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Citrus Heights Wrongful Death Attorney

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Wrongful Death
Citrus Heights
Wrongful Death Lawyer

Providing Compassionate Legal Counsel to Citrus Heights Wrongful Death Clients

Unexpectedly losing a loved one is never easy, but this situation can be significantly harder to accept when you know that your loved one died because of another party’s negligence. When an individual suffers an injury or economic loss due to the negligence of another, the injured party has the right to file a personal injury claim to seek compensation for their losses. However, if an individual dies because of the negligence of another party, their surviving loved ones may file a wrongful death claim.

This type of civil claim functionally replaces the personal injury claim the victim could have filed had they survived. While wrongful death claims are very similar to personal injury claims in many ways, there are some key differences that all Citrus Heights residents should understand.

The Kreeger Law Firm understands how difficult it can be to experience an unexpected death in the family and the frustration and uncertainty that arise when such a death occurs due to another party’s negligence. Our firm has years of experience providing comprehensive legal representation in wrongful death cases. If you need to speak with a Citrus Heights wrongful death attorney about your situation, the team at the Kreeger Law Firm is ready to assist you.

Why Do I Need a Citrus Heights Wrongful Death Lawyer?

You may believe that your situation is straightforward enough that you can handle your legal matters on your own. However, if another party is responsible for the untimely death of your loved one, it’s vital to recognize the complex legal proceedings involved in a wrongful death claim. In addition, the average person who has no professional legal training or experience may make critical errors in pursuing a wrongful death claim independently. For example, they could make court filing errors or miss important deadlines that jeopardize their family’s ability to recover compensation for the wrongful death.

Working with an experienced Citrus Heights wrongful death attorney means you and your loved ones will have trustworthy and responsive legal counsel available to answer your questions and address your concerns as your case unfolds. No matter how the wrongful death occurred, your Citrus Heights wrongful death lawyers will be able to identify the most critical aspects of your case, assist you in gathering evidence you need to prove liability, and help you gather the materials you will need to prove the full extent of the economic losses your family has sustained from the untimely death of your loved one.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in California?

Wrongful death claims are very similar to personal injury claims in many ways, but there are also some essential differences that you should understand if you intend to file a wrongful death claim in Citrus Heights. First, California state law limits eligibility for filing wrongful death claims based on the state’s laws for intestate succession. Typically, the deceased’s closest family members have the right to file a wrongful death claim following the typical flow of intestate succession.

The deceased’s surviving spouse or domestic partner is generally first in line to file a wrongful death claim, followed by their surviving children or parents. If such family members are unwilling or unable to file a wrongful death claim, the right to file a claim passes to surviving siblings and extended family members. If the deceased has no surviving kin, anyone who has a legal interest in the estate of the deceased or who was financially dependent on the deceased may pursue a wrongful death claim.

A Citrus Heights wrongful death attorney is an excellent resource if you are unsure whether you have valid legal grounds to pursue a wrongful death claim. Your attorney can help you understand the process, assist you in filing your claim, and guide you through the complex legal proceedings that are likely to follow.

Proving Negligence for a Wrongful Death

To succeed with your wrongful death claim, you must identify the party you believe to be responsible for the death in question and prove that this party was negligent in some way that directly caused your loved one’s death. Generally, there are four elements necessary for proving negligence:

  1. Duty of care. In a wrongful death claim, the plaintiff must identify the defendant or defendants and prove they owed some duty of care to the deceased.
  2. Breach of duty. The plaintiff and their Citrus Heights wrongful death lawyer must then show the court how the defendant failed to uphold their duty of care.
  3. Damage. The plaintiff must prove they suffered a loss, including the death of their loved one, as well as any financial effects caused by the death.
  4. Causation. Finally, it’s essential to prove that the defendant’s negligence directly caused the death in question. The plaintiff must show that the death would not have happened if not for the defendant’s breached duty of care.

If you and your Citrus Heights wrongful death attorney can successfully prove these elements of negligence, you are likely to succeed with your wrongful death claim.

Damages and Compensation for a Citrus Heights Wrongful Death Claim

A wrongful death claim can potentially secure many of the same types of damages that are claimable in a personal injury claim, with a few exceptions. Additionally, other damages are available in a wrongful death claim that are not claimable in a personal injury claim. There are two main types of damages available to plaintiffs in wrongful death cases: economic and non-economic. Economic damages can include:

  • Funeral and burial expenses for the deceased.
  • Compensation for the wrongful death because the deceased’s financial support could have provided for the remainder of their anticipated life expectancy.
  • Reasonable compensation for the value of household services provided by the deceased.

Non-economic damages for a wrongful death typically revolve around the surviving family’s pain and suffering. For example, a surviving spouse or domestic partner can claim compensation for lost affection and enjoyment of sexual relations; surviving children can claim compensation for lost guidance and mentorship; and it is possible to secure compensation for lost protection, support, guidance, and companionship.

It’s also important to remember that wrongful deaths are not always instantaneous. For example, a wrongful death can occur after the deceased has suffered an illness or painful injury, which may have entailed significant medical expenses during their final treatments. Wrongful death claims are filed by a deceased individual’s surviving loved ones and seek compensation for their damages. Survivor actions, on the other hand, seek to compensate the deceased’s losses incurred between their final injury or illness and their death. A personal representative must file this survivor’s action separately from the family’s wrongful death claim.

Experiencing an unexpected death in the family can be a shocking experience for everyone involved. If you are unsure of what to do after your loved one has died due to the actions of another party, it’s vital to consult an attorney to determine the best next steps to take. Money cannot replace your lost loved one, but it can provide peace of mind, and your wrongful death claim will hold the party responsible for your loved one’s death accountable for their actions.

How Do Wrongful Deaths Occur?

A wrongful death happens whenever one party’s negligence or intentionally harmful actions cause the death of another person. Some of the most commonly cited causes of wrongful deaths in California include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents, including car, truck, and motorcycle accidents. Distracted driving, driving under the influence, and speeding are just a few examples of how fatal accidents can happen in California.
  • Workplace injuries. Some workplace injuries are fatal, and the victim’s family may need help in filing for workers’ compensation benefits and civil action against the party responsible for their loved one’s death at work.
  • Medical malpractice. When medical professionals fail to meet a patient’s standard of care and the patient dies, they become liable for wrongful death from medical malpractice.
  • Defective products. Product manufacturers are liable for any injuries their products cause due to defects in design, production, or misleading marketing materials.
  • Animal attacks. Suppose a dog attacks a person and causes fatal injuries. In that case, California enforces a strict liability statute for dog owners, meaning they are entirely liable for any damages their pets cause to others.
  • Slip and fall injuries. If a negligent property owner fails to take appropriate care of their property and a lawful visitor suffers a fatal slip and fall, the property owner becomes liable for the wrongful death.

This is not an exhaustive list, and there are many different ways that one party’s carelessness or recklessness can cause the death of another person. If you have recently experienced a wrongful death in the family, it is natural to be uncertain about what you and your family should do next. A wrongful death claim can help you hold the responsible party accountable for their actions and secure financial compensation for the economic losses resulting from the death in question.

The Kreeger Law Firm understands the frustration and tragedy that follows an untimely death, and our goal is to help you and your family recover as fully as possible. If you believe another party is responsible for the recent death of your loved one, we can help. When you and your loved ones are ready to speak with a compassionate and responsive Citrus Heights wrongful death attorney, contact the Kreeger Law Firm and schedule a consultation with our team.