The unexpected death of a loved one is a traumatic, life-altering event. When the death was caused by someone else’s negligence, it can be even harder to cope with, since the death could have been avoided.
Here at Sepulveda Sanchez Law, we understand how hard it is to lose a close family member. A compassionate personal injury attorney from our firm will help you obtain justice and compensation while respecting your grieving process and treating you with care. If you have lost a loved one in an unfortunate, preventable accident, call Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer Gabriel Sanchez today. Se habla Español
What Is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death occurs when someone dies as a result of someone else’s negligence. An elderly grandfather passing away peacefully at the hospital would not be considered wrongful death. However, if your grandfather died because his nursing home staff didn’t bother to take enough care of him to prevent bedsores, and his bedsores got infected and he died, that would fall under wrongful death.
Wrongful death cases can be clear-cut, or they may require some investigation to determine liability. Experienced lawyer Gabriel Sanchez has the resources and knowledge to find the liable parties and hold them accountable through a wrongful death suit.
Common Types of Accidents That May Result in Fatalities
Wrongful death can unfortunately happen at any time, in many different types of situations. Some of the more common causes of wrongful death include:
Car accidents are very common in Los Angeles, and sadly we have one of the highest rates of traffic fatalities. No matter how skilled, careful, and safe you are when you drive, there is always a chance that someone else on the road isn’t paying attention or is driving dangerously. Car accidents can happen in an instant and can have tragic consequences.
Motorcycle accidents and bicycle accidents are also common and lead even more frequently to death. Motorcycles and bicycles don’t offer the same kind of protection that cars do, and if someone on a bike is hit by a car, chances are unfortunately high that they won’t survive. If you lost a loved one in any of these types of accidents, speak with a skilled lawyer as soon as possible.
Damages in a Fatal Accident Lawsuit
When a loved one unexpectedly passes away, it can put a strain on your finances. Funeral and burial costs can add up, and if you lost a main source of income for your family, budget can get very tight.
In a wrongful death lawsuit, an experienced lawyer could help you recover compensation for:
- Medical treatment and hospital bills before the death of your loved one
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of future income
- Loss of benefits
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
No amount of money can bring your loved one back, but we will fight to get you the compensation you need and deserve. You should be able to mourn in peace, without the added stress of wondering how you’re going to pay for all the bills and how you’re going to support your family in the future.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Los Angeles?
In California, the parties eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit are:
- Domestic partner
If there is no surviving spouse or children, then siblings or parents may also be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Parents and stepchildren may also file a wrongful death lawsuit if they can prove that they were financially dependent on the deceased party.
We recommend calling Sepulveda Sanchez Law for a complimentary consultation if you are not sure if you’re eligible to file a lawsuit or not. A dedicated lawyer can listen to your case and let you know if you are legally able to bring a fatal accident lawsuit. We could also advise you on whether you have a good chance of recovering compensation if you do bring a lawsuit.
Liability in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
To determine liability in a wrongful death suit, we have to find out who was ultimately responsible for the negligence that led to the death. Typical liable parties in a wrongful death suit can include:
- The drunk driver who caused a car accident
- The manufacturer of a vehicle part that malfunctioned
- The landlord who failed to repair a faulty handrail in an apartment building
- The manufacturer of a medical device that failed
- The doctor who misdiagnosed or failed to diagnose a fatal disease
- The city government who failed to maintain safe sidewalk conditions
A civil lawsuit is entirely separate from a criminal trial, but both can happen at the same time. A skilled attorney can handle your civil wrongful death lawsuit at the same time as a criminal trial is happening, if necessary. In most cases of wrongful death, though, there is no need for a criminal trial. When neglect, rather than criminal intent, was the cause of death, a civil lawsuit is typically enough.
There are cases where the person responsible for the death of your loved one is a friend, neighbor, or even family member. This can happen when, for instance, you’re over at a friend’s house and they don’t bother to warn you that the porch rail is unsafe.
Many people feel uncomfortable bringing a lawsuit against someone close to them, but you should know that most of the time your case won’t be directed against this person. Instead, we will go after their homeowner’s insurance, which exists for situations like this. You deserve compensation for all of the unexpected bills and expenses you’ll incur after a sudden death in the family, and you shouldn’t feel guilty about getting it.
How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim?
In California, typically you have two years from the death of your loved one to file a wrongful death claim. However, there are exceptions to this rule. These can include:
- Minors have two years from the day they turn 18 to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a deceased parent
- You have two years from when you learn that your loved one died due to negligence, in what’s known as the “discovery rule”
- In medical malpractice cases, you may have one or three years to file a lawsuit, depending on the circumstances. You should call us for a consultation as soon as possible, as medical malpractice cases can be complex
- If your loved one died due to governmental neglect, such as from tripping and falling on a broken sidewalk, you only have 6 months to file your claim
In all cases, we highly recommend calling us sooner rather than later. You don’t want to let the statute of limitations run out on your case, as once it closes you lose your shot at compensation. There may be exceptions, so even if you think the statute has passed you should still call us, but in general, it’s better to call a local lawyer as soon as possible after a fatal accident.
Seek Legal Help from a Los Angeles Wrongful Death Attorney
If your loved one has passed away due to another person’s careless actions, call our firm right away. At Sepulveda Sanchez Law, you will speak directly to a lawyer, and we will give you personal attention. We won’t just tell you if you have a case or not. We’ll actually go into details and give you an evaluation of how much we think your case is worth.
Our entire office is fully bilingual in both Spanish and English. Contact us today to set up a free consultation with a Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer.