Leading California Wrongful Death Attorney
If your spouse, parent or child has been killed and you suspect that their death was the unnecessary consequence of someone else’s negligence or a crime, you should always consult a Wrongful Death attorney to look into the circumstances as soon as possible. Krasney Law, practicing all over California, has expert attorneys and staff to pursue justice in case of a wrongful death.
A wrongful death claim can result from situations such as a car or airplane crash, exposure to hazardous conditions or substances, criminal behavior, or a supervised activity. At Krasney Law, we know how to proceed in any wrongful death situation and have been serving clients for years.
How Can We Help?
The actions of a careless or criminal individual or corporation can have devastating consequences in your life. We understand that you are grieving, but you need to be aware of how important it is that the you give us the opportunity to start investigating as soon as possible. Time is of the essence in wrongful death cases. Important evidence and other important information need to be collected and examined as soon as possible.
Many insurance companies try to pay as little as possible, even less than what you have coming. Also, some survivors of wrongful death may need to file a lawsuit to get the insurance company to pay.
Krasney Law’s expert attorneys and staff can investigate the circumstances of a wrongful death and file suit for maximum damages to see that our clients get what they need to recover loss of income from the victim who died, and compensate them for the emotionally devastating loss of a loved one. Or, we can negotiate with the insurance company to get you a fair settlement for your loss. Contact us today to start the conversation.
What To Do in Case of a Wrongful Death
Notify your insurance company that you have lost a loved one. Also, get a copy of the police report. The next thing you should do is retain the legal counsel of a knowledgeable California wrongful death attorney. A Krasney Law attorney will ask you questions to find out how the accident or crime that resulted in your loved one’s death happened, the location and what the victim was doing there. If you have access to witnesses, newspaper articles or accident reports, gather them and provide them to the attorney.
What Not To Do In Case of a Wrongful Death
If you encounter someone at the scene who was somehow at fault in the event that killed your close relative,, be cooperative and courteous, but do not apologize or admit to any guilt. If you do you may be conceding they are not liable.
Talk only to your lawyer and your own insurance company about the case. If the other party’s insurance company calls you, refer them to your lawyer or your own insurance company. Don’t speak with the other side’s insurance company without first calling our office. Please keep in mind, the insurance company will want to take a recorded statement to protect themselves, not you. They represent the party that killed your loved one, and they are trying to reduce their financial liability.
Don’t give a recorded statement to anyone, especially insurance companies. They will use your own words against you later on in the case.
What To Do After You Go Home
If your loved one survived for a while after the incident, make sure to record his visits to doctors and other medical practitioners, the drugs and treatments they prescribed and what you spent on them. Pain and suffering are harder to quantify and qualify, but take notes on how you feel mentally because of the impact of the wrongful death.
Also write down how your finances were affected by the loss of a wage earner. If the deceased was a spouse, take notes on how his or her absence affects you. If it was a child who died, the pain from their loss also can be compensated.
When Can It Be Considered Neglect?
A wrongful death lawsuit may be brought when someone dies because of the legal fault, whether negligence or an outright criminal act, of another person or organization. In California’s legal code, a wrongful death happens because of “the wrongful act or neglect of another.”
Negligence comes in two forms: when the party failed to do something that would have prevented the death, or when they did something criminal or neglectful that they should not have done.
California law requires property owners and individuals to be careful, and they may be considered negligent when they fail to act carefully. A person bringing a wrongful death lawsuit must prove his relative was killed because of the defendant’s actions or inaction.
Hire Krasney Law—California Personal Injury Specialists
To get a free evaluation of your case, speak with an attorney who understands the complexities of wrongful death claims. We have been winning big awards for our clients for years. We have experienced attorneys and expert staff who will go all out to represent you for maximum damages. Call the team at Krasney Law for a free initial consultation. We will charge you nothing for an initial consultation, and we may arrange payment on a contingency basis. That is, we don’t get paid unless you get paid by either accepting a settlement or we go to trial and win your case.
Wrongful Death FAQ
What actions constitute wrongful death?
Any action or inaction that results in the death of another person can be deemed to have caused a wrongful death. This can include things like negligence, carelessness or outright neglect, as well as more obvious actions like assault, driving under the influence or medical malpractice. Wrongful death can even occur as a result of using a defective product. These actions can be either intentional or unintentional.
What is a wrongful death action?
A wrongful death action is a lawsuit that you can bring against another person for the wrongful death of a loved one. To qualify as a wrongful death, the other party in the case must have either directly or indirectly caused the person’s death, either through negligence or an act intended to harm. This type of case is tried in civil court as opposed to criminal court. The person bringing the lawsuit can claim financial compensation, known as damages, from the other party. This type of case is carried out separately from any criminal proceedings for the same incident.
Who can file a wrongful death suit?
In the state of California, the only people who can bring a wrongful death action are the deceased person’s spouse or domestic partner and the person’s own children. If none of these people are still alive, the right to file a wrongful death suit passes to the next person in line to inherit the deceased’s estate, often surviving parents or siblings. Any people who were financially dependent on the decedent, like elderly parents or stepchildren, may also bring wrongful death actions.
Can I bring a wrongful death action for a child or an elderly person?
Yes, you can file a wrongful death suit for people of any age. However, it is important to note that damages paid in cases of children or the elderly tend to be smaller than those for working-age adults. Although it is always tragic to lose someone you love, damages are based largely on the person’s financial contribution to your family. As the elderly are no longer working and children have not yet started, their financial contributions are relatively small.
Can I file a wrongful death suit for someone who did not have a job?
Yes, the deceased did not need to hold a job to have died wrongfully. This question comes up frequently in cases involving stay-at-home parents. Although they may not have contributed to the family financially in the traditional sense, by staying home, they saved the family money on child care costs. This contribution is just as valuable as working for pay and courts in California will take non-monetary contributions into consideration in determining damages.
Can I sue for the deceased person’s pain and suffering leading up to their death?
Yes, wrongful death claims can include additional damages for the decedent’s pain and suffering in their final days or weeks. You’ll need testimony from your loved one’s doctor to verify that they were, in fact, in pain. The court will not just assume that was the case.
How is the amount of damages determined?
In California, damages fall into two categories: those that go to the deceased person’s estate and those that go to their surviving family members. Those on the estate side involve financial losses associated with the death. This includes any medical bills related to the injury or illness that led to the death, as well as any funeral and burial costs. This category also takes into account the potential income that the person could expect to have earned over their lifetime. You’ll need expert testimony to determine a figure for lost income.
Damages attributed to the surviving family members compensate them for their personal loss. On the financial side, this includes compensation for the value of household services the person provided, as well as any financial support they gave their surviving relatives. There are emotional factors at play here too, including the loss of affection, guidance, moral support and other benefits of a close family bond.
The court will weigh all of these factors to determine a settlement value for your wrongful death lawsuit. While it is impossible to guarantee a specific amount, we can promise that we will do everything we can to maximize your settlement.
Are wrongful death damages taxable?
No, the IRS has ruled that personal injury and wrongful death settlements cannot be taxed. The reasoning behind this is that the death was caused by a third party, not the person’s own actions, so their surviving family should not be penalized.
Who pays in a wrongful death suit?
If the other party is determined to be liable for your loved one’s death, they will be responsible for paying the settlement. In many cases, though, this is handled through the person’s insurance company, especially when dealing with businesses. If the insurance policy isn’t robust enough to cover the full settlement amount, they’ll need to pay the rest out of pocket.
What happens if a person dies while bringing a personal injury lawsuit?
If your loved one was in the process of filing a personal injury claim at the time of their death, the next steps will depend on whether the death was a result of the injury in question. If the person did die from complications from their injuries, their surviving family members can proceed with a wrongful death action. If, on the other hand, the death was unrelated to the injuries, the executor of the person’s estate can continue with their personal injury lawsuit. Family members will not be able to file a wrongful death claim in this case as the injury was not the cause of death.
What if I have more questions?
The Krasney Law team is always happy to help. If you would like to learn more about personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits, we invite you to reach out to us to schedule a free consultation. We’ll answer all of your questions and let you know if you have a valid case.