8 Things to Know Before Hiring a Wrongful Death Lawyer

hiring a wrongful death lawyer

Hiring a wrongful death lawyer helps you find closure when a  deceased loved one suffered and died from personal injuries – either through malpractice, an accident, or criminal activity. If the loss of a loved one is due to someone else’s negligence, you have it in your right to file a wrongful death claim. 

The legalities involving wrongful death are complicated. Rules also vary from state to state and each case is unique. That is why you need to retain a wrongful death lawyer Long Beach-based attorney if you live in Long Beach or the surrounding area. 

1. How Wrongful Death Is Defined by a Wrongful Death Lawyer

The legal definition of wrongful death is comprehensive. When the wrongful conduct of a defendant leads to the wrongful death of a plaintiff or decedent, tort law allows a decedent’s heirs to sue for compensation. The law sets the limits for damages.

Historically, wrongful death statutes were set up to compel people to exercise care to prevent fatalities and injuries. The law was established to financially care for surviving children and widows. 

This type of action is a civil action and is distinct from a criminal activity that led to a personal injury. Therefore, you can sue a defendant that was charged but not indicted for murder in a wrongful death lawsuit. The burden of proof is lower in wrongful death cases. Whether the defendant was indicted for a crime or set free, you can still sue them for the resulting fatality.

A wrongful death occurs then when a fatality results from carelessness, negligence, or similar aggravating factors. After a case is heard, the court will determine the damages, both of which are non-economic and economic in nature.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), injuries that are intentional rank number 4 in the U.S. So, wrongful death cases resulting from criminal intent are commonly settled or heard in the judicial system.

hiring a wrongful death lawyer

2. Common Reasons for Wrongful Death Claims

Common claims that may require hiring a wrongful death lawyer include:

  • Auto mishaps
  • Boating accidents
  • Falls
  • Workplace accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Product defects
  • Criminal acts
  • Poisoning

3. Determining Negligence

One of the first things you must do is to speak to a wrongful death lawyer about negligence if you believe it applies to your claim. You must show a burden of proof exists that shows the other party breached their duty to act reasonably. This must happen to initiate a claim or show the act was intentional (in the case of a crime).

If your claim is based in Long Beach, a wrongful death lawyer Long Beach representative can help you find out who and what led to a loved one’s accident. Doing so is necessary to identify the correct defendant.

4. Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim

While a relative, such as a spouse, children, parents, or dependant relatives may file a wrongful death claim, the person who actually files the claim is typically the representative for the decedent’s estate.. If the decedent has died without a will, the person who files the claim is typically a surviving spouse or a domestic partner.

5. What Damages Are Covered Under a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Survivors may recover damages equivalent to lost financial support. The court determines the amount from the relationship between the deceased and each survivor. Damages may fall under the following expenses:

  • Medical costs
  • Lost wages
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Loss of consortium
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of instruction (for children or grandchildren)

6. The Statute of Limitations for Filing is Set at Two Years

It is important to hire a wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible and schedule a free consultation so you can see how to proceed. The sooner you file, the better, as the statute of limitations runs out on wrongful death claims after two years. While that may sound like a long time, it really is a short period, given that you must investigate the action and provide soundproof of negligence.

If you don’t file a claim within the two-year period, you cannot sue for monetary damages for yourself or the surviving beneficiaries. Therefore, time is of the essence when filing a claim. The clock starts ticking from the date of the victim’s death.

7. California is an At-Fault Liability State

Speaking to a wrongful death lawyer will give you the information needed to navigate the California court system and show liability. That is because California is an at-fault state with respect to liability claims.

While you need to prove fault in California, other states are no-fault states. In these instances, you can receive compensation due to another party’s negligence, whether or not the action is proven.

8. The Parties Which Can Be Sued

Parties normally responsible for damages in wrongful deaths include:

  • At-fault persons and entities (because of negligence)
  • An employer, if the party who caused the wrongful death was acting inside the scope of their employment
  • A defective product manufacturer

Contact a Wrongful Death Lawyer Now

You do not have to call a wrongful death lawyer about your claim. However, hiring a wrongful death lawyer can make a big difference in your lawsuit. Call Belal Hamideh, a top wrongful death lawyer Long Beach “Top 40” legal advisor for a free consultation. Phone (562) 526-1224 to discuss your case now.