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Wrongful Death Action Attorneys


What is a Wrongful Death Action?

A wrongful death case is one where a death has been caused by the negligence or fault of another person. These cases involve unnecessary and preventable death. They also provide an opportunity to evaluate and implement policy changes to prevent similar tragedies in the future.

When a person in Sacramento dies as the result of the negligent acts of another, then that victim is said to have had a wrongful death. The surviving family members, or even the estate of the deceased, each have the right to pursue a wrongful death claim. Although each individual can file a claim, families are typically represented as a whole by a single firm or lawyer. A decedent’s parents, spouse, children (including adopted and step-children) and siblings are the most common plaintiffs.

A wrongful death lawsuit can provide closure for the family and bring answers to a number of questions including how did the accident happen and who’s responsible for the wrongful death?

It can be an emotional and stressful time when you’re dealing with a suit involving a wrongful death. The Sacramento wrongful death attorneys at the Crow Law Offices have the experience and compassion to handle this type of suit for you. We will do everything in our power to make sure you’re compensated for your loved one's untimely passing.

Wrongful death claims are often worth a sizable sum of money, and therefore the insurance adjusters and defense attorneys will attempt every method they know in order to deny your claim. You will need someone who is familiar with the opposition’s tactics, and someone that can be aggressive when necessary in order to defend your rights.

One of the additional challenges to building a successful wrongful death case is time itself. Relevant evidence can go disappear or be altered as time passes. Evidence can be removed, deleted, erased, or otherwise altered by those that want to avoid responsibility. Key witnesses can become more difficult to track down and their memory may fade as time goes by.

Preserving evidence and identifying defendants are key factors in death cases. As such, one of the most beneficial actions that an aggrieved party can take in the aftermath of losing a loved one is to contact a Sacramento wrongful death attorney that can quickly begin an extensive investigation into the fatal accident that claimed the life of your loved one. Hiring an experienced Sacramento wrongful death attorney therefore should not be delayed. For cases involving wrongful death, Sacramento residents know they can trust the Crow Law Offices which has been fighting for victim’s rights since 1954.

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Proving Your Wrongful Death Case

In order to pursue a Sacramento wrongful death action, it must be shown that the decedent was killed by the action or inaction of a liable party or parties. It must be shown that 1) the liable parties acted negligently in some fashion, which caused the fatal accident. 2) The decedent has surviving family members or beneficiaries that can seek survival damages or wrongful death damages. 3) The decedent or their surviving family members have incurred some type of financial loss as a result of the fatal accident.

Establishing that an individual’s death was indeed wrongful can be complicated. Among the ways a Sacramento wrongful death attorney may establish a wrongful death case is to interview all witnesses that are relevant to the case. Generally, witnesses can provide insight into the circumstances surrounding the victim’s death. A Sacramento wrongful death attorney may also access documents such as medical reports, tests, pictures, video, police reports, etc... Often, this type of documentation will help to firmly establish fault in a wrongful death case. Hiring the appropriate experts may also be necessary. Experts can help establish the cause of the accident and the wrongful death.

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Damages in Wrongful Death Cases

California law provides that the damages recoverable in a wrongful death action are for economic and non-economic damages. Individuals or families pursuing a wrongful death claim may seek to recover damages for the following losses:

  • Funeral or Burial Costs
  • Pain and Suffering. Even long after the person is gone, the emotional pain can be just as severe as when it happened. This emotional pain can be felt every moment, of every day.
  • Lost wages of the deceased
  • Lost benefits of the deceased
  • Compensation for the Loss of leadership, companionship, and love

Economic damages are for such things as the past and future loss of financial support provided by the decedent before death, funeral and burial expenses, and the dollar value of lost household services. Damages of these types are often based upon the testimony of expert economists. Noneconomic damages are recoverable for the loss of a loved one's companionship, comfort, care, affection, love, moral support, guidance, mentoring and society. There is no fixed standard for deciding the amount of non-economic damages.

Putting an exact figure on the loss you will endure as a result of the wrongful death is complicated and it must be proven. Typically factors that are taken into consideration are age, earning capacity, health and life expectancy as well as the circumstances of those who depended on the person who died. The opposing parties, insurance companies and those at fault will do their best to keep your damages as low as possible. An experienced Sacramento wrongful death lawyer will provide the strength you need in order to obtain the best possible outcome in a situation that’s already difficult for any individual or family to face.

In a wrongful death trial, a judge or a jury determines the size of the damages award based on the evidence available. Expert testimony can be used to help determine the monetary value of items such as household services your loved one provided. Proving up damages is an integral part to any wrongful death lawsuit in order to ensure that all possible plaintiffs can stand to be fully and fairly compensated for their loss.

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Applicable Laws in Wrongful Death Actions

In accordance with California state law, Sacramento wrongful death claims must be filed within 2 years of the date that the death took place. However, the statute of limitations in California varies depending upon the nature of the action and the status of the plaintiff and the defendants. Generally the statute of limitations for an injury or death in California is two years from the date of the death; yet in the case of a medical malpractice action, the statute of limitations may be as short as one year, and in a case against a government entity, a government tort claim must first be filed within 180 days. Additionally, in certain cases, the statute of limitations may be extended if the injured person is a minor or has a mental disability.

Typically, if a wrongful death is thought to have taken place, it is best to contact an experienced Sacramento wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. Wrongful death cases that are not filed before their deadline has passed will be barred from ever getting into court, so it is crucial that parties who are considering filing such a legal claim consult with a qualified Sacramento wrongful death attorney as soon as possible.

In California, Code of Civil Procedure §377.60 identifies all of the persons who are proper parties to bring a wrongful death case. Below are the heirs who may file these actions, in descending order of priority: The victims surviving spouse, children, dependent stepchildren, dependent minors living in the victim’s household for at least six months, and dependent parents. If there are no heirs as described above, then claimants include those who would be entitled to inherit the victim's estate under the law of intestate succession: Parents, whether or not they were dependent; if there are none, then siblings or children of deceased siblings; if there are none, then grandparents; if there are none, then children of a deceased spouse. If none of these relatives exist, the next of kin may file a wrongful death suit. A wrongful death victim’s personal representative can also maintain a wrongful death action on behalf of the individuals listed above. A personal representative is a person appointed by the probate court to handle the wrongful death victim’s assets, or estate. When proceeds are received from the wrongful death suit, they may be distributed by the personal representative according to the wrongful death statute.

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Common Causes of Wrongful Deaths

  • car accidents
  • motorcycle accidents
  • truck accidents
  • bus accidents
  • drunk drivers
  • train accidents
  • pedestrian accidents
  • plane crashes
  • medical malpractice
  • construction accidents
  • industrial accidents
  • fires
  • slip/trip and fall injury
  • workplace injury
  • nursing home abuse
  • brain injury
  • defective products (product liability).

Wrongful deaths are often the result of the negligence, carelessness, or reckless act of another person or corporation. Some common causes of wrongful death include

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Reasons to File a Wrongful Death Action

There are at least three important reasons why a family member should seek to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against a liable party or parties: A wrongful death lawsuit will hold the liable parties accountable for their actions, or inaction, that resulted in a person’s death. The wrongful death lawsuit financially punishes a negligent person or entity so that they will be more compelled to change or alter their behavior in the future so that similar, fatal accidents do not occur. Finally, the wrongful death lawsuit allows a family to seek compensation for their loss so that the financial stress that often occurs after the loss of a loved one does not have to cause further hardship to an already grieving family.

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