It’s never easy losing someone you love. If the negligence or carelessness of another person or party causes your loved one’s death, our hearts go out to you.
While nothing can take away the immeasurable pain you and your family are experiencing, you may find peace in seeking justice on their behalf and compensation for their pain and suffering.
A Stockton wrongful death lawyer from Roberts Personal Injury & Car Accident Lawyers can speak with you in a free and confidential consultation. Contact us today to learn your legal options.
Why Choose Roberts Personal Injury & Car Accident Lawyers
The legal team at Roberts Personal Injury & Car Accident Lawyers has built a reputation of excellence for providing our clients with smart, sensible, and cost-effective legal and business solutions.
Our wrongful death attorneys in Stockton handle various personal injury cases with special focus on catastrophic injuries and wrongful death. We understand the tactics insurance companies use to get out of paying injured victims and their families what they deserve.
We are skilled negotiators and aren’t afraid to take your case to court to get you the justice and compensation you deserve. We offer free consultations and case evaluations. Contact Roberts Personal Injury & Car Accident Lawyers today, and let’s discuss your legal options.
What Is a Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death refers to a legal concept in which another party’s negligent, reckless, or intentional actions cause a person’s death. In other words, results from someone else’s wrongful or unlawful conduct.
In a wrongful death lawsuit, the surviving family members may bring a legal claim against the responsible party or parties seeking compensation for damages such as medical expenses, funeral costs, loss of income, and the emotional pain and suffering caused by the death of their loved one.
Causes of Wrongful Death
There are several causes of wrongful death.
Some cases we handle involving wrongful death include:
Catastrophic injuries suffered because of an act of negligence can lead to a wrongful death.
These injuries include:
- Birth injuries
- Burn injuries
- Brain injuries
- Spine & neck injuries
Stockton Wrongful Death Laws
If you lost a loved one due to another person’s negligence or wrongful act, contact an attorney to discuss your legal rights and options.
Each state has different, complex laws and processes regarding wrongful death.
Here is a closer look at the wrongful death laws that apply in Stockton.
Damages are Available in a Stockton Wrongful Death Case
In California, a wrongful death claim allows for the recovery of damages to compensate the surviving family members and the deceased person’s estate for the losses incurred due to the wrongful death.
Available damages may include:
These damages compensate for quantifiable financial losses that result from the death. They can include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of financial support to account for the income and financial support the deceased person would have provided to their family had they not died
- Loss of household services for the value of services the deceased person provided, such as childcare, homemaking, and other contributions to the household
These less tangible damages compensate for emotional and subjective losses, including:
- Loss of companionship, comfort, and affection
- Loss of consortium, which refers to the loss of the deceased person’s intimate companionship, including marital companionship and sexual relations.
- Mental anguish and emotional distress of the decedent before their death
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim in Stockton
In California, the following people can file a wrongful death lawsuit:
- The decedent’s surviving spouse or domestic partner
- The decedent’s children
- The decedent’s grandchildren (only if the decedent’s children are deceased)
- Other children who were dependent on the decedent for at least 50% of their financial support, such as stepchildren
If more than one permissible plaintiff survived the decedent, they will divide the damages among them. The court will determine the amount of the damages that each permissible plaintiff receives.
The decedent’s estate can also bring a survivorship lawsuit seeking compensation for damages. We explain survivorship actions later in this post.
Deadline for Filing Wrongful Death Claims in Stockton
The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit in California is two years from the date of the decedent’s death. However, the statute of limitations contains an exception called the discovery rule. This allows the surviving family members to file a lawsuit within two years of the date they first knew or should have known about the wrongful act that caused the decedent’s death.
Further exceptions to this rule apply in cases where the wrongful death occurred due to medical negligence, and for survivorship actions brought by the decedent’s estate. We explain these exceptions later in this post.
California’s statute of limitations sets a deadline. If you fail to file your wrongful death case before this deadline, you will not recover compensation. To ensure you miss no deadlines, consult a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible.
Wrongful Death Claims in Stockton Involving Medical Malpractice
When a healthcare professional or medical institution’s negligence or failure to meet an accepted standard of care leads to harm, injury, or death to a patient, you can claim medical malpractice. It involves a medical provider deviating from the recognized standards of care and harming a patient due to their actions or omissions. Examples of medical malpractice include misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, medical or medication errors, and birth injuries.
For wrongful death cases involving medical malpractice, the deadlines for filing a wrongful death claim in civil court get confusing. If the cause of death is healthcare provider negligence, then the decedent’s family must file a claim no more than one year from the date of the discovery that medical negligence caused the death, or three years after the date the decedent died.
California also has a damages cap for wrongful death caused by medical malpractice. The cap was increased effective January 1, 2023, to $500,000, and will eventually reach $1 million over the next decade.
Survivorship Actions in Stockton
Survivorship actions differ from wrongful death claims brought by the decedent’s surviving family members. Survivorship lawsuits allow the personal representative of the decedent’s estate (or, if there is no personal representative, then the deceased’s successor-in-interest) to sue for any damages the decedent could have sued for had they not died.
These actions can only be brought if the deceased person did not die from their injuries immediately. And, the law only requires a short window of survival. In some cases, these cases involve personal injury lawsuits filed by the deceased person prior to their death, and then carried out by the estate as survival actions.
When wrongful death and survival actions involve the same accident or incident, the court may consolidate them into a single lawsuit.
Damages in a survival lawsuit include the losses the decedent suffered before their death, which the decedent could have recovered had they survived. These may include medical expenses, lost income, or property damage. You may recover pain, suffering, and disfigurement damages in a survival action as of January 1, 2022. You may receive punitive damages, but only in cases of egregious or malicious actions on the part of the wrongdoer.
The estate must file survivorship actions within two years of the injury or six months after the death, whichever comes first.
How Do I Prove Wrongful Death?
To establish a successful wrongful death claim based on negligence in Stockton, you generally need to prove:
- Duty of Care: The plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased person. In other words, you need to show that the defendant had a legal obligation to act in a reasonably prudent manner to prevent harm to the deceased.
- Breach of Duty: You must prove that the defendant breached their duty of care. This means showing that the defendant’s actions or omissions fell short of what a reasonably prudent person or entity would have done under similar circumstances. It essentially demonstrates negligence.
- Causation: You need to establish a direct causal link between the defendant’s breach of duty and the death of the individual. In other words, you must demonstrate that the defendant’s actions or negligence directly led to the fatal injuries or event.
- Damages: Finally, you need to provide evidence of the damages suffered as a result of the wrongful death. This may include economic losses (such as medical bills, funeral expenses, lost income, and future financial support) as well as non-economic losses (such as pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and emotional distress) suffered by the surviving family members or heirs.
An experienced attorney with Roberts Personal Injury & Car Accident Lawyers who focuses on wrongful death cases can help you navigate the legal process effectively and ensure you meet all the necessary elements to pursue a successful claim.
How Can a Lawyer Help With My Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death attorney from Roberts Personal Injury & Car Accident Lawyers can provide invaluable assistance when pursuing a wrongful death claim.
Here are some ways in which our experienced attorney can help you with your case:
- Legal experience: Wrongful death attorneys focus on this area of law and understand the complex legal principles and requirements involved in such cases. They can navigate the legal process, ensuring you meet all the necessary deadlines and requirements.
- Investigation: Our attorneys have the resources and experience to conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death. This may involve gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, consulting experts, and reviewing relevant documents to establish liability.
- Liability determination: Your attorney will assess the facts of the case to determine who you can hold liable for the wrongful death. This includes identifying potential defendants and evaluating their actions or negligence.
- Calculating damages: Our lawyers can help you assess the full extent of your damages, including economic losses (such as medical bills, funeral expenses, and lost income) and non-economic losses (such as pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and emotional distress). They can also estimate future financial losses and suffering.
- Negotiation: Your attorney can negotiate with the responsible parties or their insurance companies to seek a fair settlement on your behalf. They will work to maximize your compensation while protecting your rights and interests.
- Litigation: If you cannot reach a fair settlement through negotiations, your lawyer can file a wrongful death lawsuit and represent you in court. They will present your case, argue on your behalf, and advocate for the compensation you deserve.
- Legal guidance: Throughout the entire process, your attorney will provide you with legal advice and guidance, helping you make informed decisions about your case. They can explain your legal options and their potential outcomes.
- Emotional support: Your attorney can provide you with support and empathy while handling the legal aspects of the case, allowing you to focus on healing and coping with your emotionally challenging loss.
- Knowledge of state laws: Laws related to wrongful death claims can vary from state to state. Our attorneys have experience in California’s wrongful death laws and can ensure your case complies with all relevant regulations.
- Advocacy for justice: Your wrongful death attorney is your advocate for justice. They will work tirelessly to hold those responsible accountable for their actions and help you and your family obtain the compensation you deserve.
Contact the Stockton Wrongful Death Lawyers at Roberts Personal Injury & Car Accident Lawyers Today
A qualified wrongful death attorney can navigate the legal complexities of these cases and protect your rights throughout the process. A lawyer can significantly increase your chances of a successful outcome and fair compensation for your losses.
Contact the experienced Stockton personal injury lawyers at Roberts Personal Injury & Car Accident Lawyers today at (209) 488-5327 or through our online form for a free consultation, to hear your legal options.
Our Office in Stockton, California
Roberts Personal Injury & Car Accident Lawyers
11 S San Joaquin St, Ste 610,
Stockton, CA, 95202