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California Wrongful Death Laws

Wrongful Death

There are a lot of cars on the California roads and as the population increases, so do car accidents. In fact, in 2007 alone, 4,000 people died on California roads and highways. The grieving process alone for losing a loved one in an automobile accident is difficult alone but trying to cope with the thought that the accident was caused by someone else’s negligence is even more devastating. If you or someone you know lost a loved one due to the irresponsibility of someone else, you could potentially pursue a wrongful death claim. Immediately seek advice and consultation from an experienced California injury attorney.

While there is no amount of money that can bring a loved one back, California law allows victims to receive compensation for financial burdens and in some cases, the emotional suffering. Although each case is different, some of the compensation that is available to surviving family members are:

  • income
  • potential future earnings and inheritances
  • medical expenses
  • funeral costs
  • emotional pain and suffering

Driver Negligence

Every driver on the road has a responsibility to act and drive cautiously to safeguard everyone else on the road. When a driver is negligent or reckless however, he or she does not take the safety of others into account. Some of the most common types of driver negligence are:

  • driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
  • speeding
  • ignoring the rules of the road
  • using a cellphone to talk or text
  • fatigued driving
  • passengers talking or distracting you
  • anything else that distracts you from your responsibility of careful driving

Any of these reckless behaviors can cause an accident and take a life whether its someone in another vehicle or a pedestrian on the street. Reckless driving can cause some of the most severe types of accidents such as head-on collisions and side-impact crashes which could lead to serious injuries and death. Some of the common types of fatal car accidents due to negligence are:

  • rear-end accidents
  • intersection accidents
  • alcohol-related accidents
  • hit and run
  • motorcycle accidents
  • pedestrian accidents

Establishing Fault

In order to receive compensation, you must establish who is at fault. This is not an easy process to do and usually, an experienced personal injury attorney is best to help you in your specific circumstance. To prove fault, a judge will have to review:

  • official accident reconstructions
  • medical records
  • testimony from witnesses
  • police reports

In order to have a successful lawsuit in California, the plaintiff must prove that

  1. a death occurred,
  2. the death was caused by another’s negligence or an intent to cause harm and
  3. the surviving family must show how they suffered a loss as a result of the victim’s death.

If you are mourning over the loss of a loved one, you shouldn’t have to deal with frustrating insurance companies, conducting investigations or anything else that is necessary to prove negligence caused a death. Keep in mind that there is a statute of limitations for when you can file a case so don’t wait to speak with a California injury attorney immediately.

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