Losing a loved one is a sad, life-altering event for their friends and family under any circumstances. That tragedy grows exponentially when their loved one died as the result of another’s negligent, wrongful, or illegal actions and the death was most likely avoidable. If a party in Lake Elsinore is responsible for loss of life under these circumstances, they may be liable to decedent’s survivors for the wrongful death. If you have had a loved one die due to negligent, wrongful, or illegal actions, contact an experienced Lake Elsinore Wrongful Death attorney to learn if you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries.
Lake Elsinore Wrongful Death Statistics
In the grand scheme of things, Lake Elsinore is a safe place to live. Even as a small resort community of 66,000 in remote Riverside County, a risk of becoming the victim of violent crime still does exist. Several fatalities have been reported each of the past few years due to violent crime. Last year, 178 incidents of violent crime were reported, several of which were fatal. Lake Elsinore also had many fatal motor vehicle accidents in the same year – some due to intoxicated driving. Despite Lake Elsinore’s relative safety, it is still very possible for avoidable fatalities to occur that give rise to wrongful death claims.
What Events Can Count as Wrongful Deaths?
Some scenarios such as drunk driving fatalities commonly come up when thinking of causes for wrongful death suits. However, there are many less-common situations that can bring about these claims in Lake Elsinore. Any time a person dies as a result of someone else’s negligence, criminal behavior, or wrongful behavior, the decedent’s survivors may properly pursue a wrongful death claim seeking recovery. Common wrongful death situations can involve:
- Violent crimes;
- Medical malpractice;
- Police actions;
- Construction accidents; and
- Drunk driving fatalities.
Can I Bring a Wrongful Death Claim?
Anyone who loses a loved one can feel they were hurt due to the death – however, just because you grieve doesn’t mean you can always pursue a wrongful death claim. California has enumerated which survivors have standing to make such claims. If a decedent has either very few survivors or has multiple survivors that may properly sue, things can become complicated. To learn what is permissible in these situations, speak to an experienced Lake Elsinore Wrongful Death attorney.
California set out different classes of individuals having standing to sue in wrongful death lawsuits. The first group is composed from a decedent’s close family:
- Surviving spouses;
- Registered domestic partners; and
- Living children from a deceased child of the decedent.
Only if none of the first category exist may a secondary class of survivors have standing to sue. This secondary class includes decedent’s:
- Putative spouse;
- Stepchildren; or
- Children of a putative spouse
The right passes to the secondary class of survivors only if they can prove their financial dependence on the decedent.
It’s important to know a wrongful death suit brought by an eligible survivor can be filed regardless of whether a pending or current criminal case exists against the defendant.
Is a Wrongful Death Claim the Same as a Survival Action Claim?
Though a decedent and their loved ones will never be fully compensated for what has happened, there are ways they and the estate can seek damages against the party responsible at the same time through very similar causes of action. Though it sounds counterintuitive, survival actions are not brought by a decedent’s survivors. Rather, they are claims brought on behalf of the decedent by a representative of their estate for injuries the victim suffered prior to their death. Wrongful death claims, on the other hand, can be brought by eligible family members of a decedent to seek compensation if someone illegally, wrongfully, or negligently caused their family member’s death.
How Much is My Wrongful Death Claim Worth?
It’s common for survivors to wonder how much their claim is worth for a harm that can never be fully redressed. If you can prove the defendant acted criminally, negligently, or wrongfully, you may be eligible for to recover damages for your injuries.
Compensatory damages are designed to do the impossible – make you whole for your injuries. Once you prove your harms in court, you may be awarded damages for:
- Expected financial support to be provided by the deceased;
- Value of services the household received from decedent; and
- Loss of love and affection the decedent provided.
Though survivors of a decedent may be entitled to compensatory damages in wrongful death actions, you cannot recover punitive damages in these cases – to do so, speak to an experienced Lake Elsinore Wrongful Death attorney about pursuing these damages on behalf of the estate through a survival action.
How Do I Know When to File a Wrongful Death Claim?
If are the survivor of a decedent in Lake Elsinore and was compensation for your injuries, do not delay in acting – time is not on your side. In California, you much file your wrongful death claim in civil court within a 2-year statute of limitations. If you do not file your claim within the statutory deadline, your wrongful death action will be dismissed by a court and you will permanently lose your right to recover compensation for your injuries in civil court.
Contact a Lake Elsinore Wrongful Death Attorney Today
If you have lost a deceased family member due to someone else’s wrongful conduct, contact the experienced Lake Elsinore Wrongful Death Lawyers at Walton Law today. Our knowledgeable attorneys have years of experience delivering tailored, personalized representation for victims just like you and have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our clients. Contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (866)-338-7079 or via our online Contact Page to schedule a confidential, no risk, no obligation case review today. The initial consultation is free, and you pay nothing until we win your case. Let our attorneys evaluate the your unique circumstances and work diligently to obtain the best possible outcome for you so you can get your life back on track.