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When a family loses a loved one after a sudden and tragic event, it can be devastating. When someone dies unexpectedly due to the negligence or reckless actions of another, family members may also be grappling with feelings of frustration and may not quite know what to do next. No one expects that he or she will need to consult with a lawyer but seeking out the counsel of an experienced Sacramento wrongful death attorney is an important step after such an ordeal.
After more than two decades, the lawyers at Kreeger Law Firm have seen countless wrongful death cases and know exactly how you are feeling. Dealing with a legal suit against the party responsible for your loss can be difficult for many people, which is why our firm makes it as painless as possible to move forward with your case. The reality is that after you have suffered an avoidable loss, you and your family are entitled to seek compensation and we can help.
Call our office at 916-891-1472 to schedule a free consultation and get your wrongful death questions answered. We represent bereaved families throughout Northern California.
The attorneys at Kreeger Law Firm have more than 25 years of experience handling civil claims for California clients, including wrongful death claims. We understand how devastating the untimely death of a loved one can be and we approach every case we take with compassion, integrity, and a relentless drive to help you and your family secure as much compensation as possible to make moving on a little easier.
Our firm has the strength and resources of a large, big-city firm with the atmosphere of a small family-owned business. Our Sacramento wrongful death attorneys take the time to get to know every client personally, so we can fully understand the breadth and depth of a wrongful death’s effects. If you recently experienced a wrongful death in your family, our lawyers can help you determine your best options for legal recourse.
When you choose the Kreeger Law Firm to represent your wrongful death claim in California, our team will thoroughly review all of the evidence and documentation you have to support your claim. In some wrongful death cases, plaintiffs have the right to compensation for the decedent’s losses that accrued between the time they sustained their final injury or illness and their death. Other compensation could provide relief for the surviving family’s financial losses and emotional pain from the death of a loved one. Our team will walk you through every phase of the wrongful death claim process and help you manage the situation with more confidence.
The untimely death of a loved one is not only an emotional blow but also an economic one. A wrongful death may require you and your family to make funeral arrangements you didn’t expect and lead to a host of other expenses. When another person or party causes a wrongful death, it’s essential to secure legal representation as soon as possible to maximize the surviving family’s recovery.
A skilled Sacramento personal injury attorney can handle a grieving family’s legal concerns, insurance problems, and a host of other matters so the survivors can mourn peacefully. Hiring a lawyer may seem expensive but a good wrongful death attorney can maximize the compensation a plaintiff receives from a wrongful death claim and offer a better degree of representation than a grieving survivor could manage alone.
Ultimately, hiring an experienced California wrongful death attorney to represent your case is a solid investment in peace of mind. The Kreeger Law Firm can help you determine the full range of available damages in your claim, so you know what to expect from the proceedings you’re about to face. We can provide comprehensive and compassionate legal representation when your family needs it most.
In legal terms, a “wrongful death” refers to any fatality caused by negligence or unnatural causes. This term may also apply to criminal homicide cases. If one person intentionally kills another person, the killer would likely face criminal charges from the state as well as a civil action for wrongful death from the victim’s family.
In many ways, a wrongful death case functions very similarly to a personal injury lawsuit. The major difference is that a close relative or personal representative of the victim’s estate files the lawsuit on behalf of the deceased individual. To succeed in a wrongful death claim, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant caused the death in question, either through negligence or through an intentional tort such as an assault or homicide. The plaintiff must also have evidence of the extent of the losses resulting from the defendant’s actions, including funeral and burial costs, lost income, lost valuation of investments, and the family’s pain and suffering.
Like any other type of civil claim, a wrongful death lawsuit is subject to the California statute of limitations for such claims. The plaintiff with a wrongful death claim has two years from the date of the death in question to take legal action for wrongful death. This may seem like a lot of time, but the reality is that building a solid wrongful death case takes time and effort, and the full effects of the death in question may not be fully calculable. The sooner you work with an experienced California wrongful death attorney, the sooner you can start building your claim.
Different types of damages repay different aspects of a wrongful death case. For example, some damages repay the estate for lost valuation on assets, investments, and retirement funds, as well as lost income the deceased would have earned in the future, had he or she survived. Damages in a wrongful death claim may also include the medical expenses and pain and suffering related to the deceased’s final injury or illness. A qualified Sacramento wrongful death lawyer can help a wrongful death claimant understand the damages available in a claim and what to expect from pursuing a wrongful death claim in California.
It’s also important to remember that in some wrongful death cases, damages are paid to the estate of the deceased, and separate damages are awarded to the surviving family of the deceased. If the deceased had any type of estate plan, this would help to inform the surviving family of the assets and property their loved one owned as well as their wishes for distributing it. The estate will use proceeds from the wrongful death claim to settle the estate’s debts, and then the remainder will become part of the estate to be distributed with the rest of the estate’s contents. If the deceased had no estate plan or will, the intestate succession process will begin according to California state law once the wrongful death case concludes.
Every state has unique laws concerning wrongful death lawsuits, the time limits for filing them, and who may file them. In California, a deceased person’s surviving spouse, partner, or children have the first right to file a wrongful death claim unless the deceased individual’s estate or living will explicitly states otherwise and indicates an executor or representative. If the deceased has no surviving kin, then a personal representative of the deceased’s estate may pursue a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased.
Anyone who believes they have a claim on the estate of a deceased individual or grounds for a wrongful death claim must provide proof that the death resulted in economic harm or damage of some kind. For example, a deceased person’s former spouse may have depended on the deceased for child support payments or alimony. They may also prove they were financially dependent on the deceased person to have grounds for a wrongful death claim.
Accidental deaths happen all the time all over the world. A wrongful death occurs when a death happens due to negligence. Some of the most common causes of wrongful death claims in California include:
Essentially, any time a death occurs due to the negligent or intentionally harmful actions of another party, there are grounds for a wrongful death claim. Every state has unique laws pertaining to wrongful death claims, including who may file them, the damages available, and qualifying to receive damages.
Under the law, survivors are entitled to receive money from the person, persons, or companies responsible for a loved one’s wrongful death. This is money to pay medical bills and burial expenses, money that replaces what the deceased would have earned through the years, and money to compensate spouses and other family members for the loss of companionship.
Whoever files the wrongful death claim will act as the personal representative of the deceased. If the deceased had a will or estate plan, the representative must refer to this during the initial stages of probate, and it may also be necessary to refer to this document during the wrongful death case. For example, an estate plan could include a living will and the decedent’s instructions for final medical treatment, funeral, and burial. All of the associated costs of these considerations could become damages in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Wrongful death cases can be complex, as there are many areas of calculation involved and often, our firm works with vocational, medical and life experts to ensure the optimal result for our clients. After decades of experience handling these cases, our Sacramento wrongful death attorneys know what to reasonably expect for our clients, and such, know when a case may require resolution in a courtroom. Our wrongful death attorneys in Sacramento have the experience and the resources to get our clients the results they deserve.
A wrongful death case presents itself in California when someone dies as a result of someone else’s actions, particularly intentional misconduct or negligence. There are many instances that can cause this to happen. Here are a few common examples:
When deciding how to respond to a wrongful death incident, family members have two options to consider: wrongful death action and survival death action. Survival action becomes available to family members whose loved ones did not pass away immediately. An instance of this is when someone suffers injuries in a car crash and begins to recover but ultimately succumbs to their injuries.
Generally speaking, family members bringing a survival action are not able to recover compensation for pain and suffering. Elder abuse is the only current exception. However, the family may recover punitive damages as well as money to replace the economic impact of losing their loved ones.
The general range is six months to two years, but exactly where you fall within this limit depends on the specifics of your case. Generally speaking, family members have two years to bring a wrongful death action.
The time limit for survival actions may range from six months to two years from either when the death occurred or when economic damages began to accrue. Of these two periods, lawmakers allow family members to choose the latter.
It is a wise person who takes some time to consider their options. However, it is also important not to spend too much time deliberating. The sooner you bring an action, the fresher the evidence. The further you get from when the incident occurred, the more likely it is for witnesses to forget key details or for documents to get misplaced.
Not all survivors can bring a wrongful death case. California accepts actions from a spouse or children. If the person had no children but was married, the parents also get the right to bring a case. In instances where the person has no spouse, no children and no surviving parents, brothers and sisters gain the right to take action. If a minor is the victim of a wrongful death incident, the parents can take action.
Who can bring a wrongful death action can become extremely complicated, especially if multiple family members want to act. Note that survivors cannot file multiple cases, but each person might be able to retain separate attorneys.
There might also be instances where some family members decide they do not want to get involved in the case. They have the right to opt out but must typically sign their rights away in these instances.
California does not only award absolute fault to one party or the other. Instead, it also considers the role each party may have played in the death. It then awards compensation based on the percentage of fault.
For instance, a doctor might prescribe the wrong medication, but the patient also took more than the recommended dosage. In the eyes of the court, the person might have lived if the doctor prescribed the right medication but also if they had taken the correct dosage.
Say, in this case, the court decides that the deceased patient should take 40% of the blame for their actions. The court then awards the family $2 million. The family would receive $1,200,000.
An attorney can look at the details of your case and make an educated guess. However, the final figure is up to the court after hearing both sides of the case. When it comes to economic damages, courts take a very realistic approach. They determine the financial contributions the individual would have made. This includes their income minus the amount of money they spent on their own expenses. Because of this, the deceased’s spending habits might play a big role in the final figure.
If the family is also entitled to pain and suffering or punitive damages, the amount awarded varies. The greater the negligence and the more heinous the circumstances surrounding the death, the higher this figure tends to be.
How money gets divided depends on how the case was resolved. If the responsible parties decide to settle, families get to decide how to split the money. Ideally, the interests of dependents come first as they are the most affected. Using trusts is one of the many ways families try to protect the younger members of the family.
If the case goes to trial, the court decides who gets what. There are two main factors the jury keeps in mind. The first is how financially dependent the person is. Consider, for instance, the difference between a stay-at-home wife and an adult child who works. The second is how close the deceased and the beneficiary were before the incident.
The answer to this question depends on your definition of need. Can you pursue a wrongful or survival action without an attorney? Yes, it is possible to do so. However, courts advise against this. People often end up leaving money on the table because they are unaware of the full extent of their rights or families begin to fight about who gets to participate in the case and how.
An attorney can help to resolve many of these California wrongful death issues. Contact Kreeger Law Firm about representation.