When a loved one suffers a serious personal injury due to another party’s negligence, it’s natural to feel frustrated and uncertain about your legal options for your family’s recovery. When the victim does not survive their injury, the death can be devastating for the family. California state law upholds legal processes within the California Code of Civil Procedure for victims of personal injuries and the surviving family members of the victims of wrongful deaths. It’s essential to know how these legal processes work and what to expect should your family need to handle such a situation.
Standard Framework of a Personal Injury Claim
California state law allows an individual to file a personal injury claim when another party has caused an injury, illness, or economic loss due to negligence or intentional harm. In a typical personal injury claim, the plaintiff and their attorney must identify the party responsible for their claimed damages and provide clear proof that those damages resulted from the negligence in question. If successful, a personal injury claim can yield compensation for the plaintiff’s medical expenses, lost income, and any other losses resulting from the incident in question.
Most personal injury claims settle outside of court. This is advantageous for both plaintiffs and defendants. The former secures compensation for their losses more swiftly. The latter can put the incident firmly behind them as soon as possible. The overwhelming majority of personal injury claims filed in California and throughout the US settle outside of court and do not require litigation.
Unique Factors of Wrongful Death Claims
A wrongful death claim is functionally similar to a personal injury claim. In many ways, a wrongful death claim effectively replaces a personal injury claim when the victim does not survive. If the victim otherwise could have filed a personal injury claim against a defendant, their family would act on their behalf after their death and pursue a wrongful death claim instead.
Every state has unique laws pertaining to wrongful death claims. These laws outline who is allowed to file a wrongful death claim and the damages available from a successful claim. In California, a close family member of the deceased is the one to file a wrongful death claim. This is usually a spouse, adult child, parent, or another close relative. If the deceased has no such kin, anyone who has a valid claim on the deceased’s estate or who was financially dependent on the deceased may file a wrongful death claim.
California also upholds different rules for wrongful death claims when it comes to the damages available to claimants. Effectively, plaintiffs in wrongful death claims can receive many of the same types of compensation as personal injury claimants can. Any damages incurred by the deceased between the time of their final injury or illness and their death, or any damages incurred by the deceased’s estate as a result of the death form just part of the compensation available in a successful wrongful death claim.
Wrongful death plaintiffs in California may also receive survivor benefits to compensate the family’s pain and suffering and loss of economic support provided by the deceased. Depending on the specific circumstances of the case, these survivor benefits could be quite substantial.
Legal Counsel Is Essential in a Wrongful Death Claim
If your family recently experienced a wrongful death, your claim may seem straightforward at first. However, it is essential to seek professional legal guidance to determine the best possible approach to handling the situation. Your legal counsel can help determine who, if anyone, bears liability for your loved one’s death and work to ensure your family receives acceptable compensation under California state laws.
A wrongful death can be devastating for the victim’s surviving family. It’s natural to feel lost, angry, and uncertain of what to do in this situation. An experienced Hermosa Beach wrongful death attorney can provide the compassionate legal guidance and objective interpretation you need to make more sense of your position and legal options in this difficult scenario.
The team at McLachlan Law, APC has years of experience handling the most complex personal injury and wrongful death claims in the Hermosa Beach area. We know the common frustrations and obstacles local clients face when confronted with these legal proceedings, and we make every effort to make these processes as smooth for our clients as we possibly can. If your loved one has suffered a catastrophic and potentially fatal injury, seek guidance from an attorney experienced in both personal injury and wrongful death claims. Contact McLachlan Law, APC today to schedule a case evaluation from a Hermosa Beach wrongful death lawyer.