If you find yourself in the horrible situation of having just lost a loved one, you are probably swimming in grief, sadness, anger, and confusion.And – if your loved one’s death was the result of someone else’s negligence, all of those emotions are much more intense than most people will ever be able to imagine.
You probably are also full of questions.
If my deceased family member’s death was because of someone else’s negligence, does that mean we can file a wrongful death claim?
And if the answer is yes, where do we even begin?
Luckily for you, many of your questions already have answers.
You just need an experienced wrongful death Los Angeles attorney to help you find them.
What Constitutes a Wrongful Death Claim?
This is probably the first question that is going to come to mind when surviving family members have lost a loved one due to another person’s negligence or misconduct.
In the state of California, these are some of the most common reasons that a wrongful death claim is usually filed:
When someone trusts a physician or other healthcare provider to perform a medical procedure or give them advice about a medical problem they are presenting with, they are assuming that their healthcare professional is capable and competent in the medical knowledge they are giving.
But if that person performs their duties in an unprofessional manner, or does something that is clearly unethical or negligent, this is considered medical malpractice.
The definition of medical malpractice is when a doctor or other health care professional neglects to give the correct treatment or advice that then results in a patient’s injury or even death.
Another common reason that a family member may file a wrongful death claim is when a loved one’s death is the result of an accident that has taken place while they were on the job or at work.
Workplace accidents – sadly – happen more often than they should.
Though there are specific rules and regulations around most workplace environments – and certain safety standards in place at every job site – oftentimes employers will overlook these rules, regulations, and safety standards.
Sometimes they do this in an effort to cut costs.
Other times it’s because they are being complacent and not prioritizing their employees’ best interests.
A third – and very common – reason to consider filing a wrongful death lawsuit is when your spouse or other family member died because of someone’s negligence when operating a motor vehicle.
Maybe your family member was a passenger in a car that was being driven by a drunk driver and they died because of it.
Perhaps your family member was hit by someone who was not paying attention to the set traffic laws or was driving in a reckless manner that put other people’s lives at risk.
In either case, someone you love is now dead because another person failed to drive in a way that was responsible, and a car accident ended up taking their life.
This is clearly a situation where a wrongful death claim can and should be filed.
The bottom line is this:
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Once you’ve determined that your loved one’s death constitutes a wrongful death claim, you now may be wondering whether or not you are the person who can actually file that wrongful death lawsuit.
The answer is…it depends.
In the state of California – based on the California wrongful death statute – a wrongful death claim can only be filed by a legal representative of the deceased person.
What does this mean in layman’s terms?
A legal representative of a deceased person typically is defined as someone who is (and will most likely continue to be) financially dependent on the person who was killed because of someone else’s negligence.
Usually this means that wrongful death lawsuits are filed by the deceased person’s spouse.
If your husband or wife died because of someone else’s misconduct or negligence, you are probably justified (and legally allowed) to file a wrongful death case against that other person.
It’s also possible for you to file a wrongful death case if you are a dependent of the deceased person.
This means that – if you are the minor child or another family member who has been financially supported by the victim – then you are in a position of being financially insecure now that your loved one is no longer able to support you.
Who can file wrongful death lawsuits will vary by state, but California wrongful death cases are always filed by either the victim’s spouse or another person who can prove they were financially dependent on the deceased person.
Are There Limits to When a Wrongful Death Claim Can Be Filed?
Another big question you may have has to do with the timeframe and time limitations surrounding the death of your loved one and when an actual wrongful death case can actually be filed.
You may not realize this (most people wouldn’t be expected to!) but there are very clear laws around how much time after someone’s tragic death happens and when a wrongful death case must be submitted to the court in order to be considered valid.
Why is this the case?
Though it may not seem fair to the victim’s family members, California law dictates that you must file wrongful death claims within a certain timeframe, typically two years after the fatal accident occurred.
Whether or not this seems fair to the victim’s family or not, it is the law.
And remember this – you must be prepared to act within that set time frame if you hope to be able to secure the financial compensation you and your family are going to need, and that you are entitled to.
During this period of grieving, it may be hard to make big decisions.
But wrongful death claims take time, and you will want to make sure that time is something you have on your side in a situation where your financial future is on the line.
What Can I Expect to Happen Once I’ve Decided to File a Wrongful Death Case?
There are many questions most surviving family members have surrounding the filing of their wrongful death cases.
Questions like those above…what constitutes a wrongful death case, who can file a wrongful death case, and whether or not there are limits to when the case can be filed.
Once those questions are answered, though, you may want more clarification on what will actually happen once you’ve filed your wrongful death claim.
As you can see, the process to bring wrongful death claims to court is complex and fraught with challenges.
Having good legal representation by hiring the best Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer for your case is going to be incredibly important in your overall chances of winning your case.
Once you’ve found the right wrongful death lawyer for you, it is normal for you to meet with your lawyer and other members of their law firm to discuss the details of your wrongful death suit and begin to devise a plan as to how you and your legal team will move forward.
It is very important that you make sure the wrongful death attorney you choose to represent you is willing to give you a free consultation before you make any decisions.
If the wrongful death attorney you have chosen suggests that you need to pay for your initial meeting, it’s highly suggested you reconsider your choice.
You will also want to make sure that the wrongful death attorney you are thinking about hiring has had experience with the type of lawsuit you will be filing.
Most lawyers who handle wrongful death cases work for a personal injury law firm.
But not all of those lawyers are skilled at handling wrongful deaths.
A good wrongful death lawyer will know which questions to ask you within the first meeting together.
A good wrongful death attorney will also be able to answer any remaining questions you have and reassure you throughout the entire process.
Bottom line? Good wrongful death lawyers will know what you need even before you do!
Do your homework and make sure your wrongful death lawyer is well-equipped to represent you in the way you need them to.
How Can I Find the Best Wrongful Death Lawyer for Me?
Now that some of your preliminary questions have been answered, the only one left is…
How and where do I find the wrongful death attorney that is going to best be able to represent me?
If you are located in the Los Angeles Ca or Southern California area, consider giving the law offices of John J. Perlstein a call today.
From the moment you call our friendly and informative front office staff, we will begin working with you to learn the details of your situation.
We will then schedule a free consultation with a wrongful death attorney in our office – one that we feel will best represent you and your case.
We will welcome any surviving family members to come with you on that first visit to our law firm.
Our belief is that the more we know about your family and the fatal accident that took your loved one, the better we are going to be able to give you the legal representation you need and deserve.
In Los Angeles, you are going to have plenty of wrongful death attorneys to choose from.
And many of those law firms will tell you that they are the best wrongful death lawyers in the area.
But – before you take them for their word, we encourage you to give the law offices of John J. Perlstein a call.
Though time is valuable in a wrongful death case, don’t settle for just any wrongful death attorney.
Let us help you seek compensation for all you have endured. You deserve the best.