San Francisco Wrongful Death Lawyers
At some point, everyone will experience the loss of a loved one. Generally, the loss of a loved one occurs due to old age or is anticipated as the result of a long-term illness. Whatever the case may be, losing a loved one is a devastating ordeal. This is even more true when a loved one is lost unexpectedly due to an accident or someone else’s negligence. If you have lost a loved one as a result of an accident caused by another person or entity, you and your family may be eligible for compensation.
With a skilled and compassionate San Francisco personal injury attorney from OnderLaw, LLC, you and your family can ensure that the person or entity responsible for causing the wrongful death of your loved one is held fully accountable. Additionally, a lawyer can help you secure the full amount of compensation owed to you following the wrongful death of a loved one.
After you lose a loved one to wrongful death, you and your family are likely to experience pain, fear, and confusion. We at OnderLaw, LLC understand the emotional and psychological toll a death like this takes on your family. A wrongful death case is not to be taken lightly, and nor should you and your family suffer in silence. Call us today at (314) 963-9000 to schedule a free consultation. Our legal team is willing to fight on your behalf to secure the full amount of compensation owed to you and your family.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death is when a person is killed as a result of the negligence or intent to cause harm of another person or entity. Some common types of wrongful death cases in California include:
- Medical malpractice
- Auto accidents
- Defective products
- Workplace accidents
- Dog bites
A wrongful death lawsuit is not a criminal lawsuit. A conviction in a criminal lawsuit results in the defendant receiving a criminal penalty such as jail or prison time. In a successful wrongful death lawsuit, the verdict will require the defendant to pay damages to the family of the decedent.
Who Could Be Held Responsible for Wrongful Death?
The person or entity who caused the death of the decedent through negligence or ill-intent is at fault for their wrongful death. For example, if your loved one died as a result of a dog bite, the owner of the dog who caused the fatal injuries your loved one sustained may be held accountable for the wrongful death of your family member.
Who Is Eligible to Bring a Claim?
A wrongful death claim must be brought forward by the next of kin or survivors who suffer as a result of the decedent’s death. Those eligible to bring a claim in California might include:
- Immediate Family Members — this includes the spouse or domestic partner and children (including those who are adopted) of the decedent.
- Children’s Issue – If the children are deceased, then their issue may bring a suit.
- Distant Family Members — this includes the parents, or if the parents are deceased, the legal guardian of the deceased.
- Financial Dependents – a minor who, at the time of the decedent’s death, relied upon the decedent for at least half of their support and lived in the decedent’s household for six month prior to the death.
- Decedent’s Personal Representative
Compensation for Wrongful Death
Compensation for wrongful death is represented by damages payable to the family of the decedent. The damages the family of the decedent may be eligible to receive fall into two categories: damages on behalf of the deceased from the moment of the accident up until the time of death and damages experienced by the next of kin following the death of the decedent.
The types of damages the family of the deceased may expect to receive as a result of their wrongful death may include:
- Medical Expenses — medical expenses accrued by the decedent following the accident up until their death.
- Pain and Suffering — both the pain and suffering of the decedent up until the time of death and the pain and suffering of the family of the decedent due to wrongful death.
- Lost Wages — financial losses the family experiences due to the wrongful death of the decedent.
- Funeral and Burial Expenses — includes the cost of cremation, burial, embalming, flowers, wreaths, funeral plots, headstones/grave markers, and caskets.
- Loss of Consortium — the loss of the decedent’s love and companionship experienced by their next of kin due to wrongful death.
For a more comprehensive understanding of what you and your family may be owed due to the specifics of your particular wrongful death case, contact a skilled and experienced attorney to discuss your lawsuit.
Proving Negligence in California
In order to prove negligence in a wrongful death case in the state of California, the plaintiff in the wrongful death lawsuit must be able to show that the at-fault party failed to take reasonable care that they wouldn’t injure someone else and that their actions or lack of action led to the circumstances that caused the accident. The plaintiff must also show that the accident led to the death.
For a defendant to be held accountable for the wrongful death of the decedent, they must be found to have owed a duty of “due care” to the deceased. This means that they must have had a duty to keep the decedent safe, and they failed to do so.
For example, in the case of medical malpractice, if the defendant failed to discover or diagnose the decedent with a specific illness, which would have been easily discovered or diagnosed by another doctor or surgeon, the defendant may be held responsible for the wrongful death of the decedent.
Breach of Duty
Another consideration in determining negligence in a wrongful death case is “breach of duty.”
Continuing the hypothetical from above, if the doctor failed to thoroughly check the deceased for signs and symptoms of the illness which contributed to their death, that would be considered a breach of duty. If the decedent’s request to have a symptom of theirs inspected by the defendant went ignored, that is also considered a breach of duty.
The plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s breach of duty contributed to the death of the decedent.
For example, continuing with the scenario above, it must be proved by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant’s failure to discover or diagnose the illness of the decedent is what contributed to their death.
Lastly, the plaintiff must be able to prove that the decedent suffered damages or losses as a result of the defendant’s negligence.
Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death Lawsuits
As with all types of lawsuits, wrongful death claims must be filed within a set timeframe. In California, the statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits is two years from the date of the decedent’s death. If the case is not submitted within two years, the family will lose the ability to file a wrongful death claim. For more information, please see the California Code of Civil Procedure section 335.1.
San Francisco Fatal Accident Statistic
According to the City and County of San Francisco, there were 29 traffic fatalities during the 2020 calendar year with 11 pedestrian fatalities, 16 vehicle or motorcycle fatalities, and two bicycle fatalities.
In 2020, it was revealed in data collected by America’s Health Rankings that in every 100,000 workers, 2.9 were fatally injured on the job.
Data from DogsBite.org revealed that California had the most fatalities as a result of dog bites in 2019, with nine reported deaths.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
It is critical for the family of the decedent to seek legal counsel immediately following an accident that results in the wrongful death of a loved one. Having an attorney could mean the difference between winning and losing access to compensation following an accident or the wrongful death of a loved one.
With an experienced San Francisco wrongful death attorney on your team, you and your family can ensure that the party responsible for the wrongful death of your loved one will be held liable for their actions.
Additionally, a skilled lawyer can help you and your family receive the full amount of compensation owed to you for the damages caused by the negligence or evil intent that led to the wrongful death of your loved one.
Why Choose OnderLaw, LLC?
The legal team at OnderLaw, LLC is experienced in personal injury cases, including wrongful death. Since the firm’s founding during the summer of 2002, we have secured more than $3 billion in damages for our clients. Additionally, you and your family can rest easy knowing that a skilled and compassionate lawyer at OnderLaw, LLC is fighting on your behalf to secure the full amount of compensation owed to you and your family following the wrongful death of a loved one.
Call a San Francisco Wrongful Death Attorney Today
If you have wrongfully lost a loved one due to the negligence or actions of another person or entity, do not hesitate to seek legal counsel from the attorneys at OnderLaw, LLC. Call us today at (314) 963-9000 to schedule a free consultation. Our team doesn’t get paid until we get compensation for you.