The Ins and Outs of Wrongful Death Suits

The Ins and Outs of Wrongful Death Suits

There are many specifics and legalities involved if you decide to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit after a loved one has passed. Knowing what rights you have and what rights you do not have are of the utmost importance and although Internet research can get you far, it might not get you far enough. What you need to do is set up an appointment with an experienced and successful San Diego wrongful death attorney to learn as much as you can about California wrongful death statutes and laws.

In old common law, wrongful death claims did not exist. It was believed that the person’s claim of any wrongdoing died right along with him or her. It has only been in recent years that states have enacted wrongful death laws (tried in civil court, not criminal court), believing that the deceased family is just as entitled to damages as the deceased would have been. It takes personal injury law one step further, to where the injury results in a fatality. As a matter of fact, most San Diego wrongful death lawyers are also personal injury attorneys, with wrongful death as a sub specialty.

California does have a statute of limitations on when a plaintiff can file a wrongful death suit. It needs to be officially filed within two years of the date of death. A wrongful death attorney in San Diego will need time to prepare the case or even investigate to see if you actually have a case, so you will need to meet with him long before two years are up. It may seem like an unfathomable thing to do right after losing a family member, but a good lawyer will be supportive and understanding and not make the experience anymore traumatic than it has to be for you. There are exceptions to this statute as well. For example, if the entity you deem responsible for the death was a government entity, then you have six months from the date of death to file a claim with them. If that claim is rejected, then you only have another six months to file a lawsuit.

Spouses, children, stepchildren, domestic partners and even parents are some of the family members who are entitled to damages won in a wrongful death case. In some cases, even a former spouse known as a putative spouse, may be entitled to sue as well. Compensation amounts can be calculated from medical, funeral and burial costs, as well as whatever income the deceased may have earned if his or her life had not been dramatically cut short.

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