Fatal accidents can inflict unimaginable grief and confusion on surviving family members.
Some fatal accidents lead to devastating injuries that result in significant medical expenses incurred while trying to treat the injury.
Many surviving family members face the uncertainty of paying these unexpected expenses, along with grieving their loss. In California, certain surviving family members can sue the party responsible for their loved one’s death to recover damages.
Losing a loved one is hard enough on its own. You do not need to spend time worrying about paying your bills, covering funeral expenses, and handling medical costs. Contact attorney Mark Robinson, a wrongful death lawyer in Orange County, so we can help you recover compensation from the responsible party through a wrongful death lawsuit.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
When someone suffers injuries as a result of another person’s wrongful or negligent act, the injured party can file a personal injury suit to recover their losses.
When the wrongful or negligent act results in someone’s death, California allows certain family members to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of their loved one to recover monetary damages.
Wrongful death claims can arise in the following situations:
- Car accidents,
- Truck accidents,
- Bicycle accidents,
- Pedestrian accidents,
- Drunk driving accidents,
- Motorcycle accidents,
- Slip and fall accidents,
- Industrial accidents,
- Boating accidents,
- Defective products,
- Manufacturing defects, and
- Asbestos exposure.
These are just a few categories. The possible range of situations that could support a wrongful death claim includes any circumstances where a person’s death is caused by the intentional act, negligence, or gross negligence of another person.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Orange County?
California does not allow just anyone to file a wrongful death claim. The state’s wrongful death statute outlines the surviving family members eligible to bring a wrongful death action on behalf of the deceased.
Those surviving family members include:
- Domestic partners, and
- Descendants of any of the decedent’s children who are no longer living.
In limited circumstances, parents, legal guardians, and siblings of a deceased party can file a wrongful death suit. An Orange County wrongful death lawyer can help determine if you qualify to file a wrongful death suit on behalf of your deceased loved one.
Proving Wrongful Death in Orange County
Many wrongful death actions arise due to someone else’s negligence. The plaintiff bears the burden of proving that the at-fault party acted negligently and that negligence caused the deceased’s death.
Proving negligence in an Orange County wrongful death claim requires four elements:
- The at-fault party owed a legal duty to the decedent to act in a reasonably prudent manner under the circumstances,
- They breached that legal duty,
- The at-fault party’s breach caused the injury or accident that resulted in the deceased’s death, and
- You incurred actual damages as a result of the deceased’s death.
Remember, negligence requires proof of each element. If you satisfy the first three elements, but cannot show that you suffered any actual damages as a result of your loved one’s death, you did not prove negligence.
Even seasoned attorneys encounter issues proving that a party was negligent. Orange County wrongful death attorney Mark Robinson has extensive experience handling wrongful death claims and is not afraid to take your case all the way to trial, if necessary. Contact our office today to discuss your case with an Orange County wrongful death attorney.
Statute of Limitations on California Wrongful Death Claims
California imposes a two-year statute of limitations on wrongful death claims.
If you do not file your wrongful death lawsuit within two years of your loved one’s death, you lose your right to file the claim entirely. The statute of limitations period begins as soon as your loved one dies. Thus, if your loved one suffered fatal injuries in a car accident but remained in a coma for two years before they passed away, your two-year time limit starts on the date they died, not the date of the accident itself.
There is a limited exception to the two-year time period if the family members could not have reasonably known about their loved one’s death. In this case, the two-year clock starts once the family reasonably should have known about their loved one’s death.
Damages in Wrongful Death Claims
A crucial part of proving your wrongful death claim involves showing the damages you suffered as a result of the loss of your loved one. While no amount of money can bring your loved one back, damages can help you recover financially and hold the responsible party accountable.
An award in a wrongful death claim can include compensation for:
- Funeral and burial costs;
- Lost financial support of the deceased;
- Loss of future income of the deceased;
- Loss of the deceased’s love, companionship, comfort, care, protection, assistance, affection, society, and moral support;
- Hospital bills;
- Loss of training and guidance of the deceased; or
- Loss of benefits or gifts that the claimant would have expected to receive from the deceased.
A wrongful death award will not eliminate your grief. However, financial support can help you move on with your life. An Orange County wrongful death attorney can help calculate the damages you are owed and ensure you are adequately compensated for your losses.
Contact a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Orange County Today
If you lost a loved one as a result of someone else’s negligence, you might not know where to turn. Attorney Mark Robinson, a wrongful death attorney in Orange County, California can help.
Mr. Robinson has over fifty years of experience fighting for personal injury clients and has handled hundreds of civil trials. In 2018, he received the Trial Lawyer of the Year award from the National Trial Lawyers Association. Additionally, he was awarded the California Lawyer of the Year (CLAY) Award in 2021, 2018, 2010, and 1999.
Unlike some attorneys, Mark Robinson, Esq., will not shy away from taking a case to trial. When you have a wrongful death claim, you cannot go wrong hiring an experienced, aggressive wrongful death lawyer in Orange County like Mr. Robinson.