Although some accident victims suffer only minor injuries, many people suffer injuries so severe that they ultimately lead to their death. The unexpected loss of a loved one can be shocking and overwhelming, but when the loss was caused by a preventable accident, it is often even harder to process. People who negligently cause the death of another person can be held accountable in a wrongful death lawsuit, and anyone who suffered the loss of a family member should speak to an attorney regarding his or her rights. If you lost a family member in a fatal accident, the San Mateo wrongful death lawyers at Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, LLP can develop compelling arguments on your behalf. We have over 75 combined years of experience helping people pursue damages in wrongful death lawsuits in the San Francisco Bay Area. While no amount of compensation can repair the emotional harm caused by your loved one’s death, it can help you recover from the financial losses that you suffered, and it may provide a sense of justice.Wrongful Death Claims Under California Law
Wrongful death claims are dictated by statute in California. The law provides that when a person dies due to a negligent or wrongful act, the person’s personal representative or enumerated family members may seek compensation from the negligent party in a wrongful death claim. Specifically, the deceased person’s spouse, domestic partner, child, or grandchild may pursue damages. Additionally, other minor children who depended on the deceased person for at least 50 percent of their support and anyone else entitled to the deceased person’s property under the laws of intestacy may recover damages in a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death claims must be pursued within two years of a person’s death.
Once it has been determined who has the right to recover damages in a wrongful death lawsuit, a wrongful death attorney in San Mateo must demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant is liable for the victim’s death. Thus, in cases in which the plaintiffs argue that the victim’s death was caused by negligence, they must demonstrate that the defendant owed the deceased person a duty to act with reasonable care and that the defendant breached the duty owed, which proximately caused the deceased person’s death. If the plaintiffs allege that the deceased person’s death was caused by an intentional act, the plaintiffs generally must show that the defendant acted with the intent to harm the deceased person and that even if the defendant did not intend to kill the deceased person, the deceased person died because of the defendant’s acts.Damages Recoverable in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Similar to damages in personal injury lawsuits, damages for the economic and non-economic harm caused by the defendant’s acts are recoverable in wrongful death lawsuits. Economic losses suffered by the deceased person’s beneficiaries may include funeral and burial expenses, the loss of the deceased person’s financial support, and the value of any household services that the deceased person performed. A San Mateo wrongful death attorney also can help pursue non-economic damages, which typically refer to the loss of the deceased person’s moral support, love, affection, and companionship. Notably, claims to recover compensation for any medical bills incurred prior to the deceased person’s death, as well as the loss of the income that the deceased person would likely have earned throughout his or her life, belong to the estate and must be pursued through a separate cause of action.Speak with an Experienced San Mateo Attorney
The death of a family member can shatter a person both emotionally and financially, and people who have suffered the loss of a loved one should speak with an attorney regarding their options for protecting their interests. At Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, LLP, we can zealously pursue the full amount of damages recoverable under the law on your behalf so that you can focus on healing. We represent people in wrongful death claims throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. You can reach us via our online form or at (650) 345-8484 to set up a consultation with a wrongful death lawyer at our San Mateo firm.