Losing a loved one is never easy. But when their death is due to someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions, the loss can be heart-wrenching.
At Wilshire Law Firm, we understand that no amount of financial compensation will ease your pain or fill the void in your life. But seeking justice and compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit can bring you peace of mind and may help ease the financial burden of your loss.
Contact our Orange wrongful death attorney for a free and confidential case consultation and to discuss our legal options.
Orange Wrongful Death Guide
- Why Choose Wilshire Law Firm for Your Orange Wrongful Death Claim?
- What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
- Do I Have Grounds to Bring a Wrongful Death Claim?
- What Damages Can I Be Compensated for in an Orange Wrongful Death Claim?
- Survival Actions
- Is there a Deadline for Filing Wrongful Death Claims?
- Contact the Orange Wrongful Death Attorneys at Wilshire Law Firm
Why Choose Wilshire Law Firm for Your Orange Wrongful Death Claim?
Wilshire Law Firm has been a beacon of hope for individuals seeking justice in the face of tragedy. Our firm recognizes the unique challenges that can arise in different areas of town, and we tailor our approach to the specific needs of our clients in Orange, ensuring that every case is handled with the utmost care and consideration.
With a track record of success in handling wrongful death claims, our attorneys at Wilshire Law Firm bring extensive experience and a deep understanding of California law to each case.
We are dedicated to holding responsible parties accountable for their actions, whether the incident occurred in the bustling Chapman University area or the serene Santiago Oaks Regional Park surroundings.
At Wilshire Law Firm, we believe in personalized, client-focused legal representation. Our team is here to guide you through the legal process, providing support and advocacy every step of the way. If you are seeking a compassionate and experienced Orange wrongful death attorney, look no further than Wilshire Law Firm—where your fight for justice becomes our mission.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit brought by the surviving family members or beneficiaries of a person who has died due to the negligent, reckless, or intentional actions of another party.
The purpose of a wrongful death claim is to seek compensation for the losses and damages suffered by the surviving family members as a result of the death. Wrongful death claims are a way to hold responsible parties accountable for their actions and to provide financial support to those who have been affected by the loss of a loved one.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Dog bite injuries
Do I Have Grounds to Bring a Wrongful Death Claim?
In a wrongful death claim based on negligence, the plaintiff (the party bringing the lawsuit) typically needs to establish the four elements of negligence:
- Duty of Care: The plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased person. Duty of care refers to the legal obligation to act reasonably and prudently in a given situation to prevent harm to others. The specific duty of care varies depending on the circumstances and the relationship between the parties.
- Breach of Duty: The plaintiff must show that the defendant breached the duty of care owed to the deceased person. This means proving that the defendant failed to act as a reasonably prudent person would have under similar circumstances. A breach of duty may involve actions taken by the defendant or, in some cases, a failure to act when action was required.
- Causation: There must be a direct causal connection between the defendant’s breach of duty and the death of the individual. The plaintiff must establish that the defendant’s actions were a substantial factor in bringing about the harm that led to the death. In legal terms, this is often expressed as “proximate cause” or “legal cause.”
- Damages: The plaintiff must demonstrate that they suffered actual damages as a result of the defendant’s breach of duty and that these damages are compensable under the law. Damages in a wrongful death case may include economic losses, such as medical expenses and funeral costs, as well as non-economic losses, such as loss of companionship and emotional distress.
Proving all four elements of negligence is crucial for a wrongful death claim to be successful. Each element requires careful examination of the facts and evidence surrounding the case.
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In California, the right to bring a wrongful death claim is limited to specific individuals who are designated by law. The California Code of Civil Procedure, specifically Sections 377.60 to 377.62, outlines the hierarchy of individuals who have the legal standing to pursue a wrongful death claim. The order of priority is as follows:
Spouse or Domestic Partner
The surviving spouse or registered domestic partner of the deceased person has the first right to bring a wrongful death claim.
Child or Children
If there is no surviving spouse or domestic partner, the right to bring a claim falls to the surviving children of the deceased person.
Grandchild or Grandchildren
If there is no surviving spouse, domestic partner, or children, the right may pass to the surviving grandchildren of the deceased person.
Dependent Minors in the Household
If there are no surviving individuals in the aforementioned categories, individuals who were dependent on the deceased person for financial support and qualify as “heirs” under California law may have the right to bring a wrongful death claim.
If there are no surviving individuals in the above categories, the right may pass to the surviving parents of the deceased person. The right to pursue a claim also passes to the parents if the deceased is a minor or is unmarried with no children.
If the deceased is not survived by any of the aforementioned individuals, those entitled to inherit from the decedent, according to state intestate succession laws, have a right to bring a claim. Eligible plaintiffs in order of priority include parents, siblings or children of siblings, grandparents, and children of any spouse who passed away.
Personal Representative of the Decedent’s Estate
In cases where multiple people are eligible to file a wrongful death claim, it may be best for the claimants to have a personal representative of the deceased’s estate file a single wrongful death action on behalf of the estate’s beneficiaries. Any compensation from wrongful death settlement would then be distributed according to the California wrongful death statute.
If there are multiple individuals within a category (e.g., multiple surviving children), they generally share the right to bring a wrongful death claim, and any recovery is distributed among them according to California’s laws of intestate succession.
What Damages Can I Be Compensated for in an Orange Wrongful Death Claim?
In an Orange, California, wrongful death claim, the damages that may be compensated can be both economic and non-economic in nature. The specific damages sought will depend on the circumstances of the case and the losses experienced by the surviving family members. Here are some common types of damages that can be sought in a wrongful death claim in Orange, California:
Economic damages are quantifiable losses that can be calculated in monetary terms.
- Funeral and Burial Expenses: The costs associated with the deceased person’s funeral and burial services.
- Medical Expenses: If the deceased person incurred medical expenses related to the injury or illness that led to their death, those expenses may be recoverable.
- Loss of Financial Support: The financial contributions the deceased person would have provided to the family if they had survived.
Non-economic damages are losses that do not have a set dollar amount. These are subjective and, thus, more difficult to value. These include:
- Loss of Companionship: The emotional and psychological impact of losing a loved one, including the loss of guidance, companionship, and consortium.
- Loss of Consortium: Compensation for the loss of the marital relationship and benefits, including intimacy and support.
In some cases, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the at-fault party for particularly egregious or intentional conduct. However, punitive damages are not always available and are subject to specific legal criteria.
A survival action is similar to a wrongful death claim, but there are distinct differences. Survival actions can only be brought if the decedent didn’t immediately die from their injuries.
For example, if someone was in a serious car accident but didn’t pass away until two days later, a survival action may be the appropriate legal action to take. Survival actions can be viewed as a personal injury claim that the decedent could have filed had they survived their accident-related injuries.
Unlike wrongful death claims, survival actions can claim the decedent’s “pain and suffering” or “disfigurement.” Additionally, survival actions can only be brought by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate or the decedent’s successor in interest.
Is there a Deadline for Filing Wrongful Death Claims?
California’s statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit is generally two years from the date of the individual’s death. This means that a legal action seeking compensation for wrongful death must be initiated within this two-year timeframe. If the lawsuit is not filed within this period, the court may bar the claim, and the right to seek compensation may be forfeited.
However, some exceptions and circumstances may shorten or lengthen the standard two-year timeframe. It’s important to consult an attorney to ensure you don’t miss any important deadlines.
Contact the Orange Wrongful Death Attorneys at Wilshire Law Firm
In your pursuit of justice for your loved one’s wrongful death, you don’t have to face the legal complexities alone. The compassionate and experienced Orange wrongful death attorneys at Wilshire Law Firm are here to support you every step of the way. Our commitment to providing personalized, client-focused representation is matched only by our determination to hold those responsible accountable for their actions.
If you believe you have a wrongful death claim or have questions about your legal rights, we encourage you to reach out to our dedicated team. The Orange community, from Old Towne Orange to Santiago Hills, has entrusted us with their most challenging cases, and we are ready to stand by your side.
Contacting Wilshire Law Firm is the first step toward seeking the compensation and closure your family deserves. Our attorneys are available for a confidential consultation to discuss the details of your case and help you understand the legal options available to you. Remember, there is a limited time to file a wrongful death claim, so don’t hesitate to take action.
In your time of need, let Wilshire Law Firm be your advocate for justice. Contact us today at (714) 386-1747 or fill out our online form for a free and confidential consultation, and let us help you navigate the path toward healing and resolution. Reach out to an Orange personal injury lawyer
Our Orange Office Location
Wilshire Law Firm
1940 W. Orangewood #110 Office 7
Orange, CA 92868
Tel: (714) 386-1747
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