San Diego Wrongful Death Lawyer

Wrongful death cases in San Diego reflect significant and concerning statistics. In recent years, the county has seen a notable number of wrongful death claims stemming from various causes, including medical malpractice, workplace accidents, and vehicular incidents. Traffic-related deaths are particularly prevalent, with the California Office of Traffic Safety reporting over 250 fatalities annually in San Diego County. Medical errors also contribute significantly, with studies indicating thousands of deaths statewide due to preventable mistakes. The rise in construction and industrial activities has led to an increase in workplace fatalities. These statistics highlight the need for enhanced safety measures and legal recourse for affected families.

Who Can File a San Diego Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Eligibility to file a wrongful death lawsuit is determined by state laws and typically includes the following parties:

  1. Immediate Family Members: The most common individuals who qualify to file are immediate family members such as spouses, children, and parents of the deceased. These parties are generally given primary consideration due to their direct relationship and dependency on the deceased.
  2. Surviving Spouses and Domestic Partners: Spouses and registered domestic partners are universally recognized as having the right to file a wrongful death claim. In some jurisdictions, common-law spouses may also qualify if they can prove the existence of a committed relationship.
  3. Children: Biological and adopted children are eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In cases where the deceased was unmarried, children often become the primary claimants.
  4. Parents of Deceased Minors: Parents can file a wrongful death claim if their minor child dies. This right can extend to the death of an adult child if the parents were financially dependent on them.
  5. Financial Dependents: Individuals who were financially dependent on the deceased, such as stepchildren, putative spouses, or other relatives, may be eligible in some states. They must demonstrate their financial reliance on the deceased.
  6. Personal Representatives: Executors or administrators of the deceased’s estate can file on behalf of the estate and the deceased’s beneficiaries. This ensures that any compensation awarded benefits the rightful heirs.

The specific eligibility criteria for filing a wrongful death lawsuit vary by state, making it essential to consult with a knowledgeable San Diego wrongful death attorney who can navigate the local laws and determine the appropriate claimants.

In San Diego, a wrongful death claim may be made as a civil wrongful death lawsuit action. The survivors or a personal representative of the deceased person’s estate is allowed to file this type of San Diego wrongful death lawyer claim. This claim details the monetary damages that the wrongful death generated, and if the case is won after fault is established, the plaintiff(s) would be granted monetary compensation for those claims.

A civil claim, this differs from elements of a criminal case. Survivors are allowed to file the civil claim even if there already is a criminal case in progress, as there would be in the case of a homicide where the guilty person receives other penalties, such as jail time. In either case, if your family member suffered a wrongful death, an experienced wrongful death lawyer in San Diego can help you decide which course of action will bring you the best results.

San Diego Wrongful Death Attorney

When you consult with a wrongful death attorney in San Diego they already know about the complexities of filing this type of case. Many details must be investigated and proven to win your San Diego wrongful death case. To begin with, only certain people are allowed to file for Wrongful Death compensation. The entire text of the applicable California Code is found here: California Code of Civil Procedure section 337.60, et seq., but in brief, the following survivors of the deceased person are eligible:

  • Spouse/Domestic Partner
  • Financially dependent persons – stepchildren, parents, putative spouse/children
  • Parents and Siblings – if no spouse, partner or children survive

Once it is confirmed that the person seeking compensation for a San Diego wrongful death is able to file a claim, their attorney will begin an investigation into the alleged wrongful death. The wrongful death attorney will be looking for causes that point to negligent behavior by another person or entity.

San Diego Wrongful Death Accidents

There are many San Diego wrongful death accidents that happen. If a person is killed in an accident of any kind that was due to negligence, there may also be a claim for wrongful death. Auto accidents, trucking accidents, safety violations, deliberate attack by another person, defective products, failure to properly warn against hazards and other actions can easily result in a death. Any act that ends with the death of another person prior to their naturally occurring demise could be considered to be wrongful and premature.

The claims in a San Diego wrongful death lawsuit are set forth in terms of monetary losses to survivors. They can make claims asking for compensation for types of personal pain and suffering because as survivors, they are now deprived of the companionship, support and love of that deceased person. As is true in other wrongful death lawsuits, specific monetary amounts are calculated for a variety of losses. In California, claims made are derived from whether they affect the estate or the survivors of the deceased.

Typical compensation claims that could be made under wrongful death include:

  • Funeral & Burial Costs
  • Medical bills for patient care prior to their death
  • Nursing home care expenses
  • Loss of income the deceased would have provided survivors
  • Psychological pain and suffering due to the loss of the loved one
  • Pain & suffering of the deceased prior to death (calculated by expert witnesses)
  • Loss of companionship or consortium with spouse/partner
  • Loss of guardianship and guidance – for child/step-child
  • Loss of future inheritance
  • Property damage – vehicles damaged or lost in accident that caused injury/death

Limits for Filing a San Diego Wrongful Death Claim

In the state of California, wrongful death claims are made by survivors or dependants of the deceased person, or by the estate of that person. Certain claims can only be made by survivors, such as loss of affection and moral support. An estate can request compensation for support of the estate, such as lost income the deceased would have used to maintain the property.

There are time limits in California for filing a San Diego wrongful death claim. For most cases, this is a two year time frame, but when government agencies are involved, it is reduced to six months. This time frame is adjusted to one year from the time of notification of death to reflect that delay if survivors do not know of the death until past the two year time limit. In certain cases, such as nursing home abuse leading to death of a patient, there may also be punitive damages levied.

California reports approximately 3,000 to 4,000 wrongful death claims annually. This number includes fatalities resulting from medical malpractice, vehicular accidents, workplace incidents, and other forms of negligence. See also medical malpractice lawyers in San Diego. The California Department of Public Health and the Office of Traffic Safety provide comprehensive statistics, indicating that traffic-related fatalities alone account for over 3,500 deaths each year. These figures underscore the significant impact of wrongful deaths on families and highlight the importance of legal recourse to address such tragedies and hold responsible parties accountable.

Other causes of wrongful death injury claims include:

  • Medical Malpractice: Errors in healthcare, including sub-standard treatment, omissions, pharmaceutical mistakes, and birth injuries.
  • Deliberate Attack: Injuries from workplace violence and civil unrest.
  • Occupational Hazards: Harm from exposure to toxic chemicals at work.
  • Vehicle or Common Carrier Accidents: Incidents involving buses, planes, trains, cars, trucks, motorcycles, or bicycles.
  • Construction Accidents: Injuries to workers or passersby at construction sites.
  • Recreational Accidents: Injuries during leisure activities.
  • Firearms Accidents: Injuries from hunting or sport shooting, including accidental discharges.
  • Defective Products/Failures: Injuries caused by faulty products or product malfunctions.

San Diego Wrongful Death Compensation

Compensation for San Diego wrongful death claims vary according to the individual case and persons involved. For certain cases, such as San Diego medical malpractice, there are caps for damages. In California, this was set at $250,000 in 1975.

It is essential to work with an experienced San Diego wrongful death lawyer if you have lost a loved one in an accident and want to pursue claims under state wrongful death laws. There are many details and regulations that apply to this type of wrongful death case, and an attorney who understands and has worked with these regulations offers you the best opportunity for successful claims. Fees are generally charged only after the case is settled and you receive a settlement or jury award. This is called contingency fee basis, and it is a typical method of payment for most wrongful death cases.

Seek a San Diego Wrongful Death Consultation

If you have any questions about an accident involving a loved one who died and you want to pursue compensation under San Diego wrongful death rules, contact an experienced San Diego wrongful death attorney immediately for answers and to arrange your initial consultation.