Riverside Wrongful Death Lawyer
If you have a close family member who is the victim of wrongful death, you are likely wondering what options are available. Losing someone you love causes severe emotional distress and is an extremely stressful experience. Having someone die because of malicious intent or negligence makes the situation even worse.
You could be entitled to compensation to cover your losses if you follow the correct process. Learning how wrongful death lawsuits work in California will get you started on the right path, but you must also speak with a Riverside wrongful death attorney if you want any hope of reaching a fair outcome.
Wrongful Death Defined
Reviewing how the law defines wrongful deaths is a smart step when your goal is to understand your case and options. Under the law, a wrongful death occurs when a person or entity willfully causes the death of another person, but you can also sue for wrongful death if the defendant’s negligent behavior caused or contributed to the death of your loved one.
For example, the court can hold a person liable in a wrongful death case if the person killed someone as a result of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Doctors and other professionals can be responsible for damages if they don’t exercise proper care or perform actions outside the standard of care. If someone has murdered your family member, you can seek compensation for your losses in a civil case. A Riverside wrongful death lawyer can answer any additional questions you might have.
Why You Should Seek Compensation
Some people feel as though seeking compensation for wrongful death is pointless because no amount of money will make up for their loss, which is understandable. Even though you can never get your loved one back, you could still face expenses and other hardships related to your loss.
These expenses will only add additional stress and make life even more complicated, but getting compensation can ease the pain by helping you manage your financial obligations. In addition to helping you handle your expenses, seeking compensation also discourages others from behaving in ways that could cause someone to die.
Understanding the Strength of Your Case
Before you take steps to seek compensation for wrongful death, it’s vital you understand the strength of your case. In most situations, you must be an immediate family member of the deceased if you are interested in pursuing compensation. Parents, children and legal spouses of the deceased have grounds to sue for compensation when a wrongful death occurs. If you are eligible to move forward with your lawsuit, the amount of evidence you have will play a role in the outcome you can expect.
While criminal cases mandate the accuser to have proof beyond a reasonable doubt of the defendant’s guilt, civil cases only require the accuser to provide a preponderance of the evidence. In other words, you can win a wrongful death lawsuit if you can prove the defendant more likely than not caused the death of your loved one. It’s possible for the court to order someone who has been found not guilty at a criminal trial to pay wrongful death damages because the standard of proof is different.
Monetary Versus Punitive Damages
Monetary damages are costs you need to pay as a result of your loved one’s death. These damages can include medical bills and other expenses that you would not have otherwise had to pay. On the other hand, punitive damages are damages a court requires the defendant to pay as a form of punishment. Under California law, you can’t sue someone for punitive damages unless a jury has found the person guilty of murder at a criminal trial.
Whom Should You Sue
You will sue the person responsible for the death of your loved one when you aim to get the compensation you deserve and need. If your loved one’s death happened because of a product defect, you would file a lawsuit against the company that manufactured the product in question. The situation is a little more complicated if the injury that resulted in death occurred at a hospital because doctors are often independent contractors.
If a nurse or other hospital staff member makes a mistake that causes someone to die, the victim’s family can sue the hospital. Doctors who make a mistake are often liable unless they work directly for the hospital, which is rare. If a doctor is present and instructs a member of the hospital’s staff to perform a specific action for the patient, the doctor is then responsible for any mistakes made by the staff member.
How to Sue for a Wrongful Death
Speaking with a Riverside wrongful death lawyer is the first and most critical step you can take when you want to file a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death law is complex so your personal injury attorney will help you understand what will likely happen as your case progresses and use discovery to collect relevant evidence.
The evidence your Riverside wrongful death lawyer gathers can include witness statements, security footage, police reports, disciplinary action against staff, proof of someone else’s negligence, and more. The law gives you up to two years to file the lawsuit in most situations, but you need to take action within six months if you intend to sue a government entity. The legal expert you hire will help you understand the deadlines you need to meet so that you can reach your goal.
Personal injury laws related to wrongful deaths can change and are often complex. No amount of research can supplement the knowledge and skill of a talented Riverside wrongful death lawyer. Contact Rizio Liberty Lipinsky, attorneys in Riverside and representing clients throughout Riverside County, so that you can give yourself the best of receiving the compensation to which you are entitled. After we review your case and give you an idea of what to expect, we will set the process in motion and guide you through each step.
We know how difficult facing a wrongful death is and promise to stand by your side until we finish the case. Reach out to the Riverside office of Rizio Liberty Lipinsky today by calling 888-292-8888 or filling out our contact form.
- 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.