Turlock Wrongful Death Attorney
A wrongful death claim is a civil action that can be filed by a deceased person’s family members or other close relatives against a party when a death results from a preventable accident or intentional act. Many wrongful deaths may lead to both civil and criminal cases, possibly at the same time, but civil claims are very different from criminal cases. Reach out to a Turlock wrongful death attorney.
Silva Injury Law provides compassionate representation of families grieving a devastating and tragic loss. We seek justice for you and your loved one. Call our office today to schedule a free case evaluation with a wrongful death lawyer in Turlock.
Causes Of Wrongful Death In Turlock
Silva Injury Law regularly handles wrongful death cases stemming from various kinds of accidents.
Some of the most common causes of wrongful death claims include:
- Car accidents. Most California residents rely on motor vehicles, and accidents are widespread. Unfortunately, many crashes are fatal.
- Motorcycle accidents. Motorcyclists are at enhanced risk of severe or fatal injury when involved in crashes.
- Truck accidents. Commercial trucks are always some of the biggest vehicles on the road, so any collision involving a large truck is more likely to cause a fatality.
- Pedestrian accidents. When motor vehicles and pedestrians collide, it can often result in severe injuries that can be fatal.
- Bicycle accidents. Bicyclists also lack protection in collisions, so their injuries can easily be fatal.
- Premises liability. Property owners who fail to correct specific hazards or warn people about dangers can be liable if people die because of these accidents.
- Slips and falls. A person who slips or trips and fatally falls can also make a property owner liable.
- Dog bites. Dog bites are rarely severe, but some attacks can prove fatal when they involve children.
- Livestock accidents. When vehicles collide with livestock, the accidents can kill not just the animals but the vehicle’s occupants.
- Drunk driving accidents. Drunk drivers often engage in risky behavior, and the accidents they cause can often be fatal.
- Distracted driving accidents. A driver may cause a fatal accident if distracted by a cell phone or other mobile device.
Another cause of death not listed above that can lead to a wrongful death claim is when another party purposefully kills someone else or kills them during the commission of a crime. These incidents typically result in criminal charges, but surviving family members may also pursue a wrongful death action against the person whose intentional act killed their loved one.
Surviving family members should be aware that many insurance companies will quickly offer families lump-sum settlements almost immediately after a fatal accident. You should never accept an insurer’s first offer before talking to an attorney. These offers are almost always a lowball amount specifically designed to allow a company to close out a case for as little as possible.
A strict two-year time limit (known as the statute of limitations) on wrongful death actions means people should quickly consult attorneys who can assist them in properly filing their cases.
Compassionate Wrongful Death Lawyers Ready To Help You
Silva Injury Law has handled a wide variety of wrongful death cases, so we understand all the steps to take but also how delicate some of the issues are for the surviving family. We are extremely sensitive to how challenging it can be for people to work through these types of cases. We will work closely with you so you can feel completely comfortable communicating with us as honestly and openly as you need to while we handle your case.
Our firm can begin by conducting an independent investigation into your loved one’s death and reviewing all of the available evidence while also working to secure any other evidence that we believe will be valuable in your case.
You can count on us to constantly update you on whatever progress we might make, and we will always take the time to explain what is happening with your case, so you are never left feeling as though you are not a part of the process.
You can also count on Silva Injury Law to take a primary role in the settlement negotiation process. We understand that many people wonder whether they can save money by negotiating their settlement, but this belief is often mistaken and often proves disastrous. The truth remains that most people who negotiate their settlements end up walking away with much less money than they might have recovered had they retained legal counsel.
Silva Injury Law understands that families are confused about many things after they lose a loved one. We can work closely with you to get answers to all of the most pressing issues in your life. We know that these types of cases can take a lot out of families, and we try to help people understand when we are making progress and how close things are to being finalized.
Overview Of California Wrongful Death Laws
California Code of Civil Procedure § 377.60 establishes that a cause of action for the death of a person caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another party can be asserted by any of the following persons or by the decedent’s personal representative on their behalf:
- A decedent’s surviving spouse, domestic partner, children, and the issue of deceased children, or, when there is no surviving issue of the decedent, the persons, including the surviving spouse or domestic partner, who will be entitled to the property of the decedent by intestate succession
- Whether or not qualified under California Code of Civil Procedure § 377.60(a), if they were dependent on the decedent, the putative spouse, children of the putative spouse, stepchildren, or parents
- A minor, whether or not qualified under California Code of Civil Procedure § 377.60(a) or California Code of Civil Procedure § 377.60(b), if, at the time of the decedent’s death, the minor resided for the previous 180 days in the decedent’s household and was dependent on the decedent for one-half or more of the minor’s support
California Code of Civil Procedure § 335.1 establishes that people only have two years to file a wrongful death claim. The statute of limitations does not begin to run until the date of a person’s death, which may be later than the date of an accident.
Wrongful Death Damages
California law sets out the damages that people can seek in a wrongful death lawsuit. Wrongful death damages usually involve a combination of economic and non-economic damages depending on the death.
Economic damages in these cases can include financial support a decedent might have contributed to the family during their life expectancy, the loss of gifts or benefits parties might have expected to receive from a decedent, funeral and burial expenses, and the reasonable value of household services a decedent might have provided, while non-economic damages might include the loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, and moral support provided by a decedent, the loss of enjoyment of sexual relations, and the loss of a decedent’s training and guidance.
Criminal Charges Vs. Civil Wrongful Death Claims
When a person dies because of another party’s intentional act or negligence, family members can be right to believe that the person will face criminal homicide charges.
Criminal charges in these cases often include one of three degrees of murder (first-degree murder, second-degree murder, or capital murder) or three degrees of manslaughter (voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, or vehicular manslaughter).
Importantly, a person responsible for the death of another can be acquitted in their criminal case but still be civilly liable to the surviving family members. Our firm can advise whether you have a chance at compensation despite a criminal acquittal.
Never Wait To Seek Legal Help
Our firm understands that legal action is typically not the first thing on many families’ minds upon a loved one’s death. Unfortunately, surviving family members should understand that certain actions need to be taken as soon as possible—such as reaching out for legal help as quickly as possible. In many cases, waiting can result in the loss or destruction of evidence important to your case, so it is best to reach out to a lawyer as soon as possible.
Silva Injury Law knows how hard it is for many families to deal with the sudden loss of a loved one. We can approach these issues in a manner that will make you feel most comfortable. We can relax when you require more time and move forward when you are ready.
Wrongful death claims can be much more challenging from an emotional perspective, so it is often more difficult for families to even reach out to a lawyer in the first place. Our Turlock wrongful death attorneys want you to have all the time you need to grieve, and we also know how to treat wrongful death claims with extreme care.
The unfortunate truth about wrongful death claims is that surviving loved ones often have to revisit accidents, injuries, or illnesses that caused deaths, possibly several times. When you hire Silva Injury Law, our firm will guarantee that you retain the freedom to grieve privately at your own pace, and all communication with an insurance company will go entirely through us.
Our firm knows how to negotiate settlements effectively in these cases, and we know insurance companies want to settle these cases because they do not want to pay to take cases to trial. We are committed to achieving only a settlement that covers all of the economic and non-economic losses your family is facing following the loss of your loved one.
As a surviving family member, keep in mind that there is always the chance that your case will go to trial. Our firm only takes cases that we are prepared to take to court, and our team of aggressive litigators will fight tirelessly to obtain a favorable result if we conduct a trial. In addition, we understand how difficult a wrongful death trial can be for the family. We do everything we can to protect our clients from reliving their loss while providing zealous representation.
What To Expect When You Meet With A Wrongful Death Attorney
The very thought of meeting with a lawyer after losing a loved one can be terrifying or cause severe anxiety. At Silva Injury Law, we understand how difficult taking this step can be, so we make it as easy and informal as possible.
Here’s what you can expect at your first meeting with our lawyers about your wrongful death case:
- The attorney will introduce themselves and ask you to tell your story.
- The lawyer will listen carefully and start to evaluate whether you have a claim.
- The attorney may have questions for you to better evaluate the situation from a legal perspective.
- The lawyer may give you a preliminary opinion about whether you have a case.
- The attorney may offer to take your case, at which point you will review a representation agreement.
Keep in mind that you are under no obligation to retain an attorney after you meet with them. In addition, you can take as much time as you’d like before signing a representation agreement. Finally, feel free to ask your lawyer any questions you may have—remember, your attorney works for you, not the other way around.
Call Us Today To Speak With Our Turlock Wrongful Death Lawyers
Was your loved one recently killed in an accident in the greater Turlock area of California? You are going to want to be sure that you are working with Silva Injury Law so you can have the most compassionate legal team possible in California working to help you get justice and make sure that the negligent party is held fully accountable for the death of your loved one. Reach out to a Turlock personal injury lawyer.
Our firm knows all too well how difficult it can be for families to tackle wrongful death claims, but we will take the time to thoroughly explain all of your options to you as well as the possible benefits and consequences of specific actions, so you will be fully informed and feel empowered to take the right move in your case. You can call (209) 308-8924 or contact our Turlock bicycle accident lawyer online to take advantage of a free consultation.