The loss of a loved one—a spouse, child, or parent—is always difficult. But when someone’s negligence or recklessness causes a loved one’s death, it’s even more heartbreaking. Those left behind may struggle with anger toward the responsible party in addition to the pain of their loss. On top of the emotional impact of the death of a family member, there may also be a significant loss of income and, consequently, financial challenges.
Of course, no amount of money can bring back a lost partner or family member, but a wrongful death lawsuit can help fill in gaps from lost financial support and achieve some measure of justice for a victim’s survivors.
The Bakersfield wrongful death lawyers at Chain | Cohn | Clark have helped the survivors of many people who died through others’ negligence, including:
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A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil legal proceeding to recover financial damages and is different from criminal charges like murder or manslaughter. However, the survivors of a murder or manslaughter victim can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the perpetrator, whether or not the perpetrator is charged with a crime. For example, O.J. Simpson was famously found not guilty for killing his ex-wife and her friend but was found liable for their deaths in a wrongful death lawsuit and ordered to pay $33.5 million in damages.
A wrongful death is when someone dies due to another person’s knowing or negligent actions. In other words, a wrongful death is not a death by natural causes; rather, it’s a preventable death that occurs because of someone’s wrongful actions.
Negligence is the failure to take steps or actions that a reasonable person would take in a similar situation. In some cases, there is more than one responsible party. Proving negligence in a wrongful death case requires a plaintiff to show:
Chain | Cohn | Clark’s team of wrongful death lawyers knows how to collect and present evidence to prove your wrongful death case and either negotiate a fair settlement or win your case at trial.
Sadly, there are many common causes of wrongful deaths, including:
Chain | Cohn | Clark’s wrongful death attorneys are experienced in the nuances of all these areas of personal injury law.
The California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) Section 377.60 specifies who may file a wrongful death lawsuit:
In addition to this somewhat esoteric list of people qualified to file, there are other complexities to wrongful death lawsuits.
One such complication is the so-called one-action rule—the California Supreme Court has interpreted CCP Section 377.60 to mean that “all heirs should join or be joined” in a wrongful death lawsuit and that “a single verdict should be rendered for all recoverable damages. . . . [O]nly one action for wrongful death may be brought whether, in fact, it is instituted by all or only one of the heirs. . . . [T]here cannot be a series of suits by heirs against the [defendant].”
In general, California’s statute of limitations for filing personal injury lawsuits—including wrongful death lawsuits—is two years. In a wrongful death case, a lawsuit needs to be filed within two years of the date of death. There are some notable exceptions:
Once the statute of limitations expires, a wrongful death lawsuit will in all likelihood be dismissed by the court. Because it’s so important for a suit to be filed within the stipulated time frame, we highly recommend contacting our team of Bakersfield wrongful death attorneys as soon as possible for a free review of your case.
There are two types of damages available in wrongful death lawsuits (as specified in the Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions):
1- Economic damages reimburse a victim’s heirs for the value of the support they would have received if their loved one had not been killed. These damages include:
2 – Noneconomic damages attempt to compensate families for the intangible benefits of their relationship with their lost loved one, also called loss of consortium. These damages include:
If your loved one died because of someone’s negligence, let Chain | Cohn | Clark’s top Bakersfield wrongful death attorneys help you seek the compensation you deserve. Our lawyers will walk you through the process, step by step.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation evaluation of your case.
How much compensation will I receive for my wrongful death lawsuit?
Because there are many variables involved, no wrongful death lawyer can tell you exactly how much compensation you’ll receive in a wrongful death case. For example:
If you lost a loved one because of someone’s negligence, the best way to learn more about the potential value of a wrongful death lawsuit is to talk to a wrongful death lawyer.
What happens if the deceased was a child?
Parents can file a civil action for the wrongful death of their child. If the child’s parents are not living, the child’s legal guardians may file suit.
What happens if my loved one’s death resulted from a fatal accident at work?
If your loved one’s death resulted from a fatal accident at work, you can sue the responsible party. In most cases, the responsible party would be your loved one’s employer.
How much does it cost to hire a wrongful death lawyer?
There is no up-front cost to hire a Bakersfield wrongful death attorney from Chain | Cohn | Clark. Our lawyers work on a contingency basis; this means your attorneys aren’t paid until you receive a settlement or a jury verdict. Then, they are paid a small percentage of the compensation you’re awarded.
How will a wrongful death lawyer help me?
Wrongful death lawsuits are complex, and you don’t need any additional complications in your life as you grieve the loss of a family member and cope with any resulting financial stress.
Your Chain | Cohn | Clark wrongful death lawyer will investigate the circumstances and details of the accident or incident that caused your loved one’s death. They’ll compile evidence from things like police reports, autopsy reports, and medical records that can be used to prove your case in court. They may also find expert witnesses who can testify on your behalf.
Your wrongful death lawyer will negotiate with the responsible parties involved in the case—the negligent person or entity or their insurance companies—to try to reach a fair settlement. If they cannot reach a settlement, they’ll argue your case in court to win the best possible jury award.
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