Losing a loved one due to someone else’s negligent, intentional, or malicious act is devastating. If you are dealing with a wrongful death case in Riverside, it may help to know that there are some things you can do to protect your rights and get justice for your family.
It is in your best interest that you contact an experienced Riverside wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible to begin the pursuit of justice and compensation.
Our reliable Riverside personal injury lawyers will review your case, advise you on what steps to take next, and help you determine whether you should file a lawsuit against the responsible party(s). Our wrongful death lawyers will then work on building a strong case against the negligent party so you can receive compensation for your losses.
At The JLF Firm, we are a team of highly qualified wrongful death attorneys in Riverside committed to helping victims like you obtain justice. We understand how difficult this time is for you and your family, and our goal is to provide you with the highest quality legal representation.
So don’t suffer silently. Schedule a free consultation with us today, and let us put our experience to good use.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
When a person dies from injuries sustained during another’s negligence or intentional wrongdoing, they have the right to pursue a claim under the law known as “wrongful death.” This type of claim allows the deceased’s estate to recover damages for their lost earnings, medical expenses, funeral costs, pain and suffering, and other related losses.
Most wrongful death claims arise from various circumstances, including car accidents, medical malpractice, occupational mishaps, dangerous products, construction site accidents, and more. To prove a wrongful death claim, the plaintiff must show that:
- A human being passed away
- The death resulted from another party’s negligence or intent to cause harm (not necessarily death)
- Surviving family members are enduring financial difficulties due to their loss
- The surviving family has appointed a personal representative for the decedent’s estate
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Riverside, California?
Before filing a wrongful death claim, you should know who is legally allowed to bring such a suit. In most cases, only the following individuals are eligible to sue:
- The decedent’s surviving spouse. If the decedent was legally married or had a registered domestic partner at the time of death, the surviving spouse will have the primary right to file a wrongful death claim.
- The decedent’s surviving child/children. If the decedent had no spouse at the time of death, their children would have the primary right. This comprises biological children, stepchildren, and adopted children. If the children are still minors, the court may appoint a guardian to bring the wrongful death claim.
- Decedent’s surviving parents. If the decedent’s parents were financially dependent on them by death, they could bring the suit. Furthermore, the surviving parents will have the right to pursue the claim if the decedent was a minor, unmarried with no children.
- Dependent minors living in the household. If there were minors living in the decedent’s household for at least six months, they could file a wrongful death claim. However, they must prove that they survived in the deceased’s care and that at least half of their financial support came from the deceased.
- Other heirs. If none of the above parties survive, California intestate succession laws allow other individuals to file a wrongful death lawsuit. These include siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, or any other next of kin.
What Types of Wrongful Death Claims Are There?
As we alluded to earlier, wrongful death claims result from various negligent acts or omissions. The following are some examples of these different types of wrongful death claims:
- Medical malpractice: Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor fails to provide adequate treatment for an injury or illness. Common causes of medical malpractice include misdiagnosis, improper surgery, failure to treat, and prescribing medication without proper training.
- Occupational injury: Work accidents on the job that result in death include slips and falls, motor vehicle accidents, workplace violence, and industrial accidents.
- Product liability: Product liability refers to situations where a manufacturer or seller of a product is found liable for damages caused by its defective design or manufacture.
- Car accidents: Car accidents that result in death happen all too often in California. When this happens, victims and their families may be able to recover compensation through a wrongful death claim.
Our Riverside wrongful death attorneys can help you determine whether your case qualifies as one that would allow you to file a wrongful death action.
Who May Be Held Liable for the Wrongful Death of a Loved One?
Liability for wrongful death in Riverside depends on the setting and circumstance that leads to the loss of life. Here is a closer look:
- At-Fault drivers: If your loved one’s wrongful death resulted from a fatal accident, the at-fault driver (or their employer) might be held liable for your loss. Perhaps they were driving while intoxicated, distracted, speeding, or otherwise not paying attention to the road. In addition, they could be responsible for failing to wear a seatbelt, use a child safety restraint, or follow traffic rules.
- Non-employer employees: If your loved one died due to the negligence of a non-employee party, such as a contractor or service provider, then they may be held liable for the wrongful death of your loved one.
- Businesses: Business owners may also be liable for wrongful deaths resulting from their business’ negligence, such as failing to train employees, providing inadequate security, or allowing dangerous conditions to exist.
- Governmental entities: Local governments, state agencies, and federal entities may also be liable under certain circumstances. An excellent example would be a collision caused by a federal employee or a lack of a road sign.
- Medical practitioners: Doctors may also be liable if they fail to diagnose or treat a condition properly. They may also be held liable when they prescribe medications without appropriate training.
If you have lost a loved one due to the negligent, intentional, or malicious act of any of the above parties, please contact our firm today for a free consultation. We will review your situation and advise you on how we can best represent you.
What Damages and Compensation are Available for a Wrongful Death?
As the rightful survivors of the decedent, you may be entitled to “damages,” which are monetary payments designed to compensate you for the losses suffered. Such damages often fall into two categories: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages may include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Any financial support the decedent would have provided to the family
- Loss of gifts and benefits the family members would have expected to receive
- The household services the decedent would have provided in reasonable dollar value
Non-economic damages may include:
- Loss of the decedent’s love, companionship, moral support, society, protection, care, assistance, and comfort
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of the decedent’s guidance
- The spouse’s loss of enjoyment of intimacy with the decedent
What is California’s Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations?
The law provides a specific time window for an action to be filed after the decedent’s death. This period is known as the statute of limitations, and it begins running upon the date of death. In California, the statute of limitations runs for two years. If the surviving family does not bring suit within that time frame, they may lose their right to sue.
Choose The JLF Firm for Your Riverside Wrongful Death Case
We understand the emotional toll that losing a loved one has on families. Our team of experienced attorneys will work hard to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Our firm offers a no-cost initial consultation so you can learn more about what happened and why it matters to you. Also, you don’t pay us anything unless we win. Rest assured we will put our best foot forward to help you recover all the money you need to move forward with your life.
Contact us online or call 888-536-5418 to schedule your free consultation today. We look forward to hearing from you!
Riverside Wrongful Death Case FAQs
Can I recover punitive damages in a wrongful death claim?
Though rare, it is possible to recover punitive damages in a Riverside wrongful death claim. That’s especially true if the defendant acted maliciously or committed a felony in causing the death of your loved one.
How long do I have to file a wrongful death lawsuit?
You have up to 2 years from the date of death to file a lawsuit.