Chula Vista Wrongful Death Lawyers
What is Considered a Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death is when a death involving a loved one occurs as a result of the negligence or intentional reckless conduct of another person or entity, like a city or a municipality. Following this type of incident, you may be able to make a recovery for compensation.
At The Sexton Law Firm, the wrongful death cases we see are generally from car accidents, motorcycle accidents, and bicycle accidents. We also see cases of fatal accidents in the workplace. Generally, those are covered under workers’ compensation laws. Sometimes when a death occurs at work, there is a workers’ compensation case and a personal injury wrongful death case. This can happen if a person is killed as a result of the conduct of an entity other than a coworker or the company. For example, if someone was working in a warehouse and a company delivered a pallet of merchandise on a forklift, and the forklift driver caused it to drop on top of the worker and killed him, the victim’s family would not only have a workers’ compensation case, but they would also have a wrongful death claim against the company.
In wrongful death cases, it is common for public entities to investigate, whether it is OSHA (under workers’ compensation), highway patrol, or a police department. Often, the entities that investigate these types of accidents generate sufficient information, witnesses, facts of the accident, and documentation of the scene.
Witness statements are paramount. We handled a fatal bicycle accident case in which all the witnesses were against the bicyclist. Nevertheless, there were some facts placing a small amount of fault on the driver, and we were still able to resolve that case for a significant amount of compensation. California has comparative fault laws, so even in circumstances where it seems that one party was totally at fault, there is still an argument that the other party was doing something that somewhat contributed to the accident. Sometimes, even when the facts seem contrary, having an attorney can help you make some type of recovery by doing a full investigation into the accident and talking with some of the witnesses.
Recovering Damages in a Wrongful Death Case
The damages in a wrongful death case are a little bit different than personal injury claim damages. In wrongful death cases, the family is entitled to:
- funeral and burial costs,
- costs of medical treatment provided to the decedent person prior to their death,
- and damages for the loss of services the decedent would have provided to the surviving spouse.
It can also include things like loss of comfort, care, guidance, advice, companionship, consortium ,or sexual relations. You are also entitled to get other things you might not think of; for example, there could be issues of loss of pensions, loss of retirement benefits, and loss of medical coverage.
What is the Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death Claims in California?
In any type of injury case, there is something called a statute of limitations, and they factor especially in wrongful death cases. The statute of limitations for a wrongful death suit is two years from the date of death. However, if the at-fault party is a public entity or government entity, the statute is 6 months to make a claim.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claims?
Wrongful death law includes a statute that lists who the persons or entities are who are entitled to recover in a wrongful death case. Basically, heirs collect in a wrongful death case. Usually, the heir is the surviving spouse or domestic partner. In some other states, they do not allow domestic partners to recover compensation, but in California they do. Children and grandchildren may also be entitled to compensation.
If none of those situations apply to your case but you can show dependency on the deceased, you may be entitled to compensation under the wrongful death statute. There can be other people who are entitled to recover, depending on whether or not they have been dependent on the decedent. If you can show dependency, you may be entitled to receive wrongful death benefits in California.
Experienced Guidance Through Complicated Cases
The Sexton Law Firm can help in any type of accident case, including wrongful death. As mentioned previously, there are a lot of potential damages in wrongful death cases that are not available in a general personal injury case. The average person might not even think that they are entitled to recovery for some of these things.
Our Chula Vista wrongful death attorneys are very happy to help your family get the monetary compensation you deserve, as well as guide you through the other aspects of your case.
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