The passing of your loved one may have been shocking. If you were not expecting their death, you may still have many questions about it. Accidents happen all the time, but many of them can be avoided. If you believe that the death of your loved one was due to the negligence, recklessness, carelessness, or brutality and maliciousness of another person, then you may be able to file a wrongful death suit.
Wrongful death suits are not about getting revenge or seeking solace and closure. If the person who was suddenly taken away from you was the primary breadwinner in the family, it can leave you and your children destitute. In other words, suing the person whose action or inaction led directly to the death of someone you depended on is, in many cases, about protecting your material interests.
Contacting a wrongful death attorney Sherman Oaks is your first step in this process. Speaking to our wrongful death lawyer will give you a better sense of whether you have grounds for filing such a lawsuit.
When Can You File a Wrongful Death Suit?
In determining whether you have grounds for filing a suit, the way that your loved one died is not nearly as important as figuring out if someone was responsible for their death. Here are some of the most common grounds for wrongful death suits:
1. Medical malpractice
You expect physicians and surgeons to meet the highest standards in medicine. If your loved one went in for an operation that is widely considered low risk and did not come through it alive, it is right for you to suspect error on the part of the surgical team. Even in high-risk surgeries, the team should take measures to preserve the life of the patient.
If there is evidence of incompetence or slipshod medical practice and your loved one ended up dead because of it, then you should hire a death lawyer in Sherman Oaks and investigate the hospital and surgical team.
If your loved one was killed in an accident, then you may have grounds for a wrongful death suit. If Death from a car accident, slip and fall injury in a public venue, electric shock in an unprotected space, or injury from a public transport accident are some examples of these kinds of cases. You can hold drivers, proprietors, insurance companies, and municipal authorities responsible. If your loved one was killed in an accident, you should ensure that the matter is investigated thoroughly and hold the proper people accountable.
Murder cases are typically taken up and prosecuted by the state. Your local district attorney takes the lead in such cases and prosecutes the person suspected of the crime. However, the accountability need not stop there. If the person who killed your loved one is captured, they can be subject to both criminal prosecution and civil litigation. Even if they are acquitted in a criminal court, they can be found liable in a civil court and made to pay money. In criminal court, the standard is beyond reasonable doubt; in civil cases, it is preponderance of the evidence, which is a much lower threshold to meet.
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In the state of California, the people allowed to bring wrongful death suits include:
- Surviving spouse
- Adult children of the deceased
- Family members acting on behalf of a minor whose parent was killed
- Grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles, if the deceased was without a spouse or children
It is also possible for long-term partners to sue for wrongful death. In these cases, the person would have to prove the length, seriousness, and durability of the relationship, and that they were dependent on the departed financially.
How Much Time Do You Have to File a Lawsuit?
You have one year from the time that the person passes away to file a wrongful death suit, and the clock starts clicking on the day of the decedent’s death. If you are filing a wrongful death suit against a government body, you will need to file a “notice of claim” within 90 days of your loved one’s death. In some cases, these deadlines can be extended.
Why You Must Get Lawyers Involved Early
The moment that you come to believe that something is not quite right about the way your loved one died you should hire a death lawyer in Sherman Oaks. Like a personal injury attorney, the main aim of a death lawyer in Sherman Oaks is to get you the maximum amount of money possible. A wrongful death lawyer will want to sit down with you and ask you to recall the events and circumstances leading up to your loved one’s death and everything that happened afterward.
If your loved one was murdered and you do not believe the police are putting enough time and resources into finding the killer, your wrongful death lawyer can put their own private investigation team on the case. Once they find the killer, you may be able to present enough evidence to the public authorities for an arrest and prosecution. You can then hold the assailant accountable in a civil court.
If your loved one died in the hospital, your attorney will get to the bottom of what happened, they will interview the surgical team, review all practices and procedures, and subpoena all relevant documents.
In the end, your attorney will need to prove that your loved one was killed because of the actions or inactions of a certain person, and that you are therefore owed a certain amount of money. Wrongful death lawsuit lawyers specialize in making such a case. Wrongful death lawsuit lawyers can help you get justice for your dead loved one.
Most of these cases are settled without the pain and expense of a trial. The best lawyers know how to gather the kind of evidence that will compel the respondent to settle rather than go to trial. Contact our Sherman Oaks personal injury attorney for more information on your case!