How Wrongful Death Law Firms Protect Your Rights

A "wrongful death" occurs when a person dies in an accident due to someone else's negligence or intentional laxness. If all parties concerned had followed the proper precautions, the accident would not have happened, and any fatalities that result are therefore "wrongful" in legal terminology. If a loved one has died under preventable circumstances, you should consider hiring a wrongful death accident law firm like The Belli Law Firm.

Any type of accidental death may qualify as a wrongful death — car accidents caused by an unsafe driver, fog-related auto accidents, poorly repaired roads, product defects, physical abuse or medical malpractice.

While a negligent individual may be found criminally responsible for your loved one's death, a wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action unrelated to any criminal charges, usually brought by the decedent's surviving family.

If it can be shown that the surviving family has suffered harm as a result of the decedent's death, state law permits husbands, wives, children or parents of unmarried children (referred to legally as "parties of interest") to file suit against the negligent party that caused the death. Eligibility, however, varies between states. Several states allow individuals such as financial dependents (for example, nonbiological children or adoptees) or putative spouses to file wrongful death suits as well. Some states also permit grandparents or siblings of decedents to bring wrongful death claims.

Who's Liable In A Wrongful Death Case?

Lawyers representing wrongful death claimants are required to legally demonstrate that the decedent's death was a direct result of another person's or party's negligence or purposefully careless or unsafe actions. That individual may have been a co-worker or employer of the decedent or a complete stranger — but always, the party that bears financial responsibility is the person or organization whose misconduct permitted the fatal accident to occur. A wrongful death injury law firm must subsequently prove that the family members of the decedent have been harmed by the death and should receive fair compensation.

Parties of interest in a wrongful death suit may be reimbursed for both noneconomic damages (pain and suffering) and economic damages (medical bills, funeral costs, the decedent's lost income and benefits, lost prospective inheritance, and any other out-of-pocket expenses caused by the decedent's death). These will be distributed to eligible family members. Minor children of decedents may also claim "loss of parental guidance."

Plaintiffs in a wrongful death lawsuit may need to hire an economist to properly calculate the life expectancy and set a numeric value on lost wages and other forms of income. Juries examine the decedent's income at the time of death and potential income in the future. Punitive damages may also be awarded in certain states when the decedent's death was the result of blatant negligence or gross misconduct (in the majority of states, however, this is not the case).

What happens when an individual is harmed in a preventable accident, but does not die? A "survival action" may be brought in civil court. Injured parties may bring personal injury lawsuits to bear on the responsible individual or party. If the decedent lingered for days, weeks or months before dying, that decedent's estate may be reimbursed for pain and suffering.

What To Do After The Wrongful Death Of A Loved One

If someone upon whom you depended has died in a preventable accident that was caused by the unsafe conduct or oversight of another individual or organization, you could be entitled to damages. A wrongful death attorney can advise you on whether it's in your best interests to file a wrongful death suit to recover financial losses incurred by the decedent's demise. There are deadlines for filing wrongful death suits, however, so it's vital to get in touch with a veteran wrongful death accident law firm or personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the accident.

The Belli Law Firm Can Help

If a loved one or friend has died in a preventable accident, the attorneys at The Belli Law Firm can get you the compensation you deserve. We have years of experience with wrongful death and accident-related injury cases. Call the personal injury attorneys at The Belli Law Firm today for a free initial consultation and a review of your case in our Mill Valley, California, office. Call us at 415-579-3136 or fill out our contact form.

We are available to assist those whose loved ones were killed or hurt by car and truck accidents in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Sacramento Valley and the Central Valley, including North San Joaquin County (San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Merced counties) along with South San Joaquin County (Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Kern counties).