Of all the outcomes that can happen in an accident, wrongful death is the most tragic. While the death of a loved one at any point is painful, when their death is caused by an accident, it can make an already sad situation that much more difficult. Often, the surviving loved ones have to scramble to make arrangements and close their loved one’s affairs, all the while trying to deal with and work through their grief.
Wrongful death claims can arise out of a myriad of different accidents. Whether your loved one’s death was the result of a car accident, an accident at work, or medical malpractice, it’s important to understand that you have legal options. While no amount of money can make up for the loss of your loved one, getting a measure of benefits and support available to your family can be an important step toward healing.
Free Consultations for Echo Park Wrongful Death Victims
Losing a loved one to an accident is an unthinkable tragedy. More than anything, surviving loved ones must be treated with compassion and care as they try to move forward with their lives.
The team of experienced, compassionate, and dedicated Echo Park wrongful death attorneys at Quirk Accident & Injury Attorneys, APC are proud to offer their legal services to your family in this time of need. We can help your surviving loved ones explore the full range of their legal options to hopefully regain some measure of normalcy. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more.
Accidents That Often Lead to Wrongful Death Claims in Echo Park
Part of what makes a wrongful death claim so tragic is that they occur unexpectedly. More to the point, death can result from virtually any type of accident, meaning there is a wide variety of different accidents and scenarios in which a wrongful death could occur, such as:
- Car or truck accidents
- Motorcycle, bicycle, and pedestrian accidents
- Defective products
- Exposure to toxic chemicals
- Burn injuries
- Medical malpractice
- Workplace accidents
Legally speaking, wrongful death claims result when there is evidence that proves:
- The person would not have died if not for the wrongdoing or negligence of another person.
A typical wrongful death accident can occur when a driver blatantly disregards a stop light while driving under the influence, causing a crash that results in the death of your loved one in the other car. Another example is when a surgeon operates in a negligent way or fails to provide reasonable care, leading to the death of your loved one.
Liability in Echo Park Wrongful Death Accidents
In establishing a wrongful death in California, courts will first look to see if the death meets the legal requirement for being considered wrongful. With that hurdle cleared, they will then look to determine liability.
Like other injury claims, determining liability in a wrongful death claim relies on establishing negligence. Negligence, in legal terms, has four elements:
- A legal duty owed to the deceased person by the person that caused the accident or intentionally harmed them.
- Breach of that duty by the person
- Your loved one dying as a result of the accident or intentionally harmful act.
- Proving that the at-fault person or company breached its duty and caused the accident that resulted in your loved one’s death (also known as “proximate cause”).
With the negligence established, there are a number of different parties that could be held liable for wrongful death:
- A person that caused the car accident that resulted in your loved one’s death
- A company that forced your loved one to work in unsafe or dangerous conditions
- A doctor or surgeon that failed to exercise a reasonable level of care for your loved one
- The manufacturer of a defective product that caused an accident that led to your loved one’s death
Ultimately, liability will be determined by the circumstances surrounding the accident that led to your loved one’s death. At that point, the responsibility for providing support and compensation to the surviving family members will fall on an insurance company.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in California?
California law is clear on which family members can file wrongful death claims. Under the law, a wrongful death claim can be filed by the deceased person’s:
- Surviving spouse
- Surviving domestic partner
- Surviving offspring
In some cases, the deceased person may have no surviving spouse or children. In these instances, a claim can be filed by any person that would be entitled to the property of the deceased based on “intestate succession”, which means dying without a will.
This opens the claim up to include:
- Common law spouses and their children
Understanding who can file a wrongful death claim is only one part of the equation. While the ultimate goal of a wrongful death claim is to try to recover support, there are certain factors that the insurance company will look at in determining the value of any wrongful death claim.
What Factors Into a Wrongful Death in Echo Park?
While it may seem painful to think of losing your loved one, the reality is that there are certain factors that play into how much support and benefits you can recover in an Echo Park wrongful death claim. Another way of looking at it is the base-level data that the at-fault person’s insurance company will factor into any claim. This data includes:
- Dependents’ age and circumstances
- Income at the time of death
- Earning capacity
- Education and training
- State of health
- Medical expenses incurred
- Funeral costs
- Value of benefits lost
While tragic, wrongful death claims are much like other injury claims in that the circumstances that went into them are totally unique. Still, determining the value depends on not only the above factors but the circumstances of the particular accident that caused the death. Furthermore, the at-fault person’s insurance company will be the ultimate authority on placing a final number on your loved one’s wrongful death claim.
Should You File a Wrongful Death Claim in Echo Park?
Whether or not to file a wrongful death claim depends on the specific circumstances of your loved one’s death and the objectives of the people that are considering filing the claim. If your loved one has died as a result of someone else’s negligence or misconduct, a wrongful death claim can provide you with a measure of justice and financial support for expenses related to your loved one’s death.
Generally, these expenses are usually calculated from the time of death until the end of your loved one’s expected life span had the injury or accident not occurred. As a result, the types of losses that you can seek may include the following:
- The loss of the deceased person’s financial support and ability to work.
- The loss of the deceased person’s companionship.
- Mental pain and suffering.
- The loss of parental companionship, instruction, and guidance.
Specifically, a wrongful death claim can recover the following damages from the at-fault party’s insurance company:
- Lost wages, benefits, and other earnings.
- The value of earnings and benefits the deceased person could have expected to retain.
- Medical and funeral expenses that were paid directly by the family or estate.
California Statute of Limitations
Like other claims in California, a wrongful death claim has to be filed within the statute of limitations. A statute of limitations is simply a time limit by which you can file a claim. In California, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim is two years from the date of death. Failing to file a claim within this time frame could mean that you miss out on recovering support.
Wrongful Death Lawyers Serving Echo Park
When you lose a loved one in an accident, it is devastating. Wrongful deaths are unthinkable tragedies that can occur without warning or the opportunity to prepare for the aftermath. In these situations, the guidance and support of our Echo Park wrongful death attorneys can be vital to your ability to heal.
At Quirk Accident & Injury Attorneys, we have seen firsthand how difficult and painful a wrongful death claim can be. That’s why we strive to provide our top-rated legal services to these victims, providing them with the legal and emotional support they need.
We want to help you in this extremely challenging time. Contact us today for a free consultation.