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Wrongful Death Claims: What Every California Citizen Must Know

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wrongful death claim
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A person dying in an accident cause by another person or entity’s negligence or misconduct is the main premise of wrongful death. The person’s death may occur after suffering complications because of the severe injuries sustained or right at the time the accident happened. Wrongful death claims are often civil cases stemming from personal injury accidents such as motor vehicle collisions, accidents inside the premises or in the workplace, or complicated mishaps such as medical malpractice, aviation or boating accidents. However, similar claims usually follow in a lot of trials of criminal cases like murder, wherein the offending party found liable for the person’s death may either get convicted of a crime in connection with that person’s death or not.

In the case of accidents caused by the negligence of another person or entity, the surviving family members of the decedent may be entitled to recover damages from the liable party. Obviously, potential liable parties vary depending on the type of accident the decedent was involved on. In motor vehicle accidents, the other driver may be held liable, while in premises accidents, the owner or possessor of the property where the person sustained injuries and later died may be held responsible. In cases of accidents caused by a product defect, the manufacturer, wholesaler, or anyone involved in the chain of distribution can be sued for wrongful death. Even certain entities, such as the city, county, state, or federal government, as well as companies responsible for operating commercial trains, trucks, or airlines, may be potential liable parties, too.

The complexity of a wrongful death claim cannot be overstated. This is why it is imperative for the family members to seek an expert in wrongful death cases who can help them in determining the liable parties involved in the decedent’s accident.

As it is, a wrongful death lawsuit is usually brought by the surviving spouse and children of the decedent, the domestic partner, the parents, surviving siblings or children of deceased siblings, grandparents, or individuals who rely on him or her financially. While that is the case, a personal representative of the decedent’s estate is responsible for bringing up the case against the liable party. Apart from wrongful death, the claim may also include claims for personal injury, including expenses incurred and the pain and suffering experienced, before the victim died.

Moreover, bringing up such a claim should be in accordance with the prevailing statutes for filing wrongful death cases. Under California law, a claim for damages as a result of one’s death must be filed within two years of that person’s death. Exceeding the said time limit may cause the remaining family members of the decedent to lose out on the compensation they may receive, let alone the right to file the claim. This is why it is imperative for the representative of the decedent’s estate, as well as the surviving family members, to immediately obtain the services of a wrongful death attorney.

Doing so will speed up the process of determining the liability of the other party. Important evidence must first be obtained that would prove that the misconduct or negligence of the person or entity involved in the accident was the reason for the decedent’s demise. Also, with the help of a lawyer, the surviving family members may be able to secure a full, complete compensation from the liable party by determining the type of damages they may recover, including medical expense, lost financial support, and pain and suffering.