Wrongful Death Lawyers serving all of Sonoma County
Wrongful Death Claims in Santa Rosa, CA
Losing a loved one in an accident is a severe way to be separated. Family members who are left behind after an accident are often angry, confused, and many times, unable to financially support the family. With the help of a good Santa Rosa wrongful death lawyer, a wrongful death claim may help you to get the compensation you need to support yourself and your family.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit that is brought on when a family member loses a loved one in an accident due to another person’s negligence. Each states’ statutes outline their own definitions of who constitutes as a family member. In California, a wrongful death claim can be filed by:
- The deceased’s surviving spouse or domestic partner
- The deceased’s surviving children
- A person who would be in the deceased’s line of decent if the deceased does not have a spouse or children – for example, the deceased’s parents or siblings
- Non-related family members who can prove they were dependent on the deceased – For example, stepchildren and putative spouses
To be successful, a wrongful death attorney must prove negligence. Negligence is when a person acts in a way that does not exercise his or her duty to provide reasonable care. For example, if your loved one was killed by a drunk driver, the driver would be considered negligent for operating a motor vehicle under the influence, as this is certainly not exercising reasonable care.
Wrongful death cases are brought on for a number of reasons. It can be anything from a construction site accident due to unsafe working conditions, to a surgery that went wrong because of a surgeon’s inexperience. As long as some form of negligence is involved, surviving family members are likely to be able to collect compensation.
What Kind of Compensation May I Receive?
In a Santa Rosa wrongful death claim, damages are similar to those of a normal personal injury claim. Damages are divided into two categories, those that affect the estate and those that affect the family members:
Estate losses are damages that affect the deceased’s wealth. For example:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical expenses stemming from the accident
- Lost income, including future income the deceased would have made had he or she survived
- Property damage from the accident (if applicable)
Losses that affect the family members include:
- The value that the deceased would have contributed in household services
- The loss of financial support in the future
- The loss of love, companionship, support, affection, and guidance
In some cases, you may be able to collect punitive damages as well. Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for behaving in a way that was so grossly negligent it borders on maliciousness. Like all personal injury claims, wrongful death claims must be filed within California’s two year statute of limitations. That means you have two years to file a claim from the date of your loved one’s death.
Contact a Santa Rosa Wrongful Death Attorney Today
Contact the North Bay Legal group today to understand your rights after the loss of a loved one due to someone else’s negligence. We are based in Santa Rosa, but we serve Sonoma County and all other counties in the North Bay area.
Our Santa Rosa personal injury lawyers are experienced in several specialties of personal injury law, including wrongful death claims. We treat all of our clients with compassion and fight aggressively to get them the compensation they deserve. We take pride in being honest and proactive; we want you with us through every step of the process. Contact us today to see how we can help you.