When the negligent actions of another party injure an individual, the injured person may file a personal injury claim to recover compensation for their losses from the incident. In the event the victim dies of their injury, they will be unable to file a personal injury lawsuit, so their surviving loved ones must file a wrongful death claim instead.
This type of civil claim works very similarly to a personal injury claim. However, California state law has unique rules when it comes to who is allowed to file a wrongful death claim, the damages available, and how the proceedings of the lawsuit influence the probate process for the deceased. If you have recently lost a loved one unexpectedly and believe that another party is to blame, a Redondo Beach wrongful death attorney can help make moving on a little easier by holding the party responsible for the death accountable for their actions.
Why You Should Choose McLachlan Law, APC
Wrongful death claims are painful, emotional, and stressful experiences for everyone involved. When you suddenly lose a loved one and recognize that it may be due to the actions of another party, it’s natural to feel a mix of uncertain emotions. Processing grief over the loss of your loved one while trying to manage your understandable frustration over the circumstances of their death is incredibly difficult. The right Redondo Beach wrongful death lawyer can make the legal processes of a wrongful death claim easier to manage.
Attorney Mike McLachlan has more than 25 years of experience handling complex civil cases, including wrongful death claims. Our firm understands that a wrongful death in your family can be an incredibly painful experience, and we will help you navigate every phase of your legal proceedings as completely as possible. You can rest assured knowing our team is ready to address any questions or concerns about the process, and we always strive for maximum recovery for our clients in every case we accept.
Why Do I Need an Attorney?
A wrongful death claim may seem like a straightforward issue at first. You know that another party is responsible for the death of your loved one; therefore, they are responsible for all the economic damages resulting from the death. Most wrongful death claims are complicated matters, and a defendant may dispute their liability or object to other parts of a plaintiff’s claim. A Redondo Beach wrongful death attorney can help their client address these issues with confidence, build a comprehensive lawsuit that seeks maximum compensation, and leave as little room as possible for the defendant to argue their responsibility for the plaintiff’s damages.
An experienced attorney can essentially handle a client’s legal needs on their behalf. This includes ensuring the client makes all necessary court arrangements, meets all paperwork filing deadlines, and satisfies all of the court’s procedural requirements for their claim. Attempting to handle these matters on your own while processing your grief over the loss of a loved one is an incredible challenge. Speak with a Redondo Beach wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible after losing a loved one to another party’s negligence.
Types of Wrongful Death Claims
Many of the situations that lead to personal injury claims also lead to wrongful death claims. Essentially, a wrongful death claim is the worst-case scenario for a personal injury matter. It’s not uncommon for a person to sustain serious injuries due to another party’s negligence and begin the process of a personal injury lawsuit only to succumb to their injuries, leaving their loved ones to pursue a wrongful death claim instead. Some of the most common causes of wrongful death claims in the United States include:
- Motor vehicle accidents. If a negligent driver causes a fatal accident, their personal auto insurance may provide some compensation to the victim’s family, but they will likely face liability for a wrongful death claim and additional damages as well. When a fatal accident occurs due to driving under the influence, intentional recklessness, or other criminal activity, it is likely the defendant will face criminal prosecution as well.
- Defective products. If a product manufacturer releases a dangerous or defective product causing a consumer to die as a result, the manufacturer is liable for the wrongful death. It’s possible for products to cause fatal injuries due to design flaws, production defects, and failure to include appropriate safety warnings and instructions for use.
- Intentional torts. When an individual intentionally commits violence against another person, this is an intentional tort. It leaves the offender vulnerable to both criminal prosecution from the state and civil action from the victim. When an intentional tort results in a fatality, the offender will likely face severe punishment for some level of homicide as well as their civil liability to the victim’s family.
- Medical malpractice. If a medical professional fails to adhere to a patient’s acceptable standard of care or makes a fatal error during a medical procedure and the patient dies, the party responsible for the death could be liable for medical malpractice. This not only leads to civil liability but the potential loss of their professional license and possibly even criminal penalties as well.
Ultimately, any situation that results in a fatality that would otherwise proceed to a personal injury case had the victim survived could precipitate a wrongful death claim in California.
Winning Your Wrongful Death Claim
A Redondo Beach wrongful death attorney can help you determine your eligibility to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of a recently deceased loved one. In California, the personal representative named in the deceased’s will or estate will act on behalf of the deceased during wrongful death litigation. If there is no representative named, or if the deceased does not have any formal end-of-life plans, the court may appoint a representative if no eligible parties stand up to accept responsibility as the deceased’s personal advocate.
California law allows a deceased individual’s spouse, adult child, parent, or other close blood relative to file a wrongful death claim. If the deceased has no such kin, anyone who can prove a valid claim on the deceased’s estate or any part of it may have the opportunity to file a wrongful death claim.
An experienced Redondo Beach wrongful death lawyer can help you determine your best available options in a wrongful death claim. It’s vital to act quickly as California only permits a two-year statute of limitations on civil claims, and this window could be shorter in some cases. Contact McLachlan Law, APC today to schedule a case evaluation with a reliable and experienced Redondo Beach wrongful death attorney.