San Francisco Wrongful Death Lawyer
For families, nothing is as devastating as when a loved one dies as a result of choices that others have made. Whether it’s through negligence or another cause, a wrongful death will always weigh heavily upon the deceased person’s family and friends. Fortunately, the legal system does allow for a way that decedents’ families can be compensated for their losses.
Do I Have a Wrongful Death Case?
For a wrongful death case to proceed, one of your family members has to have died due to the negligence of another person or persons. Examples of wrongful death cases include some fatal car accidents, medical malpractice instances in which a patient died and even situations in which the perpetrator intended to do harm to the decedent.
Because there are a wide range of scenarios in which wrongful death applies, it is important to speak with an attorney who is capable of handling such cases. When you talk with a wrongful death attorney about your particular circumstances, they will be able to walk you through the process. In addition to the decedent’s death, it must also be proven that the family member who is suing has suffered monetary injuries arising from the death of their loved one. Also, a representative must be appointed to work on behalf of the estate.
Pecuniary Loss and Damages in Wrongful Death Cases
When a wrongful death case is examined, many factors will go into determining the damages awarded. Of course, funeral expenses and burial costs are considered. If there was medical care arising from the incident, then that will also come under consideration. With wrongful death lawsuits, a phrase you will hear a lot is “pecuniary loss.” This pertains to the way in which the legal system attempts to put a financial figure on someone’s misfortune.
Details such as the deceased person’s age, income, lifetime earning potential and career will come into play when your attorney is working on your wrongful death case. It’s important to keep in mind that the statute of limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit in California is two years. This should be counted from the day the decedent passed away. However, there are special exceptions. In several past cases, it has taken a long time for the true cause of death to emerge in the wake of a tragedy. With situations like these, the law may be more flexible. As always, the faster you consult with an attorney, the more time you will give your case to become established. Although it can be challenging to function in the wake of a tragedy, remember that the clock is running and that the sooner you consult with a lawyer, the faster you will be able to set your case in motion and reach a potential settlement.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The right to file a wrongful death lawsuit rests mainly with people who are considered designated beneficiaries. Examples of a designated beneficiary would include members of the immediate family, a parent of a decedent who is not married, a spouse or any children. When it comes to wrongful death lawsuits, this is the group that is considered first and foremost. However, if none of these people are alive, then others are allowed to sue for wrongful death. For example, a sibling or grandchild could then sue. Domestic partners and others who relied upon the decedent for their financial well-being have also brought forth wrongful death lawsuits in the past. If you are not sure of whether or not you can sue, then reaching out to an attorney who handles wrongful death lawsuits can help to sort out your situation.
Who Do You Sue for Wrongful Death?
Once an attorney listens to the specifics of your case, then they will be able to determine who the responsible party or parties should be. For instance, a medical malpractice incident may not be as clear as it seems at first. Perhaps the physician was negligent, but maybe the hospital’s policies also triggered the wrongful death circumstances. Attorneys who work in this field are accustomed to conducting a full analysis of each lawsuit on a case-by-case basis. Undertaking all of the necessary steps to determine fault, they work on behalf of their clients to ensure that the responsible parties pay.
Why Sue for Wrongful Death?
In many instances, it may take us years to realize how profoundly we’ve been affected by the loss of a loved one. In the immediate aftermath of a death, sometimes we do not realize how deeply their absence has affected our lives. Usually, there are a multitude of factors that impact people when a tragedy like this befalls their family. From financial hardship to trauma stemming from the death, it is very difficult to quantify just how much an unexpected death can affect us. With wrongful death lawsuits, the legal system allows us to at least be compensated in some manner. Also, they serve as a way to deter people from being negligent in the future.
How Much Money Should I Sue for in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Again, each case is different—and most tend to be very complicated. If the decedent was nearing the end of their life, then chances are that you may receive less compensation for factors such as lifetime earning potential. If you are curious about how much you could potentially be compensated for, then it’s best to select an attorney that has handled these types of cases before. Even if you are on the fence about suing, you will want to reach out to a lawyer for a consultation. Because time is a factor, many potential clients miss out on funds to which they should be entitled. Until you find an appropriate attorney, remember that no one else will be looking out for you. You can bet that the responsible parties will not be chasing you down to make things right. When it comes to wrongful death lawsuits, it is imperative that you make the first move to pursue justice. To get started, contact us today for your free consultation.
- This article should only be used for informational purposes. It does not constitute legal advice, and it does not create an attorney-client relationship with anyone. If you need legal advice, please consult an attorney in your community.