Losing a loved one, especially when unexpected, is certainly one of the most devastating events that a family can experience. Often, words cannot express the pain and sorrow felt by all those left behind.
If you’ve lost a loved one, it is important to find a way to cope with the loss that is unique to you. Sometimes, it is by remaining in close contact with family. Others may find solace in grieving alone or perhaps through therapy. Whatever helps ease the pain of your loss, it is important you search for that answer.
Additionally, if you suspect the loss occurred as a result of the wrongful acts of another, you should contact an experienced Sacramento wrongful death attorney that can answer your questions and protect your legal rights and the rights of your lost loved one.
Contact Kershaw, Cook & Talley today to find out about your legal options.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
When a person dies, and the death occurred because of another’s wrongful actions, whether intentional or negligent, the surviving family members may file a lawsuit against the at-fault parties for causing the wrongful death of their loved one.
A wrongful death claim is a civil suit where the at-fault parties, if found liable for the death, may be required to pay money to those who are entitled to bring the wrongful death claim.
Why File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Filing a lawsuit after the loss of a loved one may be the last thing that comes to mind to a grieving family. No amount of money can ever replace the love, comfort, and life of a loved one, however, there are huge benefits that a wrongful death lawsuit can bring to the deceased's family.
The sudden loss of a close family member, especially a primary bread earner, can be as financially devastating as it is emotionally. The recovery awarded from a wrongful death lawsuit can help cover funeral and burial costs, as well as provide future financial support for the husband, wife, children, or parents of the deceased.
The losses for which the surviving family members may be compensated with money generally fall into two categories.
- The financial support, if any, that the deceased would have contributed to the family during either the life expectancy that the deceased had before his or her death or the life expectancy of those persons bringing the lawsuit, whichever is shorter;
- The loss of gifts or benefits that the family would have expected to receive from the deceased;
- Funeral and burial expenses; and,
- The reasonable value of household services that the deceased would have provided.
- The loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, and society;
- The loss of intimacy with a spouse; and,
- The loss of training and guidance.
Answers & Closure
With an unexpected death comes a mountain of questions. How did this happen? Who is responsible? How do I move forward with my life?
While we can't answer every one of these questions, our Sacramento wrongful death lawyers can investigate the circumstances of your loved one's accident to determine why it happened and who is responsible. By providing answers and securing justice for your lost family member, we strive to help all our clients find closure after such a profound loss.
Call Kershaw, Cook & Talley today at (916) 520-6639 to speak to a compassionate member of our team about filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
Who Can Sue For Wrongful Death?
Those who may make a claim for the death of a person caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another include:
- The deceased person’s surviving spouse or domestic partner, children, and grandchildren (if the deceased person’s children are not alive).
- The deceased person’s parents and stepchildren, if they were dependent on the deceased person at the time of death.
- A child who was dependent on the deceased person for one-half or more of the child’s support, if, at the time the person died, the child resided with the deceased person for at least 180 days prior to their death.
Claims on Behalf of the Deceased
In addition to the claim for wrongful death that may be brought by those persons listed above, a claim may be brought by the deceased person’s personal representative or successor for any claim the deceased person may have had at the time they died.
For example, if a person was involved in a serious car accident due to the negligence of another and they succumbed to injuries sustained in the accident six months later, the family would not only have a claim against the at-fault party for causing the wrongful death of their loved one, they would also have a claim on behalf of their loved one against the at-fault party for negligence.
The damages that may be recovered on this claim are any damages the deceased person would have been entitled to had they lived with the exception of pain, suffering or disfigurement.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit for Wrongful Death?
There are several time limits that can apply to a claim for the wrongful death of a loved one depending on whom is responsible.
In general, claims for wrongful death must be filed within two years from the date of death.
If the claim for wrongful death is against a government entity, the claim must be presented to the entity within six months from the date of death. The government entity is then given an opportunity to resolve the case with the claimants before a lawsuit may be filed. If the claim is denied by the government entity, then a lawsuit must be filed with the appropriate court within six months of the denial. If, however, the government entity fails to respond within 45 days, then the lawsuit may be filed within two years from the date of the death.
If the claim for wrongful death is against a health care provider for malpractice, a lawsuit must be filed within one year of the date of death. It's best to get started on your case as soon as possible. Call (916) 520-6639 to speak to our wrongful death lawyers in Sacramento.
If you have lost a loved one due to the wrongful acts of another, please contact our firm. Our team of experienced Sacramento wrongful death attorneys are here to help you with your loss by explaining and your legal rights and the rights of your lost loved one.