Offices in Monterey & Santa Cruz, CA
Every day, we hear of people being killed because of another party’s negligence or otherwise wrongful actions. These unexpected deaths can be painful for surviving family members to deal with. The grief and devastation after such an act can be immeasurable.
While a loved one can never be replaced, the law offers some help for family members of those killed by a wrongful act of a third party. A person may be able to file a wrongful death claim and receive compensation for the damages caused by the death.
Wrongful death claims are separate from criminal cases, so it’s not uncommon for a person to be charged with murder or manslaughter and have to pay damages in a civil suit on top of that.
Elements of Wrongful Death
While the details of wrongful death claims vary from one case to another, there are generally at least three common elements:
- Negligence or other wrongful act. The death must be caused by another person’s negligence or other wrongful action. Examples include: a truck driver’s negligent or reckless operation of his vehicle; a doctor’s negligent treatment of a patient; or a company’s sale of a defective product.
- There must be a correlation between the person’s action and the victim’s death.
- The negligence must have led to some sort of damages, such as medical bills, funeral expenses, loss of income and future earnings, or loss of love, comfort, society, companionship, affection and moral support.
The law can be confusing, so if you think you might have a case, don’t delay in seeking legal help. Under California law, you typically have just two years to file a claim (but in some cases the limitations period is MUCH shorter – for example, in a claim against a government entity such as a county or state hospital, you have only 6 months to file a claim), so contact the Monterey & Santa Cruz wrongful death lawyers at Allen Law Firm today.
Types of Wrongful Death
Wrongful death can happen in many forms. Some examples include the following:
- Product liability
- Medical malpractice
- Car accidents
- Drunk driving
- Defective car parts
- Dangerous medications
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
Who Can Sue?
The persons entitled to bring a wrongful death claim in California are governed by Code of Civil Procedure Section 377.60. Most parties who file wrongful death lawsuits are the surviving spouses and children (or grandchildren) of the deceased. Domestic partners may also file a lawsuit. If there are no close family members, then more distant family members such as siblings, grandparents and even aunts, uncles and cousins may be able to file a claim. If a child died due to negligence during labor and delivery, then parents can file wrongful death lawsuits as well.
Contact a Wrongful Death Lawyer Today
If your loved one was killed in an accident caused by another person’s wrongful conduct, it’s important to take action. While contacting a lawyer may not be the first thing on your mind while dealing with the aftermath of such an unexpected tragedy, protecting your legal rights can help you recover compensation for damages caused by the death, such as medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, loss of financial support and more.
To file a wrongful death claim, contact the Monterey & Santa Cruz wrongful death lawyers at Allen Law Firm. We have more than 20 years of experience helping clients with their wrongful death cases. To schedule a consultation, contact us today at (831) 901-3901.