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Legal Action for Wrongful Death in San Diego
If you’ve lost a loved one as the result of another’s intentional act or negligent behavior, you may be able to seek compensation. Because the death of a close relative is so obviously tragic for the family of the deceased, the purpose of a wrongful death action is meant to help the family move forward financially in the face of such a tragic loss. The attorneys at Haffner & Morgan have years of experience in helping the victims of wrongful death cases get compensated. We provide free initial consultations and all of our cases are taken on a contingency (no recovery, no fee) basis.
In a wrongful death action, the surviving family member of the deceased individual brings a claim that the death of a loved one was caused by the reckless, malicious, or negligent actions of the defendant. While a loved one can never be replaced, the surviving family members can pursue restitution for their losses.
At Haffner & Morgan, our legal team will do everything possible to help you navigate the legal intricacies so that you do not have to worry. We seek to give you and your loved ones the legal peace of mind so that you may take the time to grieve. A San Diego wrongful death attorney will do all that we can to keep your worries as handled. Our skilled legal team will assist in navigating the complex legal system and fight to get you the highest amount of compensation to help you through your tragic loss. Call a San Diego wrongful death lawyer at Haffner & Morgan today for your free consultation.
San Diego Wrongful Death FAQs:
- What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
- What to do if a loved one has passed away wrongfully
- Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
- How Do You Prove Wrongful Death?
- What Financial Expenses can be Pursued in a Wrongful Death Claim?
What Types of Cases are Wrongful Death Claims?
Wrongful death lawsuit claims are brought by the family members and dependents of a deceased victim. The death of the victim is caused by the intentional or negligent actions of another person. A wrongful death claim can be brought in various types of accidents. Some common wrongful death claims we see include:
- Car Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Chemical Exposures
- Negligent Workplace Environments
- Dog Attacks
- Bicycle Accidents
- Aviation Mishaps
- Faulty and Hazardous Goods
Wrongful Death Risks in San Diego
People have the right to expect others to act in a manner that keeps others around them reasonably safe. Unfortunately, the negligence and wrongdoing of others sometimes lead to wrongful deaths in cities like San Diego. Some of the biggest risks of wrongful death in San Diego include:
- Car accidents, including those from distracted driving, drunk driving, road defects, and poor intersection design
- Workplace accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Safety code violations
- Premises liability, such as slip-and-fall accidents and falling trees or limbs
- Asbestos exposure
- Defective products
- Police misconduct
Tragic deaths related to the above causes are those that could have been prevented had proper care been taken. While all deaths are tragic and leave loved ones bereaved, deaths caused by preventable accidents or willful misconduct add a secondary element of grief and frustration for family members. A successful wrongful death lawsuit can give these bereaved family members a sense of justice for their lost loved one as well as financial recompense to help them move forward.
What You Should Do if Your Loved One Passed Away Wrongfully
When a person’s life is taken from them by the carelessness or intentional act of another person, the decedent’s heirs may have a legal remedy, which is called a Wrongful Death action. Statutes in California define who can bring a Wrongful Death action and what damages can be awarded.
An attorney with experience in wrongful deaths can help ensure you recover what is rightfully due, but also help with the process of loss after a tragedy.
The San Diego wrongful death attorneys at Haffner & Morgan can help guide family members through the legal system in the time of grief and loss following the death of a close relative. Consultations are available at no cost to you, and no fees are taken unless you obtain a settlement or positive jury verdict. Not every situation requires legal representation, but we are always here to answer your questions.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in California?
When a family is deeply grieving, a wrongful death lawsuit can bring them a sense of justice. However, not just anyone can file a wrongful death lawsuit in San Diego. Otherwise, distant relations or unrelated individuals might try to profit from a tragic death. Instead, California puts regulations in place for those who can file a wrongful death lawsuit so only those with tangible financial losses from the death may file. The loved ones allowed to file this type of action include:
- The deceased spouse. The surviving spouse can file a wrongful death claim in California. This rule also applies to domestic partners; however, common-law spouses are not eligible to file under California law.
- Children of the wrongful death victim. Children of the deceased may file a wrongful death claim, including biological children, adopted children, stepchildren, and any child living with and dependent upon the victim for at least 180 days prior to the death.
- The deceased victim’s parents. Parents of a minor child or an adult child without descendants may file a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Heirs of the deceased. If a wrongful death victim has no spouse, children, or living parents, the person who would be their heir under California’s intestacy laws may file.
- A designated representative. In cases of multiple eligible family members having a legal claim, the designated legal representative of the deceased may represent the family members in their claim in a single, streamlined lawsuit and then divide the award appropriately.
How to Prove a San Diego Wrongful Death Claim
While every death is tragic and difficult for family members left behind, not every death is a wrongful death in legal terms. Only if the death meets specific legal guidelines is it provably a wrongful death. Evidence must prove four specific elements in order to meet these guidelines. Those elements are negligence, breach of duty of care, causation, and damages.
- Negligence: The family member and their attorney must prove that the at-fault person or entity’s negligent actions directly led to the death when they failed to take reasonable measures or live up to an expected standard of care.
- Breach of duty of care: It must be shown that the at-fault person owed the deceased a duty of care, or the responsibility to act the way a reasonable person would have acted in the same circumstances to prevent an accident.
- Damages: The plaintiff must have provable economic losses from the death, such as loss of a contibuting income to the household, loss of household services from the deceased, medical bills, and funeral expenses.
To prove the above elements of a wrongful death, an attorney will gather evidence such as police or accident reports, medical records, medical bills, accident scene photos or video, testimony from eyewitnesses and/or accident reconstruction experts, and records showing the now-lost income of the deceased.
Financial Costs that Can be Pursued in Wrongful Death Claims
Wrongful death lawsuits are intended to keep the wrongdoer accountable for the hardships negligently or recklessly placed on the surviving family members. The financial amount awarded provides the survivors with a source of income that the deceased would have provided.
The surviving family members must demonstrate the losses they sustained as a result of losing their loved one. While wrongful death claims are emotional, grief is not a recoupable damage. Instead, the court must look at the tangible costs that occurred as a result of the incident. Some examples might include:
- Costs of burial and funeral
- Loss of the family’s financial support
- Cost of the deceased’s potential contribution to household services
- Expenses related to health care, such as ambulance, hospital, and physician bills
- Price of medications and pain relief
- Income lost as a result of time off work
- Punitive damages
At Haffner & Morgan, We’ll Fight For You
If you have lost a loved one or family member due to the negligence of someone else, the skilled wrongful death and personal injury law attorneys at Haffner & Morgan will fight for you.
The emptiness left by the death of a loved one can never be filled. While challenging to process, a claim for wrongful death can help you at least achieve financial peace of mind. At Haffner & Morgan, a wrongful death lawyer will walk you through the legal options you have for the compensation of the death of your loved one. No family should continue to suffer even more hardship after a loved one has died.
Our skilled San Diego wrongful death lawyers will fight to get you the maximum compensation you deserve. Contact Haffner & Morgan today for your free consultation, or call (619) 541-8787.