsuit: The financial support the accident victim would have contributed to their family; The loss of gifts or other benefits the victim would have contributed to their family; Funeral expenses; and The value of household services the accident victim would have provided if they had lived. Economic damages have an objective element to them, meaning they can be reasonably ascertained by presenting evidence, such as the accident victim’s income, receipts, bills, etc. Non-economic damages, however, are much more subjective. They seek to compensate family members for the less tangible emotional and psychological harms they suffered due to their loss. For example, some of the common non-economic wrongful death damages in California include: The loss of the accident victim’s “love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, and moral support”; A spouse’s loss of consortium; and The loss of the accident victim’s guidance. Every accident victim is unique, as is the impact that the loss has on their family. Non-economic damages allow a judge or jury to take these differences into account when determining the appropriate amount of damages. Contact an Experienced California Wrongful Death Attorney to Schedule a Free Consultation If you lost a loved one in a tragic accident, the thought of bringing a lawsuit may feel overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be. At Silva Injury Law, our dedicated team of personal injury and wrongful death lawyers have developed an effective approach to these cases. We focus our efforts on making the process as easy on you and your family as possible while pursuing the compensation that you need to begin the process of moving on with your life. We have a firm understanding of the wrongful death damages in California and do everything possible to identify the full extent of your loss. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with a compassionate wrongful death lawyer, call 209-316-3502 today. You can also reach us through our online contact form.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Wrongful Death

Wrongful Death Law California

When you lose a loved one unexpectedly due to an accident or negligent action, it can take a significant toll on your emotional and financial wellbeing. Wrongful death law in California recognizes this and allows survivors to pursue compensation from the responsible party in the form of a wrongful death claim. Here is everything you need to know about California wrongful death law and how our injury lawyers can help. What Is Wrongful Death? A wrongful death is any fatal injury sustained by an individual due to the negligent actions of another person. Typically, wrongful deaths occur under the care of a doctor. However, a wrongful death claim may apply to a variety of cases, including car accidents, dog bites, and more. Surviving family members of the deceased usually incur financial losses due to the death, and these expenses can be recovered through a wrongful death claim. Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in California? Under CCP § 377.60, all possible heirs may file a wrongful death claim, including the spouse, domestic partner, or children of the deceased. However, California law only allows one wrongful death claim to be brought against the responsible person. This means that all heirs must join the same lawsuit. The court bars any heir that doesn’t join the lawsuit from receiving any portion of the judgment. To avoid unfairness, the heirs filing the wrongful death suit must also include any known heirs in their claim. If the original claimant omits any of the known heirs of the deceased, they may be held responsible.  Statute of Limitations Under California Wrongful Death Law The statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim in California has three deadlines depending on the circumstances of the case. For most cases, including car accidents or premises liability, the lawsuit must be filed within two years of injury or death.  For medical malpractice cases, the statute of limitations differs. According to CCP § 340.5, any action against a health care provider for their negligence must be filed within three years from the date of the injury or one year after the patient discovers the injury, whichever comes first.  If a government entity or employee causes the wrongful death, you must first file a claim with the government agency before pursuing a lawsuit. Under the California Tort Claims Act, the claimant must file a claim within six months of the incident. Afterward, the government has 45 days to conduct its investigation and attempt to settle the claim. If the government rejects your claim or does not take any action, you may file a lawsuit.  The amount of time you have to file depends on whether you received a “right to sue” letter from the government entity. If you receive a letter, you have six months from the postmark or delivery of the letter to bring a lawsuit. However, if the government doesn’t respond to your initial claim within 45 days, you have two years from the date of the injury to sue. Contact Our Wrongful Death Attorneys in California Today Losing a loved one is hard, but you don’t have to go through it alone. At Silva Injury Law, Inc. we advocate for families who have lost a loved one due to another person’s negligence. Using our knowledge of California wrongful death law, we manage all the aspects of the case and fight for your family’s needs. We are here for you every step of the way. To schedule a consultation, call one of our offices or contact us online.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Wrongful Death

Survival Action in California

When someone survives their injuries due to another person’s negligence, chances are they may file an injury case against the one responsible. However, some victims may die before they can seek compensation, leaving families emotionally and financially devastated. By filing a survival action in California, the head of the victim’s estate can pursue the compensation owed to the victim before their death on their behalf. What Are Survival Action Claims in California? In California, a survival action is any personal injury claim that the deceased filed or could have filed before their death. In many cases, the survival action will relate to the accident that caused the person’s death, but not necessarily. For example, someone may suffer injuries in a non-fatal car accident and then die of an unrelated heart attack a year later before they have a chance to seek compensation for the car accident. A survival action would allow their estate to collect damages they would have been able to seek from the car accident if they had lived. Under CCP 377.30, the representative of the deceased’s estate may file a survival action. In many cases, this representative is a successor-in-interest named in the deceased’s will or trust. While this is sometimes a family member of the deceased, it may also be a close friend, lawyer, or financial manager. However, survival actions may only be filed if the deceased didn’t immediately die from their injuries. Recoverable Damages in California Survival Action Under California Law, a survival action allows the estate to seek limited compensation for the deceased’s injuries. CCP 377.34 states that the representative may pursue economic and punitive damages sustained by the deceased before their death. Non-economic losses, such as disfigurement, loss of quality of life, or pain and suffering, are not included.  Despite these limitations, there are several economic damages that a representative may pursue in a survival action, including but not limited to: Medical bills for the treatment of the deceased before their death; Damage to the deceased’s property related to their injuries; and  Lost wages of the deceased between the date of injury and death. Depending on the nature of the incident, the court may decide to award punitive damages as well. However, this is only in cases where the defendant showed a willful, reckless disregard for the safety or rights of others.  Survival Action California Statute of Limitations The statute of limitations for a survival action in California is slightly different from a wrongful death case. Under CCP 366.1, as long as the statute of limitations had not yet expired by the time of the person’s death, a survival action may be brought either within six months after the victim’s death or two years from the date of the injury, whichever comes last. Consider the following example of the statute of limitations: On January 1, 2021, John gets into a car accident with a drunk driver and suffers a traumatic brain injury. Although he survived the initial incident, John’s injury leads to a series of strokes, which eventually send him to the hospital one year later. In January 2022, one year after receiving his injuries, John dies from a stroke at the hospital. Based on this fact, his estate has until January 1, 2023, to file a survival action. In this case, since the victim died only one year after their injury, the estate has two years from the date of injury to file the claim. If the victim died on December 1, 2022 instead—23 months after the injury—the estate would have until June 1, 2023 to file, six months after the death. Lost a Loved One Due to Another’s Actions? We Can Help If you’ve lost a loved one due to a wrongful death or other personal injury, you don’t need to fight it alone. At Silva Injury Law, Inc., our experienced wrongful death attorneys treat you like family. While money cannot replace the comfort and presence of a loved one, we passionately pursue the compensation your family needs. To schedule a consultation, call us or contact us online today. We proudly serve clients throughout California from our offices in Monterey, Modesto, Merced, and Turlock.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Wrongful Death

The Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations in California

Every state has its own wrongful death statute, and every state sets its own wrongful death statute of limitations. The wrongful death statute of limitations in California includes several exceptions that sometimes apply. Don’t assume that an exception will apply without talking to your lawyer first, however. The California Wrongful Death Statute When someone suffers an injury because of another person’s wrongful behavior, the injured person can file a personal injury lawsuit. But what happens if the injured person dies? After all, a dead person cannot file a lawsuit. The California wrongful death statute provides a monetary remedy for surviving relatives and certain financial dependents of the deceased in these situations. The law even provides for intangible damages, such as compensation for loss of companionship. etc.   What the California Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations Does The California wrongful death statute of limitations is like a countdown that begins running on the date that the victim dies. The general rule (which is riddled with exceptions) is that the countdown is set at two years. In other words, you must file a wrongful death claim in the appropriate court within two years of the death of the victim. If you don’t, and if no exception applies, the court will permanently dismiss your lawsuit. Effect on Settlement Negotiations The defendant (or the insurance company) would just love for you to remain asleep at wheel until the statute of limitations deadline has passed. Once that happens, you cannot file a suit to enforce your claim. Once the threat of a lawsuit is gone, the defendant has no motivation or reason to settle your claim. You can expect the defendant to withdraw from settlement negotiations as soon as the statute of limitations deadline passes with no lawsuit filed. Exceptions Let’s take a look at some exceptions to the California two-year statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim. Medical Malpractice Claims Suppose your loved one died because the doctor negligently prescribed the wrong medication. In that case, the wrongful death statute of limitations would be three years after the victim’s death, or one year after the plaintiff reasonably should have discovered the negligent prescription, whichever comes first. The Discovery Rule The wrongful death statute of limitations countdown normally starts ticking on the day the victim dies. If the potential plaintiffs (relatives and financial dependents) do not learn of the cause of the victim’s death immediately, however, the countdown doesn’t begin until they actually learn the cause of death. Once the cause is ascertained, the clock begins to tick. Government Entity Defendant When a government entity such as a school district is the defendant, the statute of limitations is only six months after the victim’s death. The Plaintiff Is a Minor Who Lost a Parent When the plaintiff is a minor suing for the loss of a parent, the minor has until their 20th birthday to file a California wrongful death claim. Act Quickly—Don’t Let Your Claim Grow Stale Silva Injury Law, Inc. consists of wrongful death lawyer Michael Joe Silva along with partners Cassidy Jensen and Tanner Combs. Together we have successfully represented many wrongful death claimants. Our record of winning at trial has a way of convincing defendants to settle out of court with our clients. If you are the close relative or a financial dependent of a loved one who died as a result of someone else’s misconduct, contact Silva Injury Law today. Telephone us at (209) 600-0874 or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Wrongful Death

How Much to Expect from a Wrongful Death Settlement in California

Losing someone you love is devastating, especially when another party’s negligence caused their death.  Eligible surviving family members may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault parties. While no amount of money will bring your family member back, it can help with the unexpected financial burden you are facing.  Understandably, family members want to know what the potential settlement amount is. However, there is no average number that applies in these cases. Every case is valued independently. To learn what your case is worth, speak with a California wrongful death attorney. What Is a Wrongful Death Claim in California? In California, wrongful death lawsuits fall under personal injury claims. This law allows a deceased victim’s family the legal right to pursue compensation for their own losses. It is not a claim designed to recover financial compensation that the deceased was entitled to receive. That would fall under a companion claim known as a survival action. Every family’s loss is different, which is why it’s impossible to state an average figure for a wrongful death lawsuit. One case might resolve for $10,000, while another wrongful death lawsuit resolves for $1,000,000. At Silva Injury Law, Inc., our California wrongful death legal team will sit down with you and discuss the damages your family is entitled to receive. Available Damages in a California Wrongful Death Case Available damages in a wrongful death lawsuit are different from those in a regular personal injury lawsuit. Potential damages in a wrongful death lawsuit include: Burial and funeral expenses; Loss of consortium; Financial support the deceased would have contributed to your family had they not passed away; Loss of companionship; Value of household services that the deceased victim would’ve provided; and Loss of moral support. In a survival action, the estate would be looking to recover costs for medical expenses, property damage, and more. Note: California law doesn’t allow you to pursue compensation for a victim’s pain and suffering in either a wrongful death lawsuit or a survival action. Factors that Influence a Wrongful Death Settlement in California When determining the value of your wrongful death claim, we look at a wide variety of factors that can impact your case value. Unlike some other states, California doesn’t have a damages cap, which means there is no ceiling on how much a jury could award in your wrongful death lawsuit. Some of the most common factors that can impact your case value include: The victim’s age; How many minor children the deceased had at the time of death; The age of the minor children; The percentage of financial support the spouse relies on the victim for; The circumstances surrounding the accident; and Whether the deceased was actively involved in their community. These elements can also decrease a family’s potential settlement. Consider a case where someone files a wrongful death lawsuit for the death of a much older family member who had no surviving spouse or children and was nearly 50% at fault for the accident. That case would be worth less than one where the victim left behind a surviving spouse and multiple young children and had no responsibility for the accident.   Contact a California Wrongful Death Lawyer If someone else’s negligence resulted in a family member’s death, you could be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit in California. Don’t attempt to handle the claim on your own. These can become complicated matters to resolve. Instead, let the skilled legal team at Silva Injury Law, Inc. assist you. We have years of experience with all types of personal injury claims, including wrongful death lawsuits. We understand the nuances of these legal matters and will fight to get you the maximum compensation possible. To learn more about how we can help, contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Negligence

Electrocution & Electric Burn Injury Claims in California

Electrocution and electrical burns are regarded as damage that occurs to either the skin or internal organs following a person’s direct contact with an electrical current. Electrocution is the fifth leading cause of work-related injury deaths throughout the United States. Even when the victim does not die, they may experience severe burns, heart attacks, broken bone, busies, and spinal and neurological damage. Electrocution deaths and injuries are most likely to happen to utility workers, electricians, and individuals who work in the construction industry. However, it is possible for anyone to suffer an injury or wrongful death through electrocution and electric burns. If you or a loved one has suffered as a result of an electrocution, reach out to an attorney at Silva Injury Law. An attorney can assess your case and help determine if the electrocution or burn was due to another party’s negligence, and if so, can seek compensation for your damages. HOW ELECTRICTY CAN DAMAGE THE BODY Electrical burns are a result of electrocution. These burns are different from both chemical and thermal burns, as they cause subdermal damage. While electrical burns can cause surface damage, they often damage tissues deep under the skin. These burns can result in a wide range of damages, and in the extreme can cause shock to the brain, injuries to other organs, and even strain to the heart that may lead to death. In addition to damage to the skin, body systems which can be damaged include: Cardiovascular system: The heart is at risk for experiencing severe trauma due to electrocution. It is common for electrocution to result in asystole, which is when there is an absence of cardiac rhythm. This is also known as ventricular fibrillation, which can create rhythms that can be fatal is not treated promptly. Central nervous system: When the current from electricity passes through the body, this can damage both the spinal court and the brain. When this happens, the victim may be unconscious, experience amnesia or be confused about what happened. Long term issues such as psychiatric problems, delayed spinal cord issues, seizures, and damage to the brain and peripheral nerves may occur. Respiratory system: While the lungs are not commonly damaged by electrical currents, injuries can result when a current passes through eh chest or through the brain area that controls breathing. This can lead to difficulty breathing. Musculoskeletal system: Following electrocution, the muscles can suffer damage as a result of the prolonged tetany that can lead to kidney damage and even rhabdomyolysis. ELECTRICAL ACCIDENTS IN THE HOME Electrical burns and electrocution can happen in a variety of ways. They can take place in the workplace as well as in residential areas and in homes. Examples include: When high voltage power lines are left hanging low near homes When construction professionals or contractors making in-home repairs are negligent and leave power cords near water or fail to cut the power while making repairs. Defective products in the home, such as curling irons, power tools and hair dryers can also cause electrical injuries. REACH OUT TO AN ATTORNEY IF YOU HAVE SUFFERED AN INJURY DUE TO ELECTRICAL BURNS If you or a family member has suffered from an electrical burn, reach out to an attorney. Electrical injury and electrocution cases can be extremely complex and often require special expertise. An attorney can best ensure you receive any and all compensation you deserve for your injuries and suffering.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Personal Injury

Can Family Members Sue For Wrongful Death In California?

                          Family members can recover damages when a close relative has died due to a wrongful act that results in death. You can bring a claim for wrongful death in California within two years of the injury that caused the death. Wrongful death cases in California are complicated, so it’s important to work with an experienced Turlock, Monterey, Modesto, or Merced, California Wrong Death attorney that can properly assert your claim and collect the highest possible amount of compensation for your loss.   Who Can Bring A Wrong Death Claim In California? The California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP,) Section 377.60 specifies that the following family members have standing to assert a claim for wrongful death: A surviving spouse or domestic partner; Children; Grandchildren, but only if the if all the children are diseased; Stepchildren, but only if they were financially dependent on the deceased; Other parties that can show they would be entitled to collect money from the deceased person’s estate.   What Types of Cases Give Rise To Wrongful Death Claims? Any type of case that is based on negligence, recklessness, or intentional wrongdoing can be the basis for a wrongful death claim. These are some examples: Traffic Accidents including car accidents, truck accidents, pedestrian knockdowns, hits and runs, and drinking and driving accidents; Slip and Falls Medical Malpractice Product Liability Sports Accidents Dog Bites   The laws governing the specific type of case will apply. For example, the laws providing for “strict liability” for product liability and dog bite cases will also apply to the California wrongful death case.   California Wrongful Death Attorney An experienced California wrongful death attorney can collect money for families to compensate them for the following types of losses: Financial support from the deceased; Funeral and burial expenses; Loss of household services; Loss of love, companionship, and affection Loss of moral support and guidance   If the deceased died instantly, the claim is limited to wrongful death. If the deceased suffered from their injuries before they died, it is also possible to make a claim for pain and suffering. If your loved one was killed due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional act of another, you should call an experienced Turlock, Monterey, Modesto or Merced, California Wrong Death attorney to discuss making a claim.  

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Wrongful Death

What To Do When Mistakes Causes Death

When a mistake causes a person to lose their life, the family can bring a claim for wrongful death against the responsible parties. If the person was killed instantly, the claim is limited to wrongful death, but if they suffered before they died, there can also be a claim for pain and suffering. These cases are complicated because they involve not just negligence law, but also estate law. The case can’t be officially commenced until a representative of the deceased person’s estate is officially appointed. If you have suffered from the loss of a family member and you believe that it may have been caused by the negligence or recklessness of another, you should contact an attorney that has experience handling wrongful death cases.   Types of Wrongful Death Cases Wrongful death can be caused by any type of negligence or recklessness. Common types of accidents that can cause death are: Traffic Accidents – When the operator of a vehicle is reckless or makes a mistake that causes a collision; Medical Malpractice – When a medical practitioner, such as a doctor, nurse, dentist or physical therapist fails to use the proper standard of care; Slip and Fall – When a person that owns or controls the operation of a property fails to take reasonable action to keep it safe; Nursing Home Neglect – When a facility fails to employ reasonable standards to keep residents safe; Product Liability – When manufacturers of a product do not take reasonable precautions to ensure that their product is safe for its intended use.   How To Find The Best Wrongful Death Attorney When you’ve lost a loved one, it’s important to find the best wrongful death attorney to handle your case. This will involve finding an attorney that’s an expert in the type of negligence that occurred, and also in handling wrongful death cases.

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