Orange County Wrongful Death Attorney
Helping You Attain the Closure You Deserve
Have you lost a loved one due to the negligence of another? Though nothing can replace the person you lost, you may be able to receive compensation and a sense of closure if you file a wrongful death claim. At The Soliman Firm, PLC, our compassionate and skilled Orange County wrongful death attorney will help you through the entire process, ensuring that you are your family are able to cover your loved one’s funeral costs, burial expenses, and more.
Who Can Bring Forth a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Orange County?
The state of California provides guidelines for who can bring a wrongful death lawsuit. These parties are as follows:
- The surviving spouse of the deceased
- The surviving domestic partner of the deceased
- A child or grandchild of the deceased
However, in addition to these specific categories, California law provides a few exceptions. If there are parties who might be eligible to inherit the victim’s property upon death (such as parents or siblings), or parties who are financially dependent on the victim (such as stepchildren or putative spouses and children), they also may be eligible to bring forth a wrongful death suit.
If you have any questions about who might be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit, we are happy to provide a free consultation to review your situation and provide you with guidance during this trying process.
What Constitutes a Wrongful Death?
California considers a wrongful death lawsuit to be one where the victim has passed away due to the fault of another party. Because wrongful death lawsuits are considered civil suits in California, the damages are recouped solely in financial terms, which differs from a criminal case where the guilty party would be sentenced to jail time or probation. Click here to read more about what qualifies as a wrongful death lawsuit.
Because of this, wrongful death suits can overlap with a criminal case of the same nature. Therefore, entitled family members are still able to pursue financial compensation from the guilty parties in addition to a criminal conviction if necessary. This is especially beneficial in cases of drunk driving accidents, assault, or other criminal activities that result in a wrongful death because the family can get monetary compensation in addition to pursuing a criminal conviction.
How Do You Preserve Evidence in a Wrongful Death Case?
The most important aspect of gathering and preserving evidence in a wrongful death case is to keep thorough documentation about every expense and financial burden placed on your family as a result of the wrongful death, as well as complications related to emotional trauma and loss of support from your loved one.
Any incurred expenses, such as medical bills or insurance payments, will likely be helpful in establishing your case and proving the financial burden you have been placed under. If you have any questions about whether a document is relevant to your case, do not discard it until you can discuss it with your lawyer to know for sure.
Wrongful Death Laws in California
Each state has its own statute of limitations and laws regarding wrongful death lawsuits, and California is no exception. That is why it is important that you choose an attorney who is well-versed in these laws and stipulations, so they can help you navigate this complicated process and ensure your case is getting filed properly from the beginning.
How Long Is the Statute of Limitations for a Wrongful Death Claim in California?
Just like a personal injury lawsuit, the statute of limitations states that you have two years to file the case in California. In most cases, this timeline will begin from the date of death. Because wrongful death cases can require extensive research, documentation, and legwork before the lawsuit can be formally filed by an attorney, it is important to make contact as soon as you think you may have a case. This will prevent any accidental violations of the statute of limitations and ensure you follow all local and state laws when assembling your case.
How Do You File a Wrongful Death Claim in Costa Mesa?
In order to file a wrongful death claim in Costa Mesa, it is best to meet with a lawyer right away to make sure your claim fits within the guidelines for a wrongful death lawsuit. They will help you sort through the following:
- First, determine if you are eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit in California. In Costa Mesa, wrongful death lawsuits are typically filed by domestic partners, spouses, or children of the deceased, but there are other parties who may be able to inherit the victim’s estate and file as well.
- Second, establish that the death was caused by another party. For a wrongful death case, the victim’s death must have been a direct result of another party. This other party could be a manufacturing company that did not correctly label their products, a pool installer who did not include proper safety procedures, or any other party who had a certain duty to protect your loved one and failed.
- Third, be sure to not violate the statute of limitations. In California, you must file a wrongful death lawsuit within two years of the date of death. Because of how long it can take from contacting a lawyer to formally filing a suit, it is important to get in touch with an attorney right away in order to not exceed this time limit and forever lose your opportunity to bring a wrongful death case.
- Fourth, keep track of the damages involved in the claim. In a wrongful death suit, one must be able to prove the death resulted in losses and damages to the remaining family members, such as being placed under financial burden and losing emotional support and guidance.
If you are unsure about any of these elements, contacting an attorney is the best course of action to determine if you have a wrongful death case. By scheduling a free consultation, you can ensure that you obtain all the information about the potential of your case and can make an educated decision about what next steps to take.
Who Can Be Sued for a Wrongful Death?
When a wrongful death has occurred due to negligence, it is important that the at-fault party be held liable. Below are just a few examples of parties that might be to blame in a wrongful death lawsuit:
- Drivers who are at-fault for a fatal car accident, pedestrian accident, or bicycling accident
- Truck drivers and their employers, in the case of a semi-truck or 18-wheeler accident
- Nursing home facilities and staff, if a loved one died due to elderly abuse or neglect
- Boat operators, if a death is caused by a boating accident
- Property owners or businesses, for situations such as falls due to unsafe conditions or assault due to inadequate security
- Doctors or medical facilities, if the untimely death was due to medical malpractice or patient mistreatment
- Product manufacturers that do not provide adequate instructions or warning labels that result in a death
- Equipment manufacturers who have produced malfunctioning or unsafe equipment
However, even if the party you believe is responsible for your loved one’s death is not on this list, that does not mean that you do not have a case. There are many scenarios in which wrongful death can occur, and a qualified Orange County attorney will be able to help you determine if your situation is applicable.
We are here for you during this tough time. Call (714) 970-4770 to speak with a compassionate wrongful death attorney today.
Every wrongful death case is nuanced and unique, but we are able to outline a general overview of the wrongful death claim filing process:
- Obtain a free case evaluation: Scheduling a free case evaluation with a qualified Orange County wrongful death attorney is the smartest first step you can take in a situation where you might be entitled to compensation due to a loved one’s passing. The lawyer will review your case, then provide you with a detailed overview of the situation surrounding your case and what the next steps will be should you decide to file. Because this consultation is totally free, it is best to go forward with it even if you are unsure if you have a case. By talking to a reputable Costa Mesa attorney, you will be able to discuss it with an expert in order to know for sure.
- The investigation begins: In the investigation stage, the goal is for the attorney to assess the liable parties in the situation and obtain evidence of their negligence in the situation. This will typically involve your lawyer obtaining accident reports, medical records, and the reports of accident reconstruction experts. While this may sound overwhelming, your law firm will be able to work alongside you and obtain all the necessary resources to get all the information possible and create a detailed overview of the accident.
- Damages are calculated: Calculating damages involves gathering a complete picture of every loss associated with the wrongful death so you will know how much you are eligible to pursue. This involves the straightforward numbers surrounding medical treatments, funeral costs, and burial costs, but also involves less concrete figures to compensate for loss of companionship, pain and suffering, and the impact of grief. Your attorney will help you make these calculations to ensure what you are pursuing is reasonable and fair.
- A complaint is drafted and filed: After identifying the responsible parties and working with your wrongful death attorney to determine how much to seek in your claim, your lawyer will draft the document that is filed with the court to set your case in motion. This complaint must satisfy certain requirements, such as stating supporting facts, identifying the defendant, and declaring what compensation you will be seeking. It is important that the complaint is thorough and well-drafted because this is the foundation of your entire case with the court system.
- Litigation process begins: The pre-trial litigation process is one of the more time-consuming aspects of the case, as it involves coordination with the defendant’s legal team to exchange information and documentation surrounding the case. Your attorney will have conferences with defendants and their team to establish details, and court motions may be filed at this stage, as well.
- Negotiations and possible settlement: Though at this stage your wrongful death case is on its way to a court trial, there is room for negotiations and a potential settlement of the case. Your attorney will be able to discuss your case with the defendant’s legal team in order to showcase how well it will hold up in court. Sometimes, if the other attorneys see it would not be advantageous for them to let the courts decide, they will offer a settlement to prevent the case from going to trial. In many cases, the defendant losing the case will require them to pay more than what is demanded, so they will often feel it is advantageous to settle privately. This allows for an out-of-court settlement that is favorable for the plaintiff without having to endure the lengthy trial process.
- Jury Trial (if required): In the event that the defendant’s legal team refuses to make a satisfactory settlement offer during the pre-trial stage, the case will then go to trial before a jury. Because of this possibility, it is essential to make sure that your attorney is comfortable standing up for clients in the courtroom and can present your case with care.
There are many places around Costa Mesa where a wrongful death can occur. While this list is not complete, here are some common places where wrongful death can occur:
- On the roadway: In the case of car accidents or drunk driving accidents, wrongful deaths on the roadway are quite common—in fact, California reported over 3,600 roadway deaths in 2019. Drivers or passengers in cars, buses, or motorcycles are often severely injured or killed in these accidents, resulting in devastation for the victim’s loved ones.
- In a medical facility: Because of the trust we instill in medical professionals, medical malpractice fatalities always come as a surprise. Unfortunately, just because your loved one is in the hospital does not mean they are safe. Situations such as improper action, inaction, misdiagnosis, or mistreatment on behalf of doctors, nurses, or other medical professionals can lead to wrongful death.
- In a nursing home or assisted living facility: Elderly abuse and neglect within elder care facilities are a tragedy and can often lead to wrongful death. If you feel that your elderly loved one died due to improper care at a treatment facility, it is important to speak with an attorney right away.
- While boating: If someone is improperly operating a motor vehicle in the water and your loved one dies as a result, it can be considered a wrongful death case in some instances. In the event of someone operating a motorboat in unsafe conditions, while under the effects of alcohol, or when not sufficiently experienced, serious consequences can occur and result in injury or wrongful death.
- While biking or walking: Unfortunately, when pedestrians and cyclists are hit by cars, they do not have the protection that being in another vehicle would allow them. Drivers are supposed to yield to those who are walking and biking for this very reason, but all too often, they do not. In these cases, the victim’s loved one will often have grounds to be compensated for damages.
- On someone else’s property: While on someone else’s property, whether it is private or commercial, the property owner has a duty to maintain it to a standard that will not cause injury or death. In the case of a slip-and-fall accident, fall down the stairs, or other injury that resulted in a fatality, these incidents can often be determined to be the fault of the property owner for lack of maintenance.
- In a private or commercial pool: California has laws regarding the proper installation and maintenance of commercial and residential pools, including fencing regulations, safety equipment, and exit opportunities. Therefore, if a lack of legality in these elements resulted in a wrongful death, it is something you should discuss with a qualified attorney.
- At a daycare or childcare facility: When parents send their children to school or daycare, they want to trust that they will be safe. However, when staff at these facilities do their jobs improperly or neglect the children under their care, it can result in the untimely death of one or several children and a wrongful death suit might be appropriate.
Wrongful death can occur for a number of reasons and is devastating no matter what the occurrence surrounding the fatality is. If your loved one has died an untimely death that might be at the hands of someone else, get in touch with us and we will help you understand the details of the case.
The purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is to compensate the victim’s loved ones for the support and care they could have expected from the victim if they were still alive. This can include “special damages,” such as coverage of medical bills or living expenses, as well as “general damages,” such as those involved in grieving and the inconvenience that the plaintiff has incurred.
The economic impact of a wrongful death resulting is special damages can include but is not limited to:
- Overall financial support the victim would have been expected to contribute during the remainder of their lifetime
- Medical bills
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Sum of the household contribution the deceased would be estimated to have made for the remainder of their lifetime
- Loss in wages, if there was a time between injury and death where the victim was unable to continue work
The estimated impact damages awarded in a wrongful death case could include compensation for general damages such as:
- Loss of companionship, in the case of a spouse or partner
- Grieving and emotional hardship placed on the family of the deceased
- Loss of parental support and mentorship for children of the victim
- Loss of support for those who were financially dependent on the victim
A wrongful death lawsuit is filed on behalf of the victim, so the parties who are filing the suit must prove that the victim died due to negligence on the other party’s behalf. It is similar to a personal injury lawsuit that the victim would have been eligible to file if they had lived.
To file a wrongful death lawsuit in Costa Mesa, you must begin by establishing four main elements:
- Duty to Provide Reasonable Care: This establishes that a duty was owed to the deceased by the other party to exercise reasonable care.
- Breach of Reasonable Care: The other party did not practice reasonable care, breaching the reach of their duties.
- Damages Were Incurred: In the case of a personal injury lawsuit, this would be the injury in question. In the case of a wrongful death lawsuit, this is the passing of your loved one and the subsequent damages that occurred.
- Causation of Damages: Establishing that the damages were a direct result of the lack of care taken by the other party in protecting your loved one.
Intentional acts can also lead to a wrongful death action, such as an intentional assault or battery resulting in wrongful death. By working with your wrongful death attorney to establish these four elements, you are on the right track to begin your wrongful death lawsuit. If you are not sure who is at fault for the untimely loss of your loved one, a capable attorney will help you sort through the situation and understand exactly who is to blame.
How do I know if I have a wrongful death case?
Without knowing the intricacies of the case, we are not able to say for sure, but we are happy to work with you to go over the details. We will provide you with a free consultation in order to determine if you should pursue a case.
Do you provide a free consultation?
Yes! You should not be expected to pay for a lawyer when you are not even certain you have a lawsuit. You can contact us 24/7 to schedule a consultation with one of our expert wrongful death attorneys.
How much will I be awarded in a wrongful death case?
Because every wrongful death case is so varied and nuanced, we cannot confidently provide you with a figure for what you can expect until we can thoroughly review your case. However, we can guarantee that we will adamantly work to get you the money you are owed in damages and suffering.
How long will a wrongful death case take?
As with dollar amounts, it is difficult to say with certainty how long a wrongful death case will take. The timeline of the case will generally weigh heavily on how reasonable the defendant is to work with and whether they are willing to provide a fair settlement before the case goes to trial.
Why should I hire a wrongful death lawyer?
The laws and stipulations surrounding wrongful death lawsuits are complex and difficult to navigate, and the other party’s insurance provider will often try to take advantage of people who are bringing forth their case without a qualified lawyer to back them up. To get the money you deserve from your wrongful death lawsuit, hiring a reputable Orange County attorney is the smart thing to do.
How long can I wait to file my wrongful death lawsuit in Costa Mesa?
California’s statute of limitations states that you have two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit in the state. However, because of the many aspects of a wrongful death lawsuit, it is best to speak with an attorney as soon as you think you might have a case in order to allow plenty of time to gather information and details surrounding the situation.
Because we have significant experience with wrongful death lawsuits in Orange County, we are proficient in navigating the complications of the legal field surrounding these very unique types of cases. Not only are we are committed to getting surviving loved ones the compensation they deserve from wrongful death suits out of insurance companies, but we also understand that this is a significant tragedy that we approach with the utmost compassion and understanding throughout the entire process.
We are able to stand up to insurance companies to ensure families are not short-changed due to an insurance company’s attempts to preserve their bottom line. Families seeking compensation for a wrongful death suit may be entitled to coverage for loss of benefits, companionship, earning potential, medical and funeral expenses, and more from the guilty parties. By adamantly pursuing the insurance companies on your behalf, we will do everything in our power to provide you and your loved ones with the compensation you deserve.
I can't but praise and recommend The Soliman Firm- Toni G.
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Highly recommend!- Eddie M.
The most amazing law firm- Dawn F.
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In the case of accidental death, it is not uncommon to have at-fault parties attempt to cover up the issue after the death occurs and destroy evidence in the process. That is why it is vital to get in touch with a qualified attorney as quickly as you can following the death.
A wrongful death attorney will be able to launch a full investigation right away, obtaining the necessary photographic evidence, eyewitness reports, and other documentation to make their case. In some instances, your attorney may be able to call forth an expert to provide testimony about the situation in order to prove that the fatality occurred at the hands of the other party, which can help build your case and alert the defendant that your legal team is serious about getting your well-deserved compensation.
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