A wrongful death is one of the most devastating and heartbreaking events that a family can go through. The reason is that a wrongful death is one that was caused by the negligence of another person, which can make it feel especially tragic. A wrongful death is when a person dies in what would, had it not been fatal, have been classified as a personal injury, meaning that the negligence of another person is what caused the accident that led to the wrongful death. Unfortunately, unintentional injuries are among the leading causes of death in the country.
There is obviously nothing that anyone can do to relieve the grief suffered by the friends and family of the decedent— the person who passed away— but an attorney can help their family members to remain financially stable in the wake of their death.
At the Grossman Law Office, we will help the family of the deceased to get the compensation they need from the insurance company of the at-fault party. The wrongful death lawyers of the Grossman Law Office have decades of experience in personal injury law and wrongful death law, so they know how to get the family of the deceased the financial support that they need. We will help the family through every stage of the process, from calculating their expenses to filing the wrongful death claim to negotiating with the insurance company to make sure that they offer a fair settlement amount. If a lawsuit becomes necessary, then we will help with that as well.
The Grossman Law Office will handle all wrongful death cases with the urgency, efficiency, and sensitivity that the family members of the deceased deserve. That is because we are professional wrongful death lawyers who will provide the legal help our clients need. So if you need a Fresno wrongful death lawyer, then contact the Grossman Law Office to get a free consultation of your case.
What Qualifies as a Fresno Wrongful Death?
As stated earlier, a wrongful death is a personal injury case where the injured person ends up dying. That means a wrongful death case has elements that are mostly similar to a typical personal injury case. In order for a wrongful death case to be considered valid, it must have the following elements:
- The person who caused the accident— the defendant— owed the deceased person a duty of care. A duty of care means that a person should behave in the way a reasonable person would under similar circumstances. For example, a driver owes a duty of care to everyone else on the road by paying attention to the road and staying focused on the task of driving.
- The defendant violated the duty of care. This means that they did not exhibit the proper level of reason or care needed to avoid a dangerous situation. The driver in the previous example could violate their duty of care by texting while driving.
- The violation of the duty of care caused an accident. The violation is always irresponsible, but it does not become a problem unless it results in an accident. To continue with the example of the texting driver, it would be if they crashed into another car because they were not paying attention to the road.
- The accident caused injuries to the victim. This means that the person was injured as a direct result of the other party’s negligence.
- The accident victim died because of their injuries. If the victim succumbs to their injuries, then it means the case is now a wrongful death.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
There are many different things that could cause a Fresno wrongful death. Some of them include the following:
Car Accidents – California reported 3,723 motor vehicle deaths in 2020, which is an increase from the previous year. Those car accident deaths are caused by a variety of different reasons, such as drunk driving, speeding, aggressive driving, distracted driving, and more.
Infographic from http://www.city-data.com/accidents/acc-Fresno-California.html
Premises Liability – This is when a person gets injured because of a dangerous condition on someone else’s property. That property could be commercial or residential, meaning that it could take place at a business, such as a supermarket, or at a person’s house. A slip and fall is the most common type of premises liability injury, but a person drowning in a pool or getting attacked by a dog could also count.
Medical Malpractice – Sometimes health care providers may end up accidentally hurting their patients, and sometimes those accidents may lead to a wrongful death. Some common medical malpractice cases include misdiagnosis, wrong prescriptions, surgical errors, poor aftercare, and more. Medical malpractice is one of the leading causes of death in the country and California is one of the states that has the highest medical malpractice payments.
Defective Products – Also called product liability, this is when a product malfunctions and hurts someone when they were using the product as intended. Attorneys are necessary in product liability cases because they can help to identify who was responsible for the defect in the product. That is because the defect could occur in the design stage, manufacturing stage, or distribution stage.
Workplace Injuries – Some occupations, like construction work, for example, are quite dangerous and the accidents that happen in those workplaces could lead to death.
Intentional Acts – Even though most wrongful death cases are caused by accidents, some are caused by intentional criminal acts such as assault or battery. In those cases, the defendant will receive a criminal sentence to punish them for their crime, but they can also be sued for wrongful death in order to compensate the family of the decedent.
The Damages in Wrongful Death Claims
The families in wrongful death cases deserve the recovery of compensation for the losses caused by the death of a family member. The compensation is meant to provide financial stability to the family so that they do not have to suffer economically as well. In Fresno, CA, damages are divided into economic and non-economic damages.
These are the kinds of damages that have a monetary value and include the following:
- The financial support the decedent would have provided to their family during their estimated life expectancy, or the life expectancy of the family member who is filing the claim, whichever one is shorter.
- The loss of benefits or gifts the decedent would have provided to their family.
- Burial and funeral expenses.
- The value of the household services that would have been provided by the decedent.
The family of the decedent is also entitled to the recovery of damages that do not have a monetary value. In the case of non-economic damages, the jury is instructed to assign a reasonable amount that is based on their common sense:
- The loss of companionship, love, moral support, affection, assistance, care, protection, society, and comfort caused by the death of the decedent.
- The loss of enjoyment of sexual relations in cases where it is applicable.
- The loss of training or guidance that the decedent would have provided.
While a wrongful death claim or wrongful death lawsuit is meant to provide compensation for the family of the decedent, a survival cause of action is meant to compensate the estate of the decedent for the losses suffered prior to their death. According to the California Code of Civil Procedure, the family of the decedent has the right to sue for the following damages:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Damaged property
Who Has the Right to Sue for Wrongful Death in Fresno?
The California legal code states that the following family members or their representatives are allowed to file a Fresno wrongful death claim or a wrongful death lawsuit:
- The surviving spouse
- Domestic partners
- The children of the decedent
- The grandchildren of the decedent if their children are also deceased
- Other descendants, such as stepchildren, who relied on the decedent for at least 50% of their financial support
- Anyone entitled to the decedent’s property according to California’s laws on intestate succession
How Much Is a Wrongful Death Suit Worth in Fresno?
There is no average settlement amount when it comes to wrongful death cases because the payout depends on the circumstances of the case. Some Fresno wrongful death cases will be worth $10,000 or less while others may be worth up to six or seven figures. Each case is different so you should ask your wrongful death attorney to give you a general estimate of what your case is worth.
Contact the Grossman Law Office When You Need a Fresno Wrongful Death Lawyer
If you were unfortunate enough to experience a wrongful death in your family, then you should contact the Grossman Law Firm to get the legal help that you need. Our Fresno law firm can assign you a wrongful death lawyer who will help you throughout every stage of the process. They will help you to file your wrongful death claim against the insurance company of the party responsible for your loved one’s passing. Our wrongful death lawyers have decades of experience among them so they know that their clients will want to have the case resolved quickly and efficiently, which is why they will always perform with the urgency and sensitivity the surviving family requires.
The wrongful death attorneys of the Grossman Law Firm will fight to make sure that the remaining family remains financially stable after they have lost a loved one. We know that money cannot heal the wounds caused by the sudden passing of someone close to you, but at least the compensation will mean that there is one less thing that you need to worry about. So if you need the legal expertise of wrongful death lawyers in Fresno, then contact the Grossman Law Office for a free consultation of your case. Our law firm is ready, willing, and able to help anyone in Fresno who has lost a loved one due to the negligence of someone else.