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In any situation, the loss of a loved one is a profoundly sad event that changes the lives of all those closed to the deceased. The tragedy and magnitude of the loss only grows when their loved one died unexpectedly from someone’s negligent, wrongful, or illegal actions and was likely avoidable with exercise of due care. In Moreno Valley, if someone caused loss of life from this type of conduct, they may be liable to the deceased’s loved ones for damages from the wrongful death. If you lost a loved one due to someone else’s actions, speak to an experienced Moreno Valley Wrongful Death attorney to see if you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries stemming from the loss.

Risk of Wrongful Death in Moreno Valley

Moreno Valley is a beautiful place but not the safest city in the country by far. Based on data from 18,000 local law enforcement agencies in the United States, the city of over 209,000 was only safer than 12 percent of cities in the country in 2018. The risk of becoming the one of the 776 reported victims of violent crime is very real, so even with proper precautions tragedies still occur. Several fatalities have been reported each of the past few years due to violent crime. Moreno Valley also reported hundreds of violent crimes in 2018. In conjunction with the nearly 939 traffic injuries and fatalities reported by the Office of Traffic Safety – 105 related to alcohol – it means wrongful deaths can and do happen in this beautiful Riverside County town.

Situations Where Wrongful Death Actions May Arise

Some situations, such as an innocent person killed by a drunk driver are commonly brought to mind when thinking of scenarios where a wrongful death claim could begin. However, any number of circumstances can bring about a Moreno Valley wrongful death claim. Whenever someone passes away as a result of another party’s negligence, recklessness, crime, or otherwise wrongful behavior, the decedent’s survivors with the right standing may properly bring a wrongful death claim for compensation. Often, police actions, violent crime, medical malpractice, workplace incidents such as construction accidents, and drunk driving fatalities give rise to wrongful death claims.

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 created classes of survivors that have legal 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 Moreno Valley 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:

  • Children;
  • 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:

  • Parents;
  • Putative spouse;
  • Stepchildren; or
  • Children of a putative spouse

The right passes to the secondary class of survivors only if they can prove they were financially dependent on their deceased loved one.

It’s important for those who’ve lost their loved one to understand 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. Just because they may be charged with a crime has no effect on your ability to recover.

Are Wrongful Deaths the Same as Survival Actions in Moreno Valley?

Though nothing will adequately compensate you for a loved one’s death and bring them back, both you as a family member and the deceased’s estate have ways to keep damages from the party responsible. An estate and family members have separate causes of action to pursue for damages from a death.

It sounds counterintuitive, but 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, are filed and pursued by a deceased’s eligible family members of a decedent for damages from someone who illegally, willfully, recklessly, or negligently caused their family member’s death.

How Much is my Wrongful Death Claim Worth?

It’s not possible to compensate you completely for the loss of a loved one and their permanent absence, but it’s normal to wonder what you may be entitled to recover. If you are able to show in court that someone acted in a criminal, negligent, or wrongful manner and caused the resulting loss of life, you may be eligible for an award of damages from the judge or jury.

Compensatory damages are designed to do the impossible – make you whole for the loss of your loved one. Once you prove your injuries, the court may award damages for harms such as:

  • Expected financial support from the deceased;
  • Value of services the household received from decedent; and
  • Loss of love and affection the decedent provided.

Though a loved one’s survivors may feel they are entitled to damages to punish a bad actor’s conduct which resulted in the death, California doesn’t permit family to an award of punitive damages. To understand what you may be entitled to and discuss the possibility of pursuing these damages on behalf of the estate in a survival action, consult a Moreno Valley Wrongful Death attorney.

When do I File my Case?

If you are unable to come to a settlement with the responsible party or their insurance company, it may be necessary to pursue compensation through the court system. This involves filing a wrongful death claim in civil court.

It may sound overwhelming to pursue legal action so quickly after losing a loved one, but it’s important not to delay too long – otherwise you may be without legal recourse to seek compensation. California, like every state, enacted laws that govern how much time you have to file a lawsuit for damages in court after a wrongful death occurs. Usually, you have 2 years after their death to file your case or are permanently barred by the statute of limitations from seeking recovery through the courts.

Contact a Moreno Valley Wrongful Death Attorney Today

If you have lost a family member due to someone else’s wrongful conduct, contact the experienced Moreno Valley Wrongful Death Lawyers at Walton Law, APC right away. Our knowledgeable attorneys have spent years delivering compassionate, skilled 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, risk free, case review today. The initial consultation is free and has no obligation, and you pay nothing until we win your case. Let our attorneys evaluate your situation, answer your questions, and fight to recover maximum possible compensation for the injuries you’ve suffered from the loss of your loved one so you can get your life back on track.