Losing a close loved one is never an easy event to cope with—especially when it results from a preventable accident. Unfortunately, far too many accidents that result from others’ negligence lead to a person’s untimely death.
When a person suffers a fatal injury in a car crash or other accident, surviving loved ones might be in a position to pursue a wrongful death claim against the at-fault individual or entity.
Wrongful death claims in California are difficult to pursue, and insurance companies will do everything that they possibly can to deny compensation in these legal matters. This is because the insurance company knows that the accident victim can no longer testify about their injuries and how the accident occurred.
Moreover, insurance companies are big businesses and have powerful lawyers on their side. They will do everything that they possibly can to limit the compensation that they pay out in a claim. In some cases, they will try to avoid paying out compensation altogether.
Wrongful Death Representation You Can Trust in Palm Desert
If you are interested in pursuing a wrongful death claim, you need a knowledgeable and experienced Palm Desert wrongful death attorney by your side advocating for your legal interests.
Some personal injury attorneys only handle non-fatal car accident cases. However, the knowledgeable attorneys at Nadrich & Cohen also handle wrongful death matters regularly. Collectively, our attorneys have pursued and recovered more than $350 million in monetary compensation for accident victims and their loved ones.
When it comes to wrongful death and personal injury claims, the sooner you have knowledgeable legal counsel on board in your case, the better. Our legal team can start working on your case right away and will take the necessary steps to pursue compensation on your behalf. Please call us today for your free consultation. Alternatively, you can use the texting feature that’s available on this page.
The last thing your family needs when dealing with a loss is to wonder whether you have the right attorney. Our team will answer any questions you have and address your concerns. Our dedication to our clients is apparent in every case we take on.
Individuals Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim in California
A person needs legal standing to file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit in California.
Nadrich & Cohen Accident Injury Lawyers
Palm Desert, CA 92260
These relatives may file wrongful death claims on behalf of deceased loved ones who passed away in an accident resulting from negligence:
- Surviving spouses
- Individuals who are registered domestic partners under the law
- Children of the deceased individual
- Grandchildren of the decedent (in the event the decedent’s children are already deceased
- Other individuals who might recover property under California’s laws relating to intestate succession.
Depending on the circumstances of the person’s death, any of these individuals may file a wrongful death claim. If you are eligible and you decide to file such a claim, a knowledgeable Palm Desert wrongful death lawyer at Nadrich & Cohen can assist you throughout the process. Our experienced legal team can help you file your claim, and if necessary, litigate it in the California court system.
Types of Accidents That Can Lead to Wrongful Death Claims
Many deadly accidents can result from recklessness, gross negligence or ordinary negligence.
According to the California Highway Patrol, motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of injuries and fatalities in the state.
According to a recent annual report, 277,160 individuals suffered injuries, and 3,904 people suffered fatalities in California car crashes. The number of fatal crashes for that year totaled 3,582. Many of these crashes in the Palm Desert area occur on California State Routes 74 and 111.
Some wrongful acts that can cause wrongful deaths include:
- Elder neglect or abuse
- Child neglect
- Child abuse
- Slips and falls
- Bicycle accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Motor vehicle collisions (especially those that result from intoxicated driving)
In cases that involve a dog bite or attack, victims can sometimes file a claim or lawsuit based on strict liability to recover various forms of monetary compensation. This is true even if the dog owner did not behave negligently under the circumstances.
If your loved one passed away in an accident that resulted from any of these circumstances, an experienced Palm Desert wrongful death attorney at Nadrich & Cohen can help you determine if you can file a claim or lawsuit. Our legal team can then guide you through every step of the process and work to get you the compensation that you deserve on behalf of your deceased loved one.
Will My Wrongful Death Claim Need to Go to Trial?
The majority of wrongful death claims and lawsuits settle out of court. This is because, in many instances, insurance companies will not want to take the matter to trial since they know that the accident victim is no longer alive and available to testify. In any case, the process begins when the lawyer for the wrongful death claim pursues a claim with the at-fault person’s insurance company.
As part of the claims-filing process, the attorney will include copies of the deceased individual’s medical records and bills, photographs of their injuries, photographs of property damage, police reports, eyewitness statements and other pertinent information in a demand package. The insurance company adjuster who is handling the case will then review all of this information and might then make an offer to settle.
In most cases, an initial offer from the insurance company is not the final offer. Even if the offer seems attractive, be aware the insurance company will start low. You might think a $500,000 offer is quite generous, but the insurer likely knows you deserve more (depending on your losses).
In other words, additional money is almost always available. The lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company adjuster and get that additional compensation. If the insurance company refuses to offer more money to resolve the claim, then litigation might be an option.
To file a lawsuit, the decedent’s survivors will typically need to open an estate. The wrongful death lawyer will then file a lawsuit in the court system on behalf of the estate and against the at-fault individual or entity. The insurance company still holds the purse strings when it comes to resolving the claim.
During the litigation stage of the case, the parties may exchange answers to written questions, called interrogatories. In addition, the court might order the parties to participate in a pre-trial or settlement conference, at which time the matter can still resolve out of court. If the case does not resolve, the parties will need to take the case to trial, and a jury will decide the outcome.
The experienced Palm Desert wrongful death attorneys at Nadrich & Cohen can assist you with negotiating a settlement in your wrongful death claim, and if necessary, litigating the case in court. If the case goes to trial, our legal team will zealously advocate for you in court and work to get you the compensation and justice you deserve.
The Deadline for Filing a California Wrongful Death Claim
The statute of limitations, or deadline, for filing a wrongful death action in California is a relatively short time. Specifically, surviving individuals only have two years from the date of the accident victim’s fatality in which to bring a wrongful death claim or lawsuit.
If the survivors do not file their claim or lawsuit within that time frame, the court will bar any potential recovery, even if the family members deserve it under the law. Therefore, act quickly if you believe you may have a wrongful death claim.
The knowledgeable Palm Desert wrongful death attorneys at Nadrich & Cohen can review your circumstances and help you determine whether or not you can pursue a wrongful death legal action. If you are eligible, we can file your claim or lawsuit well within the two-year statutory timeframe and begin advocating for your legal rights, including your right to monetary compensation.
What Damages Can I Recover in a Wrongful Death Claim?
For surviving loved ones to be eligible to recover damages as part of a wrongful death action, they must first satisfy their legal burden of proof. First, they must establish that someone acted unreasonably under the circumstances.
For example, in the case of a fatal motor vehicle crash, the wrongful death plaintiff must show that the at-fault driver violated a traffic law or other regulation that ultimately caused the fatal accident.
In cases where the fatality occurred because of a slip and fall, the wrongful death plaintiff must demonstrate that the property owner owed the deceased individual a duty of care and violated that duty by failing to properly maintain the premises. As a result, the accident victim must have died because of the slip and fall or other injuries sustained on the premises.
Wrongful death claims and lawsuits can sometimes be difficult to prove. This is because the deceased individual cannot testify about the extent of their injuries.
In some cases, it might be necessary to retain an expert to testify in court about concepts such as pre-accident fright or the pain and suffering that the accident victim might have experienced between the time of the accident and their death.
Nevertheless, with the right combination of medical records and medical testimony, a wrongful death plaintiff should establish that they have a right to recover monetary compensation. This compensation typically comes in the form of economic and non-economic damages.
A wrongful death plaintiff can receive monetary compensation for the decedent’s burial and funeral expenses. In addition, the plaintiff can recover compensation for the reasonable value of household services that the deceased individual would provide had they survived the fatal accident.
Heirs can also pursue compensation for loss of benefits or gifts that they expected to receive from the deceased individual. Finally, in terms of economic damages, wrongful death plaintiffs can recover compensation for benefits that they would have likely received from the decedent for the rest of their lives.
Wrongful death plaintiffs might also be eligible to recover various non-economic damages. These damages are not always easy to calculate in exact dollars and cents. The fact-finder, which is usually a jury at trial, will decide what, if any, non-economic damages to award the wrongful death plaintiff. Wrongful death damages can include the reasonable value of the decedent’s loss of companionship or consortium, moral support, guidance, training, protection, and affection.
Beginning in 2022, wrongful death plaintiffs in California can also pursue monetary compensation for the deceased individual’s suffering, pain, and/or disfigurement, beginning at the time of the accident and leading up to the time of their death. Heirs of the deceased individual cannot typically recover punitive damages for the accident as part of a wrongful death claim. However, they can initiate a survival action and recover those damages that are ultimately there to punish the wrongdoer individual or entity.
When it comes to maximizing wrongful death compensation, you need a knowledgeable team of lawyers by your side advocating for you. The Palm Desert wrongful death lawyers at Nadrich & Cohen will do everything possible to maximize your compensation and work to seek justice on behalf of your deceased loved one.
Contact an Experienced and Compassionate Palm Desert Wrongful Death Lawyer about Your Legal Matter Today
The skilled team of local attorneys at Nadrich & Cohen can answer all of your questions and determine your eligibility for filing a wrongful death claim in California. For a free case evaluation and consultation, please call us today at (760) 860-1001 or contact us online to discuss your possible wrongful death claim or lawsuit.