Wrongful Death

The premature loss of a loved one is devastating under any circumstances, but this grief is compounded significantly when such a death is caused by the recklessness or carelessness of another person or party. A premature death can destabilize a family financially as well as emotionally, especially when the decedent was a primary source of income for them. Fortunately, under California law, survivors have the right to initiate a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible parties to seek financial compensation for their loss. If you and your family are confronting serious emotional or financial hardship in the aftermath of a premature death caused by another person’s negligence, you may want to consider contacting a knowledgeable California wrongful death attorney as soon as possible to review your legal options.

Walnut Creek Wrongful Death Attorney

Wrongful Death Attorney | Walnut Creek | Law Offices of William SchottThere are three kinds of compensation recoverable under California law in a wrongful death lawsuit: economic, non-economic and punitive. Economic damages are those directly related to financial losses resulting from the wrongful death. These economic damages may include not only the loss of earning capacity related to the death but also funeral expenses, medical expenses, damage to property, costs related to towing or renting cars, and so on. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are harder to quantify, yet no less legally viable. They may include compensation related to survivors’ pain and suffering, emotional or psychological distress, and loss of love and companionship. When the negligence that led to the wrongful death was especially egregious, however, surviving family members can also sue for what are called punitive damages. A jury may award punitive damages as a deterrent to both future negligence on the part of the defendant as well as that of other persons who might otherwise engage in similarly careless or reckless behavior. Although these damages go to the plaintiff, their purpose is to send a message to society that these kinds of acts will not be tolerated. Family members may be able to seek punitive damages even if the defendant was found innocent in criminal court. Your experienced wrongful death lawyer can help you decide whether or not requesting punitive damages makes sense given your circumstances.

Comparative Negligence & Third Party Lawsuits

Under the legal doctrine of comparative negligence, you can recover damages for a wrongful death even if your loved one was partly to blame for their death. For example, if an individual is driving under the influence of alcohol and is struck and killed by another driver who is also intoxicated, a jury may award damages based on the proportion to which blame is assigned to each party. If the defendant is deemed to be 30% responsible for their own death, the plaintiffs can still recover up to 70% of damages requested. Additionally, there may be other parties who can be held liable for a wrongful death besides the most obvious ones. If a dangerous condition in the roadway was a contributing factor in the death, you can pursue litigation against municipal authorities for having failed to address this dangerous condition. If a malfunctioning or defective airbag may have played a role in causing your loss, the manufacturers of the airbag can be held responsible. Your California wrongful death attorney can tell you more about third party lawsuits, the doctrine of comparative negligence, and the other legal aspects of your case during your initial consultation.

When you are ready, contact a dedicated California personal injury lawyer to schedule this consultation. No amount of money can reverse the fact of a premature death, but it can help stabilize a family emotionally and financially in the wake of such a tragedy.

Call (925) 934-5014 or fill out the contact form provided to speak with a dedicated California Wrongful Death Lawyer

Law Offices of William Schott