Compassionate Sacramento Wrongful Death Lawyers Help During Your Time of Need
Fatal Accident Resulting In a Wrongful Death
Nothing is more devastating than losing a loved one unexpectedly. When someone close to us is taken before their time, the shock and grief can be overwhelming. It is difficult to put a price on an unexpected loss. However, if it is the result of someone’s negligence, the law provides certain relatives the right to recover financial damages. Such legal actions are called wrongful death claims.
What is a Sacramento Wrongful Death Claim?
Under California Code of Civil Procedure section 377.60, the surviving family members of an individual < a hrekilled due to the negligent or wrongful actions of another may hold the responsible party accountable for various damages. However, only specific beneficiaries of the deceased may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim, including:
- Surviving spouse and children
- Parents, siblings, children of deceased siblings, and grandparents, and other lineal descendants
- Putative spouse (spouse that believes in good faith he or she was married to the deceased), their children, or stepchildren
- Representative of the deceased’s estate
It is not uncommon for multiple claimants to come forward in a Sacramento wrongful death case, but how the recovered damages will be divided is determined by the involved parties, not the court.
What Types of Damages are Recoverable in Wrongful Death?
The economic and non-economic damages that may be recovered in a wrongful death case will depend on the circumstances of the death, such as the type of accident, the extent of the damages, and the responsible party’s degree of fault.
It may be possible to recover the following types of damages:
- Funeral/burial expenses
- Medical costs
- Loss of household support
- Loss of deceased’s income
- Loss of benefits
- Loss of child-rearing support
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
Because there is so much variation in the value of wrongful death cases, it is wise to seek the advice of a Sacramento wrongful death attorney before attempting to file a lawsuit of any type. It is almost impossible for someone without significant legal experience to understand and navigate the complex laws and rules regarding wrongful death suits. Instead of a grieving family taking this responsibility, it is far better to turn that job over to someone who has the experience and knowledge to handle it well.
To ensure that you receive the full extent of damages you are entitled to in your wrongful death claim, get legal assistance from the experienced attorneys at Demas Law Group, P.C. Your potential recovery may number in the millions. Find out more about your rights and best legal options by calling us today at (916) 444-0100.Other Questions? Click for our Frequently Asked Wrongful Death Questions Library
Demas Law Group’s Sacramento Wrongful Death Cases
$2.5 Million: Fatal Truck Accident
When the parents of two sisters were killed in a wrongful death truck accident, Demas Law Group helped the sisters win a $2.5 million verdict at trial in Tuolumne County. Read more about the casehere.
$1.3 million: Wrongful Death of a Child
A nine-year-old in Sacramento was electrocuted to death by a faulty lamp post at a car wash. Demas Law Group helped her mother recover $1.3 million in damages. Read more about the case here.
Economic, Non-Economic, and Punitive Damages
First, loved ones are entitled to collect economic damages. These types of damages might be described as the "nuts and bolts" of the economic losses sustained through a death. They could also be described as losses that have a "price tag." These would include the costs associated with medical care and funeral expenses. They would also include loss of income if the loved one was a provider, the loss of services if the loved one provided child care or other non-paid support for the family, and the loss of future income and opportunities. They are the types of expenses that can be calculated and listed on a balance sheet.
A second type of damages could be labeled as non-economic damages. These types of losses include pain and suffering due to the anguish of losing a loved one, as well as the loved one’s pain and suffering due to the accident itself. They could also include the loss of love, affection, and companionship that so often accompanies a wrongful death. Finally, non-economic damages may be recovered for the loss of guidance and support that a parent gives a child or an adult gives senior parents. These losses are not calculated per se; they are estimated based on the relationships between the parties.
Finally, a family may be entitled to punitive damages under certain circumstances. Punitive damages may be awarded if it can be shown that the person who caused the death was deliberately negligent. Punitive damages do not figure into all wrongful death cases, and it is sometimes difficult to prove the intent of the negligent party. However, when it can be shown unequivocally that the person who caused the accident meant to do so, it is likely that the family can include punitive damages in their suit for compensation.
How Soon Should You File a Wrongful Death Claim in Sacramento?
In order to protect your right to obtain significant compensation, it is crucial to contact an attorney as soon as possible. In most cases, the statute of limitations is within two years of the fatal injury or death. However, if the wrongful death claim is the result of medical malpractice, the deadline may be extended to three years after the discovery of medical negligence. If a government agency is at-fault, the deadline may be as short as six months. Do not wait to begin the claims process because you may inadvertently forfeit your right to recover damages altogether.
Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
If you believe that you have lost a loved one due to the negligent and/or reckless actions of another party, consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. You have a limited time to file a wrongful death claim, and very, very few circumstances allow an individual to pursue legal action past the deadline, also known as the statute of limitations.
Therefore, you should contact the legal team at Demas Law Group, P.C. to get started on your claim right away. We have helped countless families get justice after a fatal accident. Our case results include verdicts and settlements numbering in the millions of dollars. To find out more about what our firm can do for you, please call (916) 444-0100. We offer free consultations.
The Statute of Limitations Can Vary
In California, the statute of limitations, or the time allowed for someone to file a claim for wrongful death, depends on both the circumstances of the death and the age of the parties with the claim. In general, the statute of limitations allows two years from the date of the accident that caused the death for the interested parties to begin a lawsuit and file it in the proper court. However, this statute of limitations can easily be changed by one of the following factors.
Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Claims in Sacramento
For instance, if the case involves medical malpractice, the statute of limitations can be decreased to as little as one year. This is usually the case when the victim was obviously killed as a result of overt malpractice or failure to administer life-saving treatments. In these cases, the courts generally take the position that little has to be done to determine that malpractice has occurred, and the families should be able to file a claim almost immediately. However, in some medical malpractice cases, the statute of limitations may be extended beyond the normal one-year period. This is often the case when there is a genuine question about the quality of medical care or when the family is at first unaware that any malpractice occurred.
Delayed Discovery and Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
For example, if an elderly patient died from what appeared to be a heart attack in a nursing home, the family would not think of filing a wrongful death suit. However, if one year later it was brought to light that five other patients in the same nursing home died within a short period of time from being given the wrong drugs, the family might realize that their loved one had also been a victim. In that case, the court might allow the family more time than the one-year statutory period in which to file a claim.
How Age Can Affect Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
The age of the claimants also affects the statute of limitations for any wrongful death case. If the injured person or the party filing a claim is a minor or is of diminished mental capacity, the statute of limitations may be extended to allow time to appoint a guardian ad litem. This allows someone to act on the minor or incapacitated person’s behalf and ensure that their rights are protected.
Wrongful Death Claims against Sacramento Government Entities
Finally, claims against government agencies must be preceded by a special type of filing known as a government tort claim. These claims have a statute of limitations of six months, and must precede any filing of a private civil action.
Contact Us Today
If you are unsure about your rights in regard to a wrongful death claim, it is wise to consult a Sacramento personal injury attorney who can examine your case and give you the information you need to make informed decisions. Contact Demas Law Group, P.C. now for immediate legal assistance.