The Orange County Wrongful Death Attorney That Gets Results
Under California law, the decedent’s spouse, the decedent’s children, and the decedent’s domestic partner can bring a lawsuit for wrongful death. If there’s no line of descent, then parents and stepchildren can bring a wrongful death action if they’re being financially supported by the decedent at the time of his death.
Can I sue on behalf of a decedent?
It really comes down to if you are rightful heir. And the law in California is well defined that it’s the spouse, the kids, the domestic partner, are the main folks that can bring a wrongful death action. Beyond that, the decedent’s parents or stepchildren can bring a claim if they were financially supported at the time of the decedent’s death.
What happens in a wrongful death case?
Wrongful death case is basically a negligence case. You are suing somebody for their negligent or intentional conduct that caused the death of the decedent. In a wrongful death case, if you win or settle case, you can obtain damages for economic loss, the financial support of the decedent, for the loss of love, compassion, affection, moral support, sexual relations. Those are damages that are called general damages, and there is no exact way of defining how much that is worth. That is what you hire an attorney for. We prepare the case to prove how important the decedent was to the family, and we paint a picture of the total loss that the family has incurred. The general damages are the damage that encompasses the total loss to the family.
Wrongful death lawsuits, depending on when they’re resolved, if there’s resolved via settlement or via trial, can take some time. It can take anywhere from one year to beyond three years. The three-year mark is if the case went through litigation and got to trial. If you were able to reach a settlement, that’s generally going to be in a shorter time, probably closer to a year.
The vast majority of wrongful death cases are settled before trial. I would estimate that less than 5% of the cases get to trial. The reasons for settlement are the amount of insurance that the other person had, the amount of assets that the person that caused the death had. If there is an adequate offer to settle the case, the case gets settled. If not, the case will proceed to trial and the jury will decide the total amount of damages in a wrongful death case.
How Long Do I Have?
In California, you have two years to bring a wrongful death action. If you do not bring the action within two years, the court will dismiss the case based on the statute of limitations. It’s very important that if you believe the death of a loved one was caused by the negligence of somebody else, keep in mind that you have two years bring that claim.
Contact our qualified OC wrongful death attorneys today.