Whenever one party causes harm to another party, it can form the basis of a personal injury suit. This civil claim is a means for the victim to recover compensation for the losses they sustained due to the at-fault party’s actions. A successful personal injury claim in Stockton can yield various forms of compensation for the victim and their family, but unfortunately, not all personal injury victims survive these incidents.
If a personal injury is fatal in Stockton, CA, the victim’s family will need to pursue a wrongful death claim in lieu of the personal injury claim the victim could have filed if they had survived. Wrongful deaths can happen in various ways, and just like in a personal injury claim, it will be essential for the plaintiff to prove the exact cause of the death before they can recover compensation for the damages.
The Law Offices of David Davidi, APLC, can provide the legal counsel you and your family need when you are facing a wrongful death suit in Stockton. Depending on the nature of the incident, gathering evidence and witness testimony needed to establish liability could be much harder than you may initially expect, and it is possible for various complications to arise in any wrongful death claim. You are most likely to succeed with this type of civil case when you have experienced legal representation on your side, and the sooner you connect with a Stockton wrongful death attorney, the more likely you will be to succeed with your case.
The first challenge you will face in a wrongful death suit is proving the exact cause of the death and identifying the party or parties responsible for causing it. Wrongful deaths can occur from the various common causes of personal injuries throughout the state. A few of the most frequently cited causes of wrongful deaths in the Stockton area include:
This is not an exhaustive list of all the ways fatal personal injuries might occur in Stockton. The evidence you will require to prove fault will depend on how the death occurred and may include physical evidence from the scene of the fatal incident, testimony from witnesses who saw the death occur, and input from expert witnesses. If you can prove another party is directly responsible for causing your loved one’s death, this can form the basis of your wrongful death suit, and your attorney can help pursue maximum compensation for you and your family’s damages.
The objective of a personal injury claim is for the plaintiff to recover compensation for the losses the defendant inflicted. A wrongful death suit is similar but seeks compensation for the family’s losses. Like a personal injury claim, it is possible for a wrongful death suit to yield compensation for economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are more straightforward and easier to prove, and these include the direct financial losses related to the death. Economic damages you may be able to seek in a wrongful death suit include:
Once you have an experienced attorney working on your case and helping you calculate the full extent of the economic losses you can claim, you might learn that you have grounds to seek far more compensation than you may have initially expected. However, the bulk of your case award is likely to come from compensation for non-economic damages.
California law allows the plaintiff in a wrongful death suit to seek compensation for pain and suffering the defendant inflicted. While no amount of money can make up for the life of a family member, the pain and suffering compensation your family obtains from a wrongful death claim could amount to several times more than the total of your claimed economic damages. Your Stockton wrongful death lawyer can help determine suitable pain and suffering compensation to seek from the defendant.
The law limits eligibility to file a wrongful death suit to the victim’s estate representative or their closest surviving family members. If they had an estate plan and named an executor, this individual would be first in line with the right to file a wrongful death claim. Otherwise, the surviving spouse and children of the deceased are typically first in line with the right to file the claim, followed by surviving parents and other close family. If the deceased had no family, anyone who can prove a legal interest in their estate can file a wrongful death suit.
A wrongful death claim is a type of civil suit similar to a personal injury claim, meaning you must meet the statute of limitations or time limit for filing the case. It is generally advisable to start the claim filing process as soon as possible after your loved one’s death to have the greatest chance of success with the case. This will preserve the integrity of the evidence you may need to firmly establish fault for the death and to prove the full extent of the damages related to the death.
Once you have gathered all the evidence and witness testimony you need to assert liability, you can file your wrongful death case with the court. The court will review your submission and then send the defendant the forms they need to answer the complaint. At this point, the defendant may either accept liability and agree to settlement negotiations or deny fault and demand a trial. The majority of wrongful death cases filed in Stockton and throughout the state each year are resolved through settlement, as this will allow a defendant to save money on legal fees.
Settlement negotiations unfold privately at the discretion of the parties involved. As long as the wrongful death occurred from simple negligence and not any criminal action, settlement is likely to be the preferable method of resolving your case. Once the parties reach mutually acceptable terms, they can finalize the case, usually in a fraction of the time that litigation requires.
However, if the defendant denies fault for the wrongful death and/or caused the death through some illegal act, settlement may not be an option for resolving the case. If litigation is required for a wrongful death suit, the judge overseeing the case will have the final word regarding fault and compensation for the plaintiff’s damages.
A: The objective of a wrongful death claim is for the victim’s family to recover compensation that reflects the financial impact of the death and their pain and suffering. Your family could be entitled to claim more than you may initially expect, but you will need a wrongful death attorney to guide you through your case. They can help identify the various economic damages you can cite in your claim and assist in determining appropriate pain and suffering compensation to seek from the defendant.
A: The party responsible for causing your loved one’s death will face financial liability for all associated damages, but they are only likely to face criminal prosecution if they broke the law in causing the death. Egregious negligence or criminal behavior may not only lead to prosecution but also harsher penalties for causing fatal injury. For example, causing a fatal accident could mean the difference between a misdemeanor or felony DUI charge.
A: The proceeds from a successful wrongful death claim will go to the beneficiaries of the victim. If the victim had an estate plan in place at the time of their death, it might inform the distribution of the case proceeds; otherwise, distribution will follow the intestate succession law. The surviving spouse and children will be primary beneficiaries, followed by other close relatives.
A: The statute of limitations on a wrongful death claim in California is two years, and this time limit starts on the date the death occurred. Failure to file a wrongful death suit within two years of the victim’s death may mean losing the right to claim compensation from the party who caused their death. Two years may sound like more than enough time, but it is always preferable to file this type of claim as soon as possible to ensure you meet the statute of limitations.
A: There is no cause for alarm when it comes to your legal expenses if you choose the Law Offices of David Davidi, APLC, to represent your case. Our firm accepts personal injury cases and wrongful death cases on a contingency fee basis. This means you will not be forced to pay any upfront or ongoing attorneys’ fees for representation. We take a percentage of your final case award as our fee, but only if and when we win your case.
The Law Offices of David Davidi, APLC, has years of experience handling a wide range of complex civil suits, including emotionally challenging cases like wrongful death claims. When you choose our firm to represent you, you are investing in a dedicated legal advocate ready to provide comprehensive guidance and ongoing reassurance throughout all stages of your case. The sooner you reach out to our team, the more time we have to build your case, so contact us today and schedule your free consultation with an experienced Stockton wrongful death attorney you can trust.