The loss of a loved one is a traumatic, emotionally charged experience that can make you feel overwhelmed, saddened and angry – particularly when that loss results from a preventable act of negligence or wrongful conduct. It’s important for grieving families to understand they have legal rights when death was preventable. Those rights can provide you with the justice and compensation you deserve. Equally as important is choosing the right Lancaster wrongful death lawyers to stand behind you in your fight for justice.
A wrongful death is, quite simply, the death of a person in a manner that could have been prevented had the offending party taken more care. Typically due to the negligence of another party, these cases involve sudden, unexplained, and traumatic accidents that result in death, arising from a careless, deliberate or willful act of another. The cause could be a violent crime, or it could be due to negligent acts such as failure to follow standard safety regulations or failure to warn of potential dangers. Lastly, they could be due to actions on another party that are considered reckless.
In 2015 alone, there were 146,000 unintentional injury deaths in this country, according to the CDC. The top three causes of death included unintentional falls, motor vehicle traffic deaths and unintentional poisoning deaths. After those, other common causes included medical malpractice, unsafe premises and workplace fatalities.
If your loved one has met their sudden demise due to the negligence of another, you may wonder if you should contact a wrongful death attorney in an effort to consider all options. Here at Kuzyk Law, we recommend always reaching out for an initial consultation at the very least. It’s free and it can give you peace of mind either way.
But for now, we would like to outline a few important details that may help you understand your legal rights under California law and when it’s time to contact Lancaster wrongful death lawyers.
Circumstance of Death
Whether you can file a wrongful death suit will depend heavily on the circumstances that surround the loss of your loved one. Under California law, you can only file such a lawsuit if it involves negligence, recklessness or intentional wrongful acts. For example, if your loved one perished in a car accident where they were determined to be at fault, you likely do not have a case. If, however, that accident was found to be caused by the clear negligence of another, essentially a preventable accident that led to your loved one’s passing, you likely do have a case. Some examples include:
- Drunk driving accidents where the other motorist was driving under the influence.
- Drowning accidents where a property owner neglected to provide adequate supervision while a child, for example, was in their care.
- Product liability cases where a defective product resulted in a preventable death.
At the very foundation of any wrongful death claim is the ability to prove negligence. Without it, you cannot pursue legal action.
Approved Family Members
Also under California law is the provision that only certain family members are eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. These include:
- Immediate members of the family impacted by their loved one’s death (spouses or domestic partners, surviving children and grandchildren).
- Stepchildren who were dependent on the deceased (in some cases)
- Other parties entitled to the deceased’s estate.
Your legal team can help you determine eligibility based on what your relationship to the deceased was.
Financial and Emotional Losses
Often times, the loss of a loved one creates an economic burden on the surviving family, particularly if the deceased was the breadwinner. Not only are there costs associated with the actual death, such as medical expenses and funeral bills; there are also far-reaching future financial costs that involve paying basic bills like mortgages. On top of the financial concerns, there are also non-economic damages that involve emotional injuries, loss of companionship and loss of consortium, or intimacy.
A wrongful death claim can seek compensation for any and all of these damages.
Assistance with the Process
Perhaps you know you need help and you believe you have a solid case, but you just don’t know where to turn. This alone is an excellent reason to contact a wrongful death attorney in Lancaster. Your lawyer will handle all the details, file paperwork, collect evidence and do all the legwork for your case. Especially since you are still reeling from your loss, this can be a huge burden off your shoulders. After all, you may have other children to care for. You still have to go to work and pay your bills in the meantime. You don’t have the time, knowledge or energy to deal with the insurance companies, law enforcement and other bureaucratic red tape that’s involved in these types of cases.
We do. Here at Kuzyk Law, we work with wrongful death cases on a daily basis. Working with our Lancaster wrongful death lawyers not only means you get the necessary guidance and support to navigate your case; it also means you get aggressive representation to ensure you are not taken advantage of.
Contact Kuzyk Law
Backed by a genuine commitment to serving families like yours who are facing the most difficult situation of their lives, Kuzyk Law has been the trusted personal injury law firm in the Lancaster area since 1971. We are here for you 24/7, so please give us a call for a free, no-obligation consultation today at 661-945-6969.