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The laws of personal injury deal with loss. When someone is injured by the actions of someone else, that person faces several forms of loss that are physical, emotional and financial in nature. The purpose of personal injury laws is to make that person who has been harmed as whole as possible. When it comes to sudden loss, nothing is equal to the loss of a life. When families find themselves dealing with enormous amounts of grief, sadness, shock and anger because a loved one has been killed by someone else, those families are often unsure of where to turn for help. Working through a sudden death of a loved one is more than enough to have to attempt to handle. People in this position need to contact the San Diego personal injury lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys as soon as possible.
For more than a decade, Gomez Trial Attorneys has been standing up for the rights of suffering families as San Diego wrongful death lawyers. There are several different types of cases that we handle, including wrongful deaths caused by:
A wrongful death case can arise from several different scenarios. Whichever way such a situation arises, you need to have your situation analyzed as soon as possible after the death occurs.
Few if any types of cases involve more actual financial loss than wrongful death cases. Below are just a few examples of the types of damages that could be pursued and recovered in a wrongful death action:
Every wrongful death case should be analyzed by San Diego wrongful death lawyers who have handled these cases many times in the past. Every case is different and each requires an experienced professional hand in determining the types of losses that should be pursued.
If you lose someone you love because of the negligence, recklessness or even the intentional acts of someone else, you face a very difficult situation. You have suddenly lost a loved one and you need to be able to focus on the grieving process so that you can move forward in your struggle to carry on with your life. This is not the time to attempt to work through the complicated world of wrongful death lawsuits. You will most likely be dealing with experienced defense attorneys and other professionals whose job is to limit the financial liability of the defendant or defendants.
The San Diego wrongful death lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys have been fighting successfully for clients facing this difficult situation for several years. At Gomez Trial Attorneys, we have extensive experience in a range of personal injury and wrongful death claims. Take a look at our past results:
Because every case is unique, we can not guarantee specific results in your wrongful death claim. At Gomez Trial Attorneys, we have an experienced team dedicated to helping our clients seek the compensation they need and deserve. Our attorneys will fight hard for the financial compensation your family needs after losing a loved one.
To file a wrongful death claim, you must have lost a family member due to someone else’s negligence. Several factors contribute to whether you have grounds to file a wrongful death claim.
To file a wrongful death claim, you will need to prove that someone owed the decedent a duty of care. Then, you must show the individual failed to provide that duty of care. You must show that the failure to exercise the appropriate duty of care lead to the incident causing your loved one’s death. In a nursing home neglect claim, for example, a facility may fail to provide adequate care. If their failure to provide adequate care caused a fall that ultimately led to your loved one’s death, you may be able to file a claim. In a construction accident, you might file a claim against the company that failed to provide adequate precautions at a construction site. To determine the parties responsible for an accident, you may ask:
Losing a loved one can cause incredible pain regardless of your relationship to the decedent. However, only certain relationships entitle individuals to file a wrongful death claim. Typically, the spouse of the deceased has the first right to file a wrongful death claim. If the deceased had no spouse, other family members may have the right to file a claim. For example:
In certain circumstances, the decedent’s estate may file a claim to recoup medical expenses and settle any debts.
If you lose a loved one, your family can file only one wrongful death claim on behalf of the decedent. If multiple responsible parties contributed to the accident, you may file a claim against each of them.
However, you cannot file separate claims for different members of the family. Instead, you will list the total losses among all family members in a single claim. If one member of the family files a claim or accepts a settlement, others may be prevented from seeking further compensation. To help prevent confusion, members of the family should work together to decide how to handle a wrongful death claim.
Two people who have lost loved ones in very similar accidents may receive vastly different compensation. The amount of compensation will depend on the maximum compensation set by the responsible party’s insurance company. When you put together your claims package, several important elements will help determine the amount of compensation you deserve.
To file a wrongful death claim, the decedent need not have died immediately at the scene of the accident. Often, your loved one may survive, sometimes for days or even weeks, before succumbing to his injuries. In these circumstances your family may also be entitled to:
When you lose your family’s primary breadwinner, you may struggle to handle your financial obligations. Your family may be especially affected if the surviving spouse does not work outside the home. As a spouse, losing that income can leave you unsure of what to do next. Financial stress coupled with the grief from your loss can be overwhelming. Others may also have financial expectations from the deceased individual. For example, children who required their parents’ support or adult children who needed assistance attending school. In addition, elderly parents may have relied on financial assistance from an adult child. Oftentimes, other elderly relatives may have also received regular support from the deceased.
In addition to their income, most individuals provide a wide range of services to their family members. As part of your wrongful death claim, work with an attorney to determine what services your loved one provided. Your attorney can help you predict how much it will cost to replace those services after their loss. Some service contributions that you may be compensated for include:
Carefully consider the services your loved one provided to the family before death. We know a wrongful death claim cannot replace your loved one. However, it can enable you to replace some of the services they provided to your family. When a loved one is taken from you due to another’s negligence, you and your family deserve to maintain the quality of life you enjoyed before the loss of a loved one.
The loss of a loved one creates a void that many families struggle to fill. While you may have difficulty quantifying that loss, by working with an attorney, you can get a better picture of what compensation you deserve. You may be compensated for the loss of your loved one’s presence in your life. Damages might include:
When someone dies in an accident, insurance adjusters know the company needs to provide compensation to the decedent’s family. Often, insurance companies will provide families with settlement offers shortly after your loved one’s death. You will likely be tempted by their offer. However, always consult with an attorney before accepting. You may discover that the insurance company did not offer adequate compensation for your loss. An attorney can help you negotiate a higher settlement amount to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
An attorney can assist you in creating a wrongful death claim package incorporating all the financial elements of your loss. You will request a specific amount from the insurance company—often a much higher amount than the insurance company will offer. Then, the insurance company will consider your request and either accept it or issue a return offer. You then have the right to accept the return offer or continue to negotiate.
In some cases, you may go through several rounds of negotiation before accepting a settlement. In others, you may need to turn to arbitration or even go to court to seek the compensation you deserve. Having an attorney on your side can help make that process easier. Experienced attorneys can provide critical advice in calculating your loss to help you manage negotiations. Many insurance companies will offer more compensation when you retain a lawyer, since they want to avoid a court battle.
When you lose a loved one due to the negligence of another entity, you deserve compensation for that loss. Connecting with an experienced personal injury attorney can help answer many of the questions related to your specific claim; however, these questions and their answers can give you a general idea of what to expect as part of your wrongful death claim.
After the death of a loved one in an accident, the closest family members to that individual have the first right to file a wrongful death claim. If the deceased had a spouse, the spouse has the first right to file a wrongful death claim. With no spouse in the picture, surviving children can file a claim. Without either spouse or children, the parents of the deceased may have the right to file a wrongful death claim. In some specific cases, other family members who relied on the deceased for financial or physical support may have the right to file a wrongful death claim. When no family members exist in those positions, the estate of the deceased may have the right to file a wrongful death claim to help pay the deceased’s debts or to provide for heirs.
If someone else’s negligence led to the deceased’s death, you may have grounds to file a wrongful death claim. A good rule of thumb: if the deceased, had they lived, could have filed a personal injury claim against the responsible party, you, as a family member of the deceased may have ground for a wrongful death claim. Consulting an experienced personal injury attorney can help give you a better idea of whether you have grounds for a claim.
In some accidents, including auto accidents and medical malpractice, your loved one might not die of their injuries immediately. Sometimes, a loved one may linger for weeks after the accident itself before succumbing to those injuries. If those injuries led to the death of a loved one, you still have the right to file a wrongful death claim.
To file a wrongful death claim, an attorney will work with you to clearly identify the entity that caused the death of your loved one. In some cases, multiple individuals or entities, including businesses, may share liability for your loved one’s death: for example, in an accident with a big truck, you may need to pursue action against both the driver of that truck and the company that employs the driver.
To identify all parties who share liability for the accident, the attorney will consider:
By answering these key questions, an attorney can begin to form the foundation of your wrongful death claim.
The amount you can receive for the wrongful death of a loved one can vary. Several factors can limit the compensation you may receive for the loss of your loved one, including:
Following the loss of a loved one, in the case of criminal negligence or irresponsibility, the responsible party or entity may face criminal charges related to the loss of your loved one. That investigation and the resulting charges, however, do not determine the results of your wrongful death claim. While the criminal investigation can help produce evidence that will help determine your claim, even if the defendant does not receive a guilty verdict in the criminal case, the defendant may still bear liability for paying for the loss of your loved one. Criminal cases often revolve around malicious intent, proved beyond a reasonable doubt. In a wrongful death claim, however, you need only prove that the defendant’s negligence, more likely than not, caused your loved one’s death.
The California statute of limitations may limit how long you have to file a wrongful death claim after the loss of a loved one. In general, however, you should not let the clock run down toward that statute of limitations while waiting to file that claim. The sooner you file a wrongful death claim, the sooner an attorney can start working on your behalf. That attorney can collect vital evidence that can help prove the defendant’s responsibility for your loved one’s loss as well as helping you give a full picture of the funds you should expect from a wrongful death claim.
The sooner you contact an attorney, the sooner you can collect that vital evidence. Even if significant time has passed since your loved one’s death, however, consult with an attorney if you believe you have grounds for a wrongful death claim. Exceptions do exist to the statute of limitations that can help expand the time you have to seek compensation for the loss of a loved one.
You do not have to work with an attorney to file a wrongful death claim. However, an attorney can provide significant advantages throughout the process. Many families find that working with an attorney helps give them a better picture of the compensation they deserve and, in many cases, that simply hiring an attorney significantly increases the compensation they receive for the loss of a loved one. An attorney can also help reduce stress and guide you through the claim.
Before accepting a settlement offer from an insurance company, consult us. In some cases, insurance companies will issue a low settlement offer immediately after the accident: one that may look good on the surface, but fails to reflect the full funds you deserve for the loss of a loved one. Instead of accepting this offer immediately, take the time to consult with an attorney first.
Sometimes, the insurance company might offer a settlement in the maximum amount of the insurance policy that covers the liable entity. In this case, an attorney may advise you to accept the offer. In others, the offer might fail to reflect the full extent of your financial losses following the loss of your loved one. In that case, an attorney might advise you to negotiate further. You may also receive a settlement offer after you file your claim: one less than the amount you initially asked for, but which better reflects the funds you deserve for your loss. An attorney can help you determine when to accept an offer and when to continue negotiations.
You can file a wrongful death claim against each entity responsible for the loss of your loved one, but you cannot file more than one wrongful death claim for the loss of a single individual, even if multiple parties have the right to claim compensation for that loss. For example, if the deceased has no spouse, but several surviving children, those children will need to work together to file a single wrongful death claim. The family can decide among its members how to distribute the funds gained through a wrongful death claim. The court will not award separate claims to the different individuals impacted by the loss of a loved one.
If you lost a loved one in San Diego due to another party’s negligence, you may need an attorney. An attorney will help you navigate the wrongful death claims process. Contact Gomez Trial Attorneys at (619) 237-3490 today to schedule your free consultation.
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