Monterey Wrongful Death Lawyers
Losing a loved one in an accident or due to an intentional act is never easy. Your entire world may turn upside down in a split second after unexpectedly losing a close family member. Additional complications arise when surviving family members depend upon the deceased individual for income, care, and companionship.
Fortunately, in California, surviving family members can file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit seeking various types of monetary compensation if their loved one died due to another person’s wrongful act.
Although monetary compensation can never replace a deceased family member, it can help bring about a sense of justice and closure and assist with financial constraints resulting from your loved one’s untimely death.
The experienced and compassionate wrongful death attorneys at Silva Injury Law can meet with you and determine if you can pursue a wrongful death claim or lawsuit. If so, we can file a claim and negotiate a settlement with the other party’s insurance company. We can also help you recover the fair monetary damages you need to become whole again, to the greatest extent possible.
For a free case evaluation and legal consultation with a Monterey wrongful death lawyer, please contact our law firm and speak with our team.
Can You File A Wrongful Death Claim Or Lawsuit Because Of Your Loved One’s Death?
According to California law, you may be eligible to pursue a wrongful death claim or lawsuit if your loved one suffered fatal injuries and died in an accident they did not cause. Several individuals are eligible to file wrongful death claims. Those individuals include a surviving domestic partner, child, or spouse.
If the deceased individual did not have a surviving partner, child, or spouse, other individuals can file a wrongful death claim. Those individuals include siblings, stepchildren, and parents, assuming they can prove that they depended financially on their deceased loved one.
If you are unsure about whether or not you are eligible to file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit, the skilled Monterey wrongful death attorneys at Silva Injury Law can review your circumstances with you and help you determine your eligibility for filing a claim. Our experienced legal team understands the wrongful death statutes in California and can help you maximize the monetary compensation you receive in your claim or lawsuit.
What Are The Legal Elements Of A Wrongful Death Claim In California?
Just as in a personal injury claim or lawsuit arising from negligence, the claimant in a wrongful death case has the sole legal burden of proof. The at-fault party does not have to prove anything in the case.
To satisfy their legal burden, surviving family members must demonstrate that their loved one’s death resulted from someone else’s negligence or wrongful act—or by some type of default or omission. Next, they must prove that this wrongful act was the actual and foreseeable cause of their loved one’s untimely death. Finally, they must show that their loved one’s death generated monetary damages, including funeral and burial costs, pain and suffering, lost wages, or medical bills.
In some instances, it may take an expert, such as an accident reconstructionist, to prove some or all of these legal elements. For example, an accident reconstructionist can review the events leading up to your loved one’s death and piece together exactly what occurred in the accident.
The Monterey wrongful death attorneys at Silva Injury Law can help you prove the legal elements of your wrongful death claim or lawsuit and work to maximize the monetary benefits you recover in your case.
Pursuing A Monetary Settlement Or Litigation In Your Case
There are essentially two ways of resolving a wrongful death case. One method of resolution is settling the case out of court. At other times, the case may resolve via litigation in court.
Settlement negotiations occur when insurance companies and their adjusters receive and review various documents about the case, including the deceased individual’s medical records, medical bills, lost wage documents, police reports, witness statements, and property damage photographs. If an expert, such as an accident reconstructionist, drafts a report in the case, their report and testimony can be persuasive evidence in the case.
If the insurance company adjuster decides to accept fault for the accident, settlement negotiations can begin, and the adjuster might place a settlement offer on the table. In most cases, initial settlement offers in wrongful death claims are far below the actual value of the case. Insurance companies want to see if they can settle the case for as little money as possible.
However, the Monterey wrongful death attorneys at Silva Injury Law can negotiate with the insurance company adjuster on your behalf, several times if necessary, to try and negotiate favorable settlement compensation. Some insurance companies try to resolve wrongful death claims because they do not want the time, expense, or exposure associated with a jury trial. Instead, they prefer to settle these cases out of court.
If the insurance company refuses to offer adequate settlement compensation to resolve your case, we can file a wrongful death lawsuit on your behalf and litigate your case in the court system. Even after filing suit in your case, you may still settle with the insurance company.
However, if the case needs to go to trial, we can present evidence and call witnesses on your behalf in pursuit of a favorable monetary award from the jury. As an alternative to a jury trial, you can consider binding arbitration or some other type of alternative dispute resolution proceeding.
Common Causes Of Wrongful Deaths In Monterey
A wrongful death occurs whenever an accident victim succumbs to their injuries and passes away due to someone else’s negligent or wrongful act. Some of the most common causes of wrongful deaths include car and truck accidents, bicycle accidents, workplace accidents, construction accidents, and motorcycle accidents.
Wrongful deaths can also occur due to a slip-and-fall on someone else’s property. These accidents typically happen when a property owner fails to maintain their premises in a reasonably careful and safe condition. If a property visitor falls on their neck or back, they may suffer fatal injuries.
Wrongful deaths can also happen because of medical malpractice, such as when a healthcare provider deviates from the standard of care or mistreats a patient, causing them to suffer a fatal injury or illness.
Finally, wrongful death sometimes occurs when a dangerous dog bites or attacks a person. California follows strict liability laws when it comes to dog bite incidents. As a result, a dog owner is automatically liable for the injuries that their dog causes, even if the dog never showed any dangerous propensities before and even if the dog never bit anyone previously.
The compassionate Monterey wrongful death attorneys at Silva Injury Law can help you determine if you are eligible to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of your deceased loved one. If so, we can assist you throughout every step of the process and work to ensure that you recover fair monetary damages for your loved one’s death.
Potential Monetary Damages In A Wrongful Death Case
One question that always comes to mind is the ultimate value of a wrongful death claim or lawsuit. Since all wrongful death cases are different, some will be worth significantly more than others. The purpose of a wrongful death claim is to compensate surviving family members for the losses they experienced due to their loved one’s untimely death.
Some of the most common types of monetary damages that wrongful death claimants may recover include compensation for:
- Loss of spousal companionship and consortium
- Loss of the decedent’s household support
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of the decedent’s care and companionship
- Loss of the decedent’s future earnings
Surviving family members can also pursue monetary compensation for the decedent’s burial and funeral expenses and any pain and suffering they experienced between the incident and their death.
There is no such thing as an average amount for a wrongful death settlement, arbitration award, or jury verdict. In fact, a loved one’s death affects surviving family members in different ways. However, after we evaluate the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s untimely death, we can give you an estimate of your claim’s potential value. We consider all of your losses before we begin seeking compensation.
How Long Do I Have To File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit In California?
As with other types of personal injury cases, a statute of limitations applies to wrongful death claims and lawsuits in California. Specifically, a surviving family member has two years from the accident date to bring a wrongful death lawsuit in the court system. This is a stringent deadline, and if surviving family members file their lawsuit even one day late, they will not be eligible to recover monetary compensation s for their loved one’s death.
Given this brief statutory timeframe, you should retain a Monterey wrongful death attorney as quickly as possible.
At Silva Injury Law, we can start to work on your wrongful death case right away and begin pursuing the monetary compensation you deserve to recover. We will file your wrongful death lawsuit well in advance of the statute of limitations deadline. We can then help you pursue favorable monetary compensation through settlement or litigation.
What Happens During Wrongful Death Litigation?
During the litigation stage of a wrongful death claim, several steps will likely occur. First, the parties will engage in discovery. During this time, they will answer one another’s written questions about the case, called Interrogatories. The defense attorney in the case will send interrogatories to the claimant’s lawyer in an attempt to find out more about the claimant’s claimed losses. In addition, the defense lawyer may take the claimant’s discovery deposition.
In addition, during litigation, the parties may attend one or more mediation or settlement conferences with the court. The purpose of these conferences is to see if the parties can reach common ground and resolve their case amicably. If they can resolve the case through settlement, it will end, and it will not proceed forward to a jury trial. However, if the parties do not resolve their case during litigation, they will present evidence at a jury trial. The jury will then decide what monetary compensation to award the wrongful death claimant in the case.
As an alternative to a jury trial, the parties may consider binding arbitration or some other type of alternative dispute resolution proceeding. The Monterey wrongful death attorneys at Silva Injury Law can explain all of your legal options to you in clear terms and help you make intelligent and informed decisions throughout your wrongful death case. We will do everything we can to maximize your total monetary recovery through the settlement or litigation process.
Talk To Our Monterey Wrongful Death Lawyers Today
If your loved one died unexpectedly in an accident, and you relied upon them for financial support, you may be facing severe complications after their death. As soon as possible, you should retain the experienced legal team at Silva Injury Law to assist you with every aspect of your wrongful death claim or lawsuit.
We can first file the necessary claim on your behalf with the responsible party’s insurance company and enter into settlement negotiations. If litigation becomes necessary, we can file a wrongful death lawsuit in court on behalf of you and other surviving family members. We can then take your case to a jury trial or binding arbitration proceeding and will do everything possible to help you maximize your monetary damages in the case. Reach out to a personal injury lawyer.
Even if you think your case is so straightforward that you don’t need a lawyer, you should never try to take on an insurance company alone. Insurance companies are often quite large and have considerable resources at their disposal.