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Fatal Accident/Wrongful Death

An accident that takes a loved one’s life can be as shocking as it is tragic. And when the sudden death of a family member occurs, surviving loved ones are not just left to process their emotions and grief, but may also have numerous questions about what the future holds – the death of a family member can rock a family’s foundations, leading to emotional pain and suffering, funeral and burial costs, the financial burden of lost wages, and more.

At the law offices of Wagner & Pelayes, LLP, our California wrongful death lawyers are here to assist you if someone in your life has died due to the wrongful actions of another. We know how sensitive wrongful death cases can be, and how much your family has suffered. Please call us today for representation from a lawyer who will be sensitive to what you’re going through while also working hard for you.

The Basics of a Wrongful Death Claim in California

As found in the California Code of Civil Procedure Section 377.60, a party maintains a cause of action for a wrongful death claim when the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another. The law allows this type of action to be brought forth by the deceased person’s personal representative, or their spouse, domestic partner, or child.

In a wrongful death action, the plaintiff alleges that the death of the decedent would not have occurred but for the wrongful actions or neglect of the decedent, and that the plaintiff and the decedent’s beneficiaries have incurred economic and noneconomic damages as such.

Damages Recoverable in a Wrongful Death Action

A wrongful death action can be used to recover both economic–actual financial losses–and noneconomic–intangible, non-financial losses–from a defendant. Examples of damages that may be incurred by the decedent’s estate or surviving family members include:

  • Funeral and burial expenses;
  • Medical expenses prior to death;
  • Loss of income, benefits, and earning capacity;
  • Loss of value of parental guidance;
  • Loss of value of household services; and
  • Loss of value of companionship, consortium, affection, moral guidance, etc.

Who Can Be Named in a Wrongful Death Action?

A wrongful death action can be filed against any party whose wrongful actions lead to the death of another. This may include a private citizen or individual, a large company, or even a government office or entity. Wrongful death actions are common following serious and fatal accidents, including:

  • Motor vehicle accidents;
  • Swimming pool accidents;
  • Boating accidents;
  • Bicycle accidents;
  • Medical malpractice cases;
  • Motorcycle accidents;
  • Pedestrian accidents;
  • Slip and fall accidents; and
  • More.

If your loved one has been killed in an accident that you believe occurred because of another party’s fault, please call our law firm for a free consultation. We can help you to determine whether or not you have a wrongful death claim, and if so, who may be liable for damages.

Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Actions in California

If you think that you have a wrongful death claim, you must file your suit within two years from the date of your family member’s death. If you wait longer than two years, you will likely be permanently barred from recovery.

In the event that you are filing a wrongful death action against a government entity, you have even less time to take action – these claims must be started within six months from the date of death, as explained by the California Courts.

Our California Fatal Accident Attorneys Want to Help You

There is nothing more devastating than losing a family member, especially when that individual died well before their time as a result of an accident that never should have happened. If you think that you may have a wrongful death claim, we encourage you to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our lawyers to learn more about your options. You can reach our legal team at the office of Wagner & Pelayes, LLP by phone or by sending us a message.

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