Wrongful Death Lawyer in Bay Area
When accidents result in death, many families choose to pursue a wrongful death claim to obtain closure, financial support, and to hold accountable whoever was responsible. A family can file a wrongful death claim if their loved one died in an accident when death was unlikely if reasonable action had been taken.
Defective products, distracted drivers, assault perpetrators, police misconduct, and careless medical providers are all possible liable parties in wrongful death suits. Every state has its own rules about wrongful death claims. Here is what you need to know about wrongful death in California.
California Wrongful Death Claims
Relatives of the deceased can file a wrongful death claim in California courts on their own or through a personal representative. A decedent’s spouse, partner, children, rightful heirs, and dependents may file a wrongful death claim, but they may have to prove their association before taking part in the claim process.
Under state laws, survivors may not file a claim for:
- The wrongful death of an unborn child.
- A suicide, if the survivors could have reasonably prevented the act.
- Justified homicide (e.g., if the decedent was killed while engaging in criminal behaviors)
If an illegal activity was responsible for the death, a defendant may simultaneously face charges in the criminal and civil justice systems. Families can only file one wrongful death claim per death. Individuals cannot bring separate claims against a defendant, but they must join together to obtain any compensation. Anyone who does not wish to take part can opt out of the case.
Compensation is divided into two categories – economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages include any expenses associated with the death or lost income that a family no longer has access to as a result of the incident. Noneconomic damages includes compensation to support lost familial support such as parental guidance or spousal companionship.
To determine what you may obtain, family members may want to reach out to an attorney who specializes in wrongful death suits in the state of California. The family or heirs typically have a 2-year statute of limitation from the time of death to file a claim. Once the court awards compensation to a family through a claim, it will become property of the estate, and family members can secure it through the normal channels of estate law.
Finding a Wrongful Death Attorney
Some wrongful death suits may be simple and straightforward, but the vast majority are not. They require the skill of someone who understands the nuances of California wrongful death laws. Wrongful death investigations may require the expertise of an accident reconstruction professional, a medical provider, or someone else who has a high level of specialization in the circumstances surrounding a case.
At the Law Offices of Sterns & Walker, we serve the areas in and around San Francisco and Oakland with years of experience and access to the resources needed to file a successful claim.
We understand that filing a wrongful death suit and holding the defendant accountable prolongs the grieving process, and our goal is to make the process as easy for clients as possible. Our team is here to bring your family closure, obtain the compensation you deserve, and to hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions.
If someone you love has died because of someone else’s careless or intentional actions, you have the right to file a wrongful death claim. For more information about wrongful death suits in the Bay Area, please reach out to our team for a free case evaluation. Navigating this system alone can be overwhelming. Together, we’ll determine the best path forward for you and your family.