Modesto Wrongful Death Lawyer
Your loved ones each play an indispensable role in your family. Whether they provide financial support or guidance and love, or a combination of both, they are irreplaceable. When they die at someone else’s hands, nothing can bring them back.
The only thing that families can do is look to the responsible party to pay for their damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. But first, you must hire an experienced wrongful death attorney to fight for your legal rights. You want a lawyer from Nadrich & Cohen Accident Injury Lawyers.
Our Modesto wrongful death attorneys have won millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts, including wrongful death claims involving clients ranging from pedestrians to equestrians. You can trust that our empathetic attorneys know how to fight for the compensation you and your family deserve.
The Elements of Your Wrongful Death Lawsuit
A wrongful death lawsuit bears similarities to many other personal injury cases. First, here are the elements of a wrongful death lawsuit:
- A person died
- The death was caused either by negligence or the intentional actions of another
- The death of their loved one injured surviving family members
The Legal Issues in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
There are generally two things that will be at issue in any wrongful death case.
Assuming that you meet the procedural requirements (you have the standing to sue, and you have filed your case within the statute of limitations), the issues in your case are:
- Is someone else legally responsible for your loved one’s death?
- How much damage did you and your family suffer?
Each of these two matters requires proof. Not only do you need to show that someone else was responsible for your loved one’s death, but you also need to prove your damages.
Wrongful Death Caused by Negligence
For the first question, the most common issue is whether someone was negligent. Here, you will be trying to prove that someone else acted unreasonably under the circumstances.
Negligence cases in personal injury law can include some of the following examples:
- Your loved one died when another driver ran a red light and T-boned their car.
- A landlord did not install or check a carbon monoxide detector, and family members died from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Here, you will need to prove that it was more likely than not that someone was negligent, and it caused your loved one’s death. Your wrongful death lawyer in Modesto will thoroughly investigate the circumstances behind your loved one’s death to help you prove responsibility.
Wrongful Death Caused by Defective Products
Negligence is not the only way you can show someone else caused your loved one’s loss. Over 20,000 people each year in the United States die from injuries suffered from defective products. In these cases, your wrongful death claim will depend on showing that the product was defective.
In recent years, the following companies had to defend themselves in wrongful death lawsuits by families who claimed that their loved ones were fatally sickened by products sold to them:
- Monsanto: Family members claimed that their loved ones died from lymphoma when Roundup contained a known carcinogen.
- Johnson & Johnson: Women died of ovarian cancer when allegations have tied talc powder to ovarian cancer due to asbestos contamination
- GlaxoSmithKline: The pharmaceutical giant faces wrongful death claims because plaintiffs allege that their loved ones were sickened by contaminants in the popular heartburn medication Zantac.
Wrongful Death Caused by Intentional or Reckless Actions
Finally, your family can also file a wrongful death lawsuit in Modesto when someone else’s recklessness or intentional acts kill your loved one. A common example is a civil lawsuit against a drunk driver who was involved in a fatal crash with a family member.
Here, the civil lawsuit is entirely separate from the criminal case. While a guilty plea helps your case, an acquittal is not the end of the line for your lawsuit. You can even file a lawsuit against the defendant in a homicide case.
Assuming that you can prove someone else responsible for your loved one’s death, the next step is securing financial compensation. This is where you may struggle when negotiating a settlement. Responsible parties and their insurance companies are more focused on saving money than on paying for the harm that they have done.
Your Case Depends on Your Damages
One of the early questions that we often receive during an initial consultation is how much a wrongful death settlement may be worth. Unfortunately, that is not an answer that we can give you on the spot when we first speak to you.
Calculating your damages is something that we can do after we get to know you and your situation. Our legal advice is tailored and precise. The promise that we can make is that once we can put a number on your damages, we will fight for you to receive every penny that you deserve.
Remember that your wrongful death claim is the family’s legal action based on their suffering. It does not have to do with the accident itself (you can address that through a survival claim that we describe below).
Each person on the list of people who can sue suffers different damages. The surviving spouse and children each suffer because their loved one was a provider. Young children may suffer because of the love and closeness of the relationship with a parent that they have lost.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
With the help of a Modesto wrongful death attorney, here are the damages that your family can recover in a wrongful death lawsuit:
- Had your loved one continued working, they would have provided financial support. These lost wages are recoverable in a settlement or lawsuit.
- Your loved one provided support and guidance in their role in the family, and the wrongful death lawsuit places a value on that.
- If your deceased family member was a child, your relationship with them had value, and you can receive compensation for the loss.
- Families suffer their own grief, trauma, and devastation when they lose a loved one, and this is part of their injury.
Each person who has the standing to sue for wrongful death may have suffered different losses. California’s wrongful death statute lists the people who can sue. First, we note that there is only one action allowed. Each person on the list of people in the statute may join this lawsuit. They may not sue separately.
Specifically, these people have the standing to file a wrongful death lawsuit in California:
- Surviving spouses
- Minor children
- Domestic partners
- Other relatives who draw financial support from the deceased person
Survival Actions Filed by the Estate
Wrongful death damages are not the only recoverable damages when your loved one has died. The deceased person has a cause of action separate from the wrongful death lawsuit. This is called a survival action, and lawmakers intend for it to compensate for what the deceased person went through between their injury and their death.
The personal representative files the survival action for the estate. The damages recovered by the lawsuit belong to the estate, and the estate will divide the proceeds under the terms of the will.
Damages in a Survival Action
A survival action may pay the estate for:
- The medical bills for your loved one’s treatment before they died
- Lost wages between the time of injury and death
- The pain and suffering that they endured between the time of their injury and death
- Emotional trauma when they realized their impending death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Possible punitive damages if the defendant’s conduct was particularly terrible (these damages cannot be a part of a wrongful death case since this type of lawsuit centers on the family’s damages)
We recognize that it is never easy to file a wrongful death claim because you may have to relive traumatic and difficult moments. Having to discuss and get into the details of your loved one’s death may reopen wounds from which you are trying to heal.
However, you cannot receive financial compensation unless you file a wrongful death lawsuit. You can anticipate that the defendant will try to make it as complex for you as possible because their primary interest is to avoid responsibility.
What a Wrongful Death Lawyer Will Do for You
At Nadrich & Cohen Accident Injury Lawyers, we recognize that a wrongful death claim can be a difficult and emotional experience for families. You must have a lawyer with the compassion and experience necessary to handle these cases.
Your Modesto wrongful death lawyer will essentially perform two different roles in your case:
- They will be your guide to the legal process, making sure that you understand your legal options.
- They will explain the case to you and be available to answer your questions sensitively.
- They will be your fiercest advocate and fighter when you are trying to hold someone else responsible for the death of your loved one and make them pay for what they did.
We can perform all roles. Our lawyers know exactly how to deal with insurance companies that are trying to save money at your expense. Insurance companies do not like us, and that is a badge of honor that we wear with pride. They know that we will fight for our clients and will not hesitate to up the pressure on them when they are being unreasonable.
At the same time, we have handled countless wrongful death claims. We know that families deal with their grief in different ways. We do everything we can to make your life easier during a difficult legal process.
Our lawyers have worked with families going through the same thing, and we commit to learning everything that we can about your situation and understanding your family dynamic. Our lawyers are compassionate when you need it and tough when you require someone to go to bat for you when an insurance company is trying to take advantage of you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will my wrongful death claim settle or go to trial?
In general, most personal injury cases do not end up going to a jury trial. Both sides have an incentive to settle the case. Your family wants to lower its risk and get money more quickly, and the defendant does not want to face a jury. This leaves both parties with an incentive to negotiate a settlement agreement. Of course, if they deny your claim, you will have no choice but to file a lawsuit and go to trial.
How can I afford a wrongful death lawyer?
You do not need to pay anything upfront for a personal injury lawyer. We will not ask you for a retainer, and we will not send you hourly bills for our services. If you receive a settlement or jury award, we will collect a percentage of what you get as your recovery.
How much is my case worth?
This is not something that we can answer on a web page, as the value of a wrongful death claim can vary widely from case to case. Our wrongful death attorneys will need to have some detailed conversations with you first about your circumstances and the deceased person’s role in your life.
No two wrongful death cases are worth the same, given that the court bases damages on how you have suffered. However, when we determine the value of your claim, we will fight for the full amount that you deserve.
Call a Modesto Wrongful Death Lawyer
If you have lost a loved one in an untimely manner, you need legal help now to explore your options. The lawyers at Nadrich & Cohen Accident Injury Lawyers can help you. We will fight for you to receive your maximum possible financial recovery for the loss of your loved one.
Call our Modesto wrongful death lawyers today or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation. This is a call that you must make as soon as possible after your loved one has passed to begin the process of receiving financial compensation.