In Fresno, the tragic reality of wrongful death cases brings profound challenges and changes to affected families.
At Wilshire Law Firm, we recognize the immense pain and disruption these events cause. Our team of experienced wrongful death attorneys in Fresno is dedicated to guiding Fresno families through these difficult times, ensuring they receive the justice and compensation they deserve.
Table of contents
- Why Choose Our Fresno Wrongful Death Attorneys?
- Wrongful Death Compensation
- Eligibility to File a Wrongful Death Claim
- Where Can Fresno Wrongful Death Incidents Happen?
- Our Focus on Fresno Wrongful Death Incidents
- Fighting the Insurance Company After a Fresno Wrongful Death Accident
- What to Do After a Fresno Wrongful Death Incident
- Our Fresno Office Location
Why Choose Our Fresno Wrongful Death Attorneys?
Our firm is uniquely positioned to handle wrongful death cases in Fresno. Wilshire Law Firm has had notable success in wrongful death cases, including a recent $14 million wrongful death settlement where the evidence concluded that truck safety issues resulted in the death of the driver.
Our consistent results have not gone unnoticed. We were recognized as a Best Law Firm by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers® for four consecutive years. Our numerous accolades are a reflection of our dedication to legal excellence and client advocacy.
At Wilshire Law Firm, we have a skilled team of over 500 legal professionals, each bringing experience and compassion to our practice. Our Fresno office is located at 1221 North Van Ness Ave, Suite 301. It is strategically positioned near some easily recognizable landmarks in the city, like the Fresno County Public Library, Courthouse Park, and Veterans Memorial Museum, providing easy access for our clients.
Wrongful Death Compensation
In wrongful death cases, we believe it is important for the grieving family to understand and secure all forms of compensation available to them. At Wilshire Law Firm, our Fresno wrongful death attorneys explore every aspect of your claim, from economic losses to non-economic damages, ensuring a comprehensive approach to compensation.
Loss of Future Earnings
This type of compensation includes the potential future income that the deceased would have earned. Establishing this involves examining the deceased’s earnings history, career potential, and future earnings projections based on their age, skills, and experience.
Our firm uses expert testimonies to project these earnings accurately, ensuring they are factored into the compensation claim.
Compensation for lost benefits includes the benefits the deceased would have received, such as medical benefits, pension plans, or retirement funds. To prove this, we gather employment records and benefit statements, calculating the monetary value of these benefits over time to incorporate them into the claim.
Medical and Funeral Expenses
These damages cover the medical bills incurred from the injury leading to death and the cost of funeral services. These expenses often form a significant part of the claim. We compile all relevant bills and expenses, ensuring they are fully reimbursed, thereby alleviating the financial burden on the family.
Loss of Companionship and Guidance
This form of non-economic damage addresses the loss of love, companionship, comfort, and guidance provided by the deceased. We demonstrate the depth of the relationship between the deceased and the claimants and the profound impact of the loss. We articulate these intangible losses for compensation through personal testimonies and psychological evaluations.
The mental and emotional suffering of the bereaved is another aspect of wrongful death claims. Psychological assessments and testimonies about the mental health impacts are used to establish this distress. Our goal is to quantify and seek recognition for this suffering in the compensation.
In cases of egregious negligence or intentional harm, punitive damages are pursued to punish the wrongdoer. Proving such damages requires demonstrating a high degree of negligence or malicious intent. We present compelling evidence and legal arguments to justify these damages, aiming to deter similar conduct in the future.
At Wilshire Law Firm, our approach to wrongful death claims is to combine compassionate legal counsel with a rigorous, evidence-based strategy, ensuring that every possible form of damage is accounted for.
Our Fresno wrongful death attorneys negotiate skillfully with insurance companies and are prepared to take the case to trial if necessary. We aim to provide a sense of justice and support to families in Fresno who are struggling with the aftermath of a wrongful death.
Eligibility to File a Wrongful Death Claim
Under California’s Code of Civil Procedure § 377.60, the following parties may file a wrongful death claim:
- Surviving Spouse, Domestic Partner, or Children: The decedent’s surviving spouse, domestic partner, and children are the primary claimants who can assert a wrongful death action. This includes biological children, fully adopted children, stepchildren, and grandchildren (if there are no surviving children).
- Extended Family Members in Some Cases: If the deceased has no surviving children, parents can sue for loss of love and companionship. May be eligible if there are no surviving children or spouses.
- Financial Dependents: If they can prove they were financially dependent on the deceased, they might have a claim.
- Other Heirs and Dependents: If there are no surviving family members as defined above, a wrongful death lawsuit can be brought by anyone “who would be entitled to the property of the decedent by intestate succession.” Those who were financially dependent on the deceased, including minor children living in the same household or parents and legal guardians of the deceased, can also bring a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Legal Representative: An executor of the deceased’s estate may file a claim on behalf of the decedent and their surviving family. As the administrator of the estate, the executor has a legal obligation to act in the best interests of the estate and may seek compensation for both economic and non-economic damages.
These regulations ensure that wrongful death claims are pursued by those most directly affected by the loss, providing a legal avenue for seeking compensation and justice.
Timeliness and Legal Process
The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit in California is generally two years from the date of the victim’s death. However, there are several notable exceptions to this general rule.
If the wrongful death was caused by medical malpractice, the statute of limitations is either one year from the date of discovery that the death was caused by medical negligence or three years from the date of death, whichever occurs first.
However, if the health care provider concealed the negligence or fraudulently misrepresented the cause of death, the statute of limitations is extended to one year from the date of discovery of the concealment or misrepresentation but not more than four years from the date of death.
The discovery rule stipulates that the statute of limitations does not start until the victim’s surviving family members discover, or should have discovered, the cause of the victim’s death.
This can extend the time limit in which a party can file a wrongful death case beyond the typical two-year period. However, this rule does not apply to wrongful death claims against government entities.
If the wrongful death was caused by a government entity or an employee acting within the scope of employment, the statute of limitations is six months from the date of death. Examples include accidents at public schools, car accidents with government-owned vehicles, or malpractice incidents at publicly run medical centers.
The plaintiff must file the claim with the appropriate government agency before filing a lawsuit in court. If the claim is denied or not responded to within 45 days, the plaintiff has six months from the date of denial or expiration of the 45-day period to file a lawsuit in court.
In cases where a minor is filing a wrongful death claim for the death of a parent, they must file the action within two years from the day they turn 18 years old or within six months after the date of death, whichever is later.
For instance, if a 12-year-old child loses a parent, they have until they reach 20 years and six months old to file a legal action.
Where Can Fresno Wrongful Death Incidents Happen?
In Fresno, like anywhere else, wrongful death incidents can occur in various locations and situations. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, Fresno County had 51 pedestrian fatalities and 161 pedestrian injuries in one recent year, ranking 9th out of 58 counties in the state for pedestrian collisions. Some of the most dangerous intersections for pedestrians in Fresno are Blackstone and Ashlan, Shaw and West, and Shaw and Brawley.
Additionally, wrongful deaths can occur due to negligence or misconduct of government entities, businesses, or individuals. For example, a Fresno County jury awarded $33.5 million to the family of a man killed by a security guard at a Fresno nightclub.
Our Focus on Fresno Wrongful Death Incidents
At Wilshire Law Firm, we know how to handle a wide range of wrongful death cases stemming from different causes and resulting in different types of injuries. Our approach to each case is comprehensive and detail-oriented, ensuring our clients’ strong and effective representation.
Types of Accidents Leading to Wrongful Death
Here are a few of the types of accidents we have seen lead to wrongful death:
- Motor Vehicle Accidents: These are among the most common causes of wrongful death. They can include car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, and pedestrian accidents. Factors like speeding, distracted driving, DUI, and reckless driving often contribute to these tragic incidents.
- Workplace Accidents: Fatalities in the workplace can occur in construction sites, factories, or other industrial settings due to unsafe work environments, faulty equipment, or lack of safety protocols.
- Medical Malpractice: This involves deaths caused by medical errors, such as surgical mistakes, misdiagnosis, incorrect medication, or neglect in medical care.
- Product Liability: Defective or dangerous products, including pharmaceuticals, automotive parts, or consumer goods, can lead to fatal incidents.
- Criminal Acts: Incidents like assault, battery, or other forms of violence can escalate to wrongful death, leading to civil lawsuits alongside any criminal charges.
Types of Injuries in Wrongful Death Cases
Sadly, some of the types of injuries that can result in wrongful deaths include:
- Severe Traumatic Injuries: Resulting from high-impact accidents like car crashes or industrial accidents.
- Medical Complications: Arising from surgical errors or medical negligence.
- Fatal Injuries from Defective Products: Such as malfunctioning machinery or toxic substances.
Wilshire Law Firm’s Approach to Wrongful Death Cases
At Wilshire Law Firm, we thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding each wrongful death, gathering evidence and consulting with experts to establish liability. In cases like medical malpractice, we collaborate with medical experts to understand the details of the case and demonstrate negligence.
We are skilled in negotiating with insurance companies and, if necessary, taking cases to trial. As evidenced by the $14 million we recently recovered for the family of a victim of wrongful death, our goal is to secure the maximum possible compensation for the grieving family. We recognize that each wrongful death case is unique. We tailor our legal strategies to suit the specific circumstances and needs of our clients.
At Wilshire Law Firm, we understand the profound impact of losing a loved one due to wrongful death. Our team in Fresno is committed to providing compassionate, effective legal representation to families during these difficult times, ensuring that they receive the justice and compensation they deserve.
Fighting the Insurance Company After a Fresno Wrongful Death Accident
In wrongful death cases, handling negotiations with insurance companies is a necessary but often challenging aspect of the legal process.
These companies often use their own strategies to limit their financial liability, making it all the more important for you and your family to have experienced attorneys who can effectively counter these tactics.
At Wilshire Law Firm, our attorneys have 15 years of experience managing these complex negotiations in wrongful death scenarios, ensuring that our clients receive the justice and compensation they are entitled to.
Strategies Used by Insurance Companies
A few of the strategies we have seen used by insurance companies after a wrongful death to minimize their payouts include:
- Disputing Liability: One of the most common tactics is disputing liability. Insurers may argue that their policyholder was not at fault or that the victim’s actions contributed to their death, attempting to reduce their payout.
- Undervaluing Damages: Insurance companies frequently try to undervalue the damages. They might acknowledge the wrongful death but offer a settlement that falls significantly short of covering the full extent of losses incurred by the bereaved family.
- Delaying Tactics: Insurance companies often use delaying tactics in the hope that the bereaved family will become desperate and settle for less.
- Misinterpreting Policy Terms: Insurers might attempt to misinterpret or exploit ambiguities in their policy terms to deny or reduce the claim.
To counter disputes over liability, our attorneys start by gathering evidence, including accident reports, witness statements, and expert testimonies, to establish the responsibility of the policyholder.
We conduct a thorough assessment of all damages, including lost future earnings, medical expenses, and non-economic damages like loss of companionship. Our attorneys use this information to negotiate a settlement that truly reflects the family’s loss.
To fight against delaying tactics, we ensure that the case progresses efficiently, keeping pressure on the insurance company to resolve the claim in a timely manner. We also meticulously review insurance policies to challenge any misinterpretation or unfair application of policy terms by the insurance company.
Our Fresno wrongful death attorneys each have strong negotiation skills, which helps us achieve a fair settlement. If a satisfactory agreement cannot be reached, we are prepared to take the matter to court, advocating aggressively for our clients’ rights.
At Wilshire Law Firm, we understand the complexities and emotional challenges involved in wrongful death cases. Our dedicated team in Fresno is committed to guiding families through these difficult times, handling all interactions with insurance companies to ensure our clients are justly compensated. We strive to bring a sense of closure and justice to families who have lost a loved one.
What to Do After a Fresno Wrongful Death Incident
In the wake of a wrongful death, you need to take action now. California law has a two-year statute of limitations for filing wrongful death suits. Our Fresno personal injury lawyers guide our clients through every step, from filing the lawsuit to representing their interests in court, ensuring they receive the justice and closure they need.
Wilshire Law Firm stands to support and advise families facing wrongful death cases in Fresno. Our commitment is to securing justice and fair compensation for our clients. If your family is grieving in the aftermath of a wrongful death, reach out to us online for a free consultation or call us at (559) 396-3826 and discover how we can assist you during this challenging time.
Our Fresno Office Location
Wilshire Law Firm
1221 Van Ness Avenue Ste 301
Fresno, CA 93721
Tel: (559) 396-3826