The death of a person can have a devastating and long-lasting impact on the family and beneficiaries they leave behind. Apart from the emotional aspects of mourning the loss of the deceased, beneficiaries have other practical concerns they must deal with after the death of their loved one. If the deceased was the breadwinner in the household, their beneficiaries are now left without a source of income crucial to the sustenance of the family. If the deceased had young children, those children are denied the love and affection they would have received from that parent. When a person dies because of the negligent or wrongful actions of another person or entity, their beneficiaries may be entitled to compensation for the death of their loved one. If you have lost a family member because of the negligent actions of another person, the wrongful death attorneys at Hanson & Mouri can help you understand your legal options.
If you are looking for a San Bernardino wrongful death attorney, call Hanson & Mouri today at (951) 419-3199 to schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled wrongful death attorneys.
A wrongful death is the death of a person caused by the wrongful or negligent actions of another person. For example, a fatal premises liability case in San Bernardino is common, where the property owner has not kept their premises safe for other people. In such cases, the beneficiaries of the deceased can file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased, seeking compensation from the negligent party. A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action to provide monetary compensation to the beneficiaries of the deceased. Unlike a criminal action which is instituted by the state with the aim of punishing the negligent party, a wrongful death lawsuit aims to provide monetary compensation for the loss of the deceased.
In California, the following persons can make a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased:
A successful wrongful death claim can include compensation for economic losses, including:
The claim may also include compensation for non-economic losses such as:
Your wrongful death attorney will assess your case and determine what losses you can claim and the evidence required to prove the claim. In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded if the at-fault party’s actions were intentional or extremely reckless. Unlike other types of compensation, punitive damages are intended as a punishment and to deter others from similar behavior.
Many variables can determine how much compensation a family can be awarded in a wrongful death claim. The most common factors considered by an insurance company or the court include:
These elements can increase or decrease a family’s potential settlement. For example, a wrongful death case may have a lower value if it is due to losing a much older family member who had no surviving spouse or children and was nearly 50% at fault for their accident. In comparison, a case will have a higher value if the victim was young with a surviving spouse and multiple minor children who had little to no responsibility for causing the accident.
Whether the victim was partially responsible for the accident that led to their death can also significantly impact on how much compensation a family recovers. Under California’s pure comparative negligence law, a wrongful death victim’s percentage of fault will reduce the case’s settlement or award. For example, if a surviving spouse is awarded $500,000, but their loved one was found 20 percent to blame for their accident, the spouse will only receive 80% of the award, or $400,000.
In California, wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within two years from the date of death of the deceased. If you think that your loved one’s death may be the result of the wrongful or negligent actions of another person, you should contact a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. A successful claim requires time and resources to prove all the elements of the claim. A wrongful death attorney can take the legal burden off you so that you can focus on the emotional consequences of your loss.
Many types of accidents can give rise to a wrongful death claim. Some of the most common that occur in San Bernardino include:
Car accidents are the leading cause of wrongful deaths. Most fatal collisions are preventable and a result of driver negligence, such as texting while driving, driving while impaired, speeding, aggressive behaviors (e.g., weaving, running red lights, driving while fatigued, etc.)
Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. When a healthcare provider makes a significant error resulting in a patient’s death, they may be legally liable. Common examples of medical malpractice are misdiagnosis or failure to identify an illness, incorrect treatment, surgical errors, birth injuries, medication errors, and more.
Workers in high-risk occupations, such as construction, have an increased chance of being severely or fatally injured. If their employer failed to provide a reasonably safe work environment or another third contributed to the accident, the family may have a wrongful death claim against those responsible.
If a defective product results in the death of a consumer, the manufacturer, distributor, seller, or any other party involved in the distribution of the product may be liable in a wrongful death claim. A common defective product that results in fatal accidents are flawed vehicles or parts.
Grounds for a wrongful death claim also commonly arise from bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, truck accidents, and criminal acts of violence.
To successfully hold another party liable in a wrongful death case, the surviving family or the representative of the deceased’s estate must prove that another party’s negligence was the cause of the deceased’s death. Doing so involves establishing the following four elements of negligence:
Liability can be straightforward in some wrongful death cases, but it is not so easy to prove in others. The at-fault party will often try to shift the blame on another party or the victim. A San Bernardino Wrongful Death Attorney will be a valuable resource in helping you gather the necessary evidence to hold another party accountable for the wrongful death of a loved one. That may involve:
Many law firms, including Hanson & Mouri, accept wrongful death cases on a contingency fee basis. That means we will advance all costs associated with pursuing your claim, and you will only owe legal fees if you receive a settlement or favorable verdict. If you do not win, there are no fees for hiring representation. As a result, there is no out-of-pocket risk to you. On average, a wrongful death victim’s surviving family can secure two to three times more compensation even after legal fees when they hire an attorney.
If you have lost a loved one because of the wrongful or negligent actions of another person, contact Hanson & Mouri today at (951) 419-3199 to schedule a free consultation. When you call, you will speak with one of our San Bernardino accident attorneys who will assess your case and honestly discuss your legal options.