The death of a loved one is of the most difficult trials any of us will have to endure. There are no words to describe the pain of loss that you’re currently enduring.
In additional to dealing with the extreme emotional toll, you might also have to deal with the stress and financial burden of planning a funeral or paying medical expenses. If someone else caused the death of your loved one, you might be able to seek restitution from the party at fault.
Although you’re undoubtedly struggling, speaking with an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible is important to preserve your rights to hold the other party accountable.
Wells Call is here to help you through these difficult times. We offer free consultations so that you can speak with actual attorney about your situation. We will put together a plan of action and do all the heavy lifting on your case so that properly respect the life of the loved one you lost.
Although no amount of money will ever bring your loved one back, we will hold the responsible party accountable to the fullest extent of the law. It may seem odd to pursue financial remedies, but unfortunately, the only way that many insurance companies or business learn to change their behavior is by hitting them in their pocketbook.
Many people wonder ‘what am I entitled to recover in a wrongful death case?’ Typically, you may seek wrongful death damages for:
However, it is important to note that if your case went to trial, a jury would not be allowed to consider your grief or anguish, or financial situation at the time of your loved one’s death.
Only certain individuals will have the right to seek damages from a responsible party. Only individuals who have ‘standing’ will be able to seek damages in a wrongful death case. ‘Standing’ is a legal term that means you have enough case to be able to ‘stand’ before a court and advocate your injury.
In California, you typically must be related to the one you lost. For example, you typically must be a surviving spouse, partner, child, or a relative that would be entitled to inherit property from the deceased. If you relied on the deceased for financial support, you may also have standing.
By speaking with a wrongful death attorney at Wells Call, you’ll be able to determine who has standing for the loss of your loved one.
The term ‘negligence’ is used a lot in the legal world. It essentially means that someone acted, or failed to act, in a way that was reasonably safe. Volumes have been written on the topic of negligence, but it simply means that someone did something, or didn’t do something in a safe manner.
If this negligence was a substantial factor in causing the loss of your loved one, then you will probably be able to seek damages from the responsible party. An experienced attorney at Wells Call will be able to perform the research and investigation necessary to document the responsible party’s negligence.
Typically, most wrongful death cases occur as the result of:
If you searched for some combination of ‘CACI’ and ‘wrongful death,’ then you’re probably looking for the California Civil Injury Instructions (CACI) regarding a wrongful death matter.
Economic damages refer to damages that can be reasonable estimated or calculated as you’ll see below. CACI Section 3921 provides the following in economic damages (note – decedentis the person who wrongfully passed away and plaintiffis a person with standing, seeking damages):
These damages are more objective and can be reasonably estimated via damage models and net-present value calculations. If those terms don’t make sense to you, don’t worry, you’re attorney should know what they mean.
Non-economic damages are much more subjective and can vary greatly depending on the relationship you had with the deceased, how the person died, their age and health, how many children they left behind, if they had a spouse, and if the case goes to trial, the jury. CACI Section 3921 provides the following in non-economic damages:
The instructions also state “No fixed standard exists for deciding the amount of non-economic damages. You must use your judgment to decide a reasonable amount based on the evidence and your common sense.”Juries can be wildcards and decide to award very generously or not so generously.
After we’ve taken your case typically, we proceed as follows:
We want to take care of this right away so that evidence is not lost or destroyed. We may need to hire outside experts or consultants to assist in the investigation.
We also like to create a video documenting the relationship that you had with the loved one you lost. This can be as simple as a photo montage or could include yourself, and others, speaking about the deceased.
This involves us getting all relevant information from all the parties involved. Once we have gathered all the available evidence, and have processed who we believe are at fault, we’ll sort through it and prepare what we call a ‘demand package.’
We’ll make a formal demand by presenting the evidence to the party or parties we feel are responsible. If we can negotiate a settlement at you feel is fair, then we will. If we cannot, then the next step is litigation.
If we need to litigate and proceed to a jury trial, we will aggressively represent you and make sure that your voice is heard.
Most of our research and effort will go into creating legal arguments that demonstrate why the other party is responsible. Sometimes, this is very straight forward, but many times this requires a fair amount of effort.
As you can see, wrongful death matters can be extremely complex and difficult to navigate. If you’ve suffered the loss of a loved one, please don’t try to fight alone. Hire a local, experienced attorney that will help you get the best result possible. Call us at 707-426-5300 or contact us online.