When your loved one dies due to the negligence of others, such as at the hands of a drunk driver or after being in a dangerous situation on the job, you will be feeling a variety of emotions. However, it’s best to direct your anger into a productive channel by pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit against those responsible for your loved one passing away. But before doing so, you should remember that states, including California, have very specific rules as to who can file such lawsuits, what is considered wrongful death, and other areas that will factor into your decision. To ensure all goes well from the start, hire an injury attorney Newport Beach trusts when your loved one was killed in an accident.
What are Wrongful Death Civil Cases?
When people file wrongful death lawsuits after a loved one dies, these are civil lawsuits where the goal is to not only hold the defendant responsible for their negligence but also gain financial compensation for your loved one’s death. Unlike a criminal case, a civil case will focus only on helping you and your family be compensated for the untimely death of your loved one. In these situations, turn to legal professionals to help with these specialized cases.
Who Can Initiate a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
When a person dies and a wrongful death lawsuit is initiated, it is usually done so by a close family member such as a spouse or adult child. When doing so, the lawsuit is brought on behalf of not only this family member, but also on behalf of all heirs of the person who is deceased. If the deceased left behind a will, the court will usually appoint an executor to the estate, who will then act as the plaintiff when bringing the lawsuit on behalf of all heirs. Since these cases are always complex, rely on advice from a wrongful death lawsuit attorney Newport Beach families know will handle their case with care and compassion.
Wrongful Death Defendants
In these cases, the wrongful death defendant will be the party deemed to be responsible for your loved one’s death. For example, it can be an individual such as a drunk driver, or it could be specific persons at a company and the company itself, depending on the circumstances surrounding the person’s accident and subsequent death. Nevertheless, the defendant in such a case will be alleged to have acted in a negligent or intentional manner, thus having their actions result in a person’s death. Due to the intense fights defendants and their attorneys provide in these cases, make sure you hire a wrongful death settlement law firm in Newport Beach that clients turn to for the track record of success the firm has in these cases.
What are Plaintiffs Required to Prove?
When a wrongful death lawsuit is filed, plaintiffs must prove several elements related to negligence in order to win their case and receive financial compensation for their loved one’s death. These usually include a duty of care, breach of the duty of care, and causation. For example, the duty of care would involve a driver having a responsibility to obey speed limits or not drive a car while drunk. As for breaching the duty of care, a plaintiff must show the defendant breached that duty by being drunk at the time of the accident. Finally, causation involves the plaintiff showing the defendant’s specific actions directly led to their loved one’s death. Since these elements can sometimes be difficult to prove, it is recommended that when your loved one was killed in an accident that you hire a bodily injury lawyer that Newport Beach families have trusted for years to argue your case in court.
Burden of Proof
Unlike criminal cases where the burden of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt, wrongful death civil cases rely instead on what is known as a preponderance of the evidence. In other words, the plaintiff in these cases needs only to prove to a judge or jury that it is more likely than not that the defendant’s actions resulted in the death of the loved one in question. To win these cases, it often comes down to the credibility of witnesses and having evidence of the highest-quality that is overwhelming and almost impossible to deny. Since legal help can be vital in such cases, always consult with and hire a wrongful death lawyer Newport Beach families of those killed needlessly know will protect their rights.
Trials or Settlements?
While you may think most of these cases automatically go to trial, the fact is the vast majority of wrongful death lawsuits are settled out-of-court. In doing so, the family of the deceased is able to avoid the drawn-out and painful process of reliving their loved one’s death in court, while the defendant is often able to settle the case for an amount of compensation that will be more fair in their opinion. Whatever the case may be, it is critical the attorney you have representing you in a wrongful death lawsuit be a skilled negotiator with competing attorneys as well as insurance companies. When your attorney possesses these skills, you are almost certainly able to obtain the maximum compensation for your loved one’s death. Therefore, always discuss your case with a wrongful death law firm Newport Beach that clients know will do everything possible to settle their case in a timely manner and for the compensation they need and deserve.
Though you may of course believe you have a valid wrongful death lawsuit should your loved one pass away due to what you perceive to be the negligence of others, always discuss your case in great detail with an accident injury lawyer in Newport Beach. Once you do, you can then be sure you have hired a wrongful death claims attorney Newport Beach clients know will be excellent legal counsel from start to finish.