Yes, the evidence in your favor may be overwhelming, but wrongful death claims are very different from personal injury lawsuits, and it’s the things you might not know that could ultimately cost you tens of thousands of dollars. For example:
If the drunk driver was in a company car or supposedly at work, you could sue his company or employer as well. Did you know that?
The statute of limitations on California wrongful death claims is very strict, and if you miss the deadline for filing the lawsuit, your case has no chance of succeeding, regardless of the validity of your claim. Do you know what the statute of limitations is? Do you know how to actually go about filing a claim?
Wrongful death lawsuits in California allow for the recovery of damages including the income your partner would have been likely to earn over his or her lifetime. Do you know how to calculate that income, including bonuses, commissions, gifts from the company, pensions, etc.? Expert testimony will be required to substantiate this part of your claim. Do you know where to find these experts, and how much will they charge to testify on your behalf?
Wrongful death lawsuits also provide for compensation for loss of companionship. Do you know how to put a dollar figure on loss of companionship, and do you really want to have to stand up in court and make a statement to that effect to a jury of strangers?
What if you find out later on that the traffic lights at the intersection just might have been faulty, and both the drunk driver and your partner just might have had green lights? If the lawyer for the insurance company defending your claim brought this up in court, how would you deal with it? Also, if that was the case, you would have had an opportunity to sue the city or county responsible for maintaining those lights, in which case even stricter statutes of limitation would apply.
Then what happens when your partner’s ex-wife or husband shows up and wants a cut of your claim, either for themselves or for the children they had with your partner? Do you know if they can make a separate claim, or are they entitled to anything at all?
Posted in: Wrongful Death