Torrance Wrongful Death Lawyer
Compassionate Wrongful Death Lawyers in the South Bay
For many in Southern California, driving a motor vehicle is just a part of life. However, we all know that in a split second, everything can change. Families can be torn apart by grief due to the negligence or recklessness of just one person. This is incredibly heartbreaking.
If you lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident in Torrance, our compassionate legal team will make sure the at-fault driver is brought to justice. We will work tirelessly to defend your survivors’ rights while obtaining financial compensation to support you now and in the future. Speak to our Torrance wrongful death lawyer in a free consultation today.
What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit seeks compensation for the death of a person caused by the wrongful or negligent act of another person or entity. It is a type of civil lawsuit, not a criminal case, and it is filed by the surviving family members or the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate.
The purpose of wrongful death lawsuits is to provide financial relief to the survivors for the losses they suffered as a result of the death, such as medical bills, funeral expenses, lost income, and loss of companionship.
Advantages of Hiring a Wrongful Death Lawyer
While no amount of money can bring a loved one back, a wrongful death lawyer can help individuals and families recover the maximum in financial compensation for their loss. Our Torrance personal injury law firm has successfully recovered millions of dollars for wrongful death victims and their families.
An experienced wrongful death attorney can help you investigate the cause of the accident and determine the full extent of your damages. A lawyer can also communicate and negotiate with the insurance company, who are often reluctant to pay out wrongful death claims. They also want to offer a lowball settlement quickly to avoid a large payout.
Our Torrance wrongful death lawyers do not fall for the insurance company’s tricks and tactics. We will negotiate with the insurance carrier until we reach full and fair compensation. In the event that they do not offer a fair settlement, we will take the case to court. Our Torrance wrongful death attorneys work on a strict contingency fee basis, which means you do not pay any legal fees until we win your case. Learn more about our services and what we can do for you in a no-obligation free consultation.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit in California?
The family members who can file a wrongful death lawsuit under California law include:
- The decedent’s surviving spouse or domestic partner
- The decedent’s surviving children
- Grandchildren, if the decedent’s children are also deceased
- Other minor children (such as stepchildren) who were dependent for at least 50% of their financial support from the deceased
- Anyone else who would be entitled to the deceased’s property under California’s laws on intestate succession, such as parents or siblings
- The personal representative of the estate can file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the heirs of the deceased person, who may include any of the above family members
What Types of Damages Can be Recovered in Wrongful Death Claims?
Contrary to popular belief, not all wrongful death claims result in multi-million dollar settlements. This is because the amount of compensation awarded in wrongful death lawsuits depends on many factors, such as the age, health, income, and life expectancy of the deceased person. Typically, there are two types of damages that can be recovered in wrongful death cases: economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are monetary losses that result from the death, including:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Loss of inheritance
These damages are meant to compensate the survivors for the financial support they would have received from the deceased person if he or she had lived. On the other hand, non-economic damages are intangible losses meant to compensate for the emotional and relational impact of the loss. They can include:
- Emotional distress
- Loss of companionship, care, love, and support
- Loss of consortium
Is There a Statute of Limitations For Filing a Wrongful Death Claim?
Yes. The deadline to file a wrongful death suit in California is two years from the date of the death. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if the death was caused by a government employee, the deadline to file a wrongful death suit is three years.
How Do You Prove a Wrongful Death Case?
To win a wrongful death claim, the plaintiff (the surviving family member, spouse or representative) must prove that the defendant (the person or entity who caused the death) was legally responsible for the death. This means that the plaintiff must prove four elements:
- Duty of care: The defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased person. For example, a motorist has a duty of care to other drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, etc. while operating their vehicle.
- Breach of duty of care: The defendant breached that duty by acting negligently or intentionally. For example, a driver who runs a red light or texts while driving breaches the duty of care.
- Causation: The breach caused the death. Causation is a link between the defendant’s actions and the harm that resulted.
- Damages: The death resulted in financial and emotional damages for the surviving family.
To prove these elements, the plaintiff must present evidence that supports their claim, such as witness statements, police reports, medical records, expert opinions, and photos. The plaintiff also has the burden of proof, also known as the preponderance of evidence. This means that the plaintiff must show that their claim is more likely to be true than not. A Torrance wrongful death lawyer can explain more about proving liability in a wrongful death claim in a free case review.
What are Common Causes of Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death occurs when someone dies as a result of someone else’s negligence or intentional actions. Some common causes of wrongful death include:
Car accidents are the leading cause of wrongful death in the U.S. In 2021, there were 4,285 traffic fatalities in California, a 7.6% increase from 2020. They can be caused by a variety of factors, including driver negligence, distracted driving, and drunk driving.
Semi-trucks and other large commercial vehicles weigh 20 to 30 times as much as passenger cars. Truck driver negligence or mechanical failures can cause serious injuries and fatalities to passenger vehicle occupants.
Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional fails to provide the standard of care and the patient dies as a result. Some common examples of medical malpractice include misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, and surgical errors. One study estimated more than 250,000 people die every year from medical errors.
Defective products can cause serious injuries or death if they are not properly designed or manufactured. Some common examples of defective products include toys, appliances, and medications.
Motorcyclists are 24 times more likely to die in motor vehicle crashes than passenger vehicle occupants and 4 times more likely to be injured. Many of motorcycle fatalities are caused by another driver’s negligence
Workplace accidents can occur when employers fail to provide a safe workplace or when employees fail to follow safety procedures. Some common examples of workplace injuries and fatalities include slips and falls, exposure to harmful substances, and transportation accidents.
Premises liability occurs when a property owner fails to keep their property safe and someone is injured or killed as a result. Some common examples of premises liability include slip and falls, dog bites, and drownings.
Schedule Your Free Consultation With a Torrance Wrongful Death Attorney Today
Losing a loved one in a motor vehicle accident is the most painful experience in a person’s life. As wrongful death attorneys, we understand the immense pain and suffering that surviving victims go through. Our job is to make the process of filing a wrongful death claim as painless as possible. We will take care of all the paperwork, calls, and negotiations so you can focus on healing. Our Torrance wrongful death attorney is available 24/7 to answer your questions and concerns. Schedule your free consultation today by calling (424) 571-4994 or filling out our contact form below.