No experience can upend a person’s life like the sudden death of a loved one. The grief can be crippling, and it can seem as though nothing will ever alleviate the emotional trauma. Our Los Angeles wrongful death attorneys have met with countless families who are going through this very ordeal. We understand the adversity you’re facing, and we want to help you fight for the compensation you need to maintain your financial security in the wake of the loss.
We believe everyone deserves high-quality legal representation after a wrongful death in the family. That’s why we offer free consultations, and we only charge attorney’s fees if we win.
Our office is available to take your call 24 hours a day. Schedule a free case review by calling 1-800-GO-HARRIS.
Types of Wrongful Death Claims We Handle in Los Angeles, California
- Truck, Bicycle, Motorcycle, and Car Accidents
- Accidents Involving Turo Vehicles
- Bus Accidents
- Accidents on Dangerous Premises
- Airplane and Other Aircraft Accidents
- Boat Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Train Wrecks
- Rideshare Accidents
- Scooter Accidents
- Other Wrongful Death Cases
How Soon Should I Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney?
The aftermath of a death in the family is replete with devastating heartache and difficult tasks. In such a trying time, you may find it impossible to focus on anything other than your grief. Unfortunately, the longer you wait to bring your claim, the more challenging it may be to prevail.
Valuable evidence might be available for only a few days after the accident. Eyewitnesses may forget pertinent details, for example, or the liable party might alter or destroy evidence of wrongdoing.
Here are a few specific reasons why you should schedule a free legal consultation right away:
- To Gather Time-Sensitive Evidence: Our wrongful death lawyers in Los Angeles understand how important it is to launch the investigation as soon as possible. We will get to work immediately to gather all available evidence to strengthen your case.
- To Avoid Giving a Recorded Statement: The insurance company may ask you or someone else in your family to provide a recorded statement. But what you say to the insurer might end up harming your case. For instance, you might inadvertently downplay the necessary services provided by the deceased, the role they played as an income-earner, or the relationship they had with other family members. Insurance adjusters know all sorts of strategies to elicit responses that can be used to undervalue claims, so you should let your attorney handle this dialogue on your behalf. The sooner you call Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, the sooner we can take over all correspondence with the insurance company and protect your rights.
- To Approximate a Fair Settlement Value: If it seems clear that the insurance company will have to pay out damages, they might offer a quick settlement before you’ve spoken to a lawyer. But without the guidance of an attorney, you might end up accepting a payout that is far less than what you deserve. At Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, we offer free consultations, so you have nothing to lose by speaking to a member of our team. We can review the facts of your case, perform an investigation, approximate a fair settlement amount, and negotiate with the insurance company. We also have extensive litigation experience and will not hesitate to file a lawsuit if the insurer refuses to pay a reasonable settlement.
- To Avoid Other Mistakes: You’d be surprised to learn the number of people who post something on social media that completely derails their personal injury or wrongful death claim. Unfortunately, publishing sensitive content on social media is just one of many mistakes you could make that would harm your case. Our legal team can provide the guidance you need to make strategic decisions.
What Evidence Might Contribute to My Claim?
The answer to this question depends on a number of factors. What caused your loved one’s death? Did he or she survive momentarily after the fatal accident? Who was liable? Might punitive damages be available?
These are just a few of the questions your Los Angeles wrongful death attorney will ask at the start of the investigation.
Most wrongful death claims are brought against the insurance carrier of the liable party. If this applies to your situation, you will have to prove liability, causation, and damages in order to prevail.
Liability means “legal responsibility.” In other words, you will have to show how the defendant was legally responsible for your family member’s death. This is usually established by proving negligence, though these claims can also be brought on the basis of intentional wrongdoing or strict liability.
Causation means the death would not have happened but for the tort. Proving causation might be straightforward, but there are circumstances when a dispute might arise. For instance, the insurance company might argue that the death happened due to medical malpractice that occurred after the accident.
Compensatory damages are the losses incurred as a result of the tort. Punitive damages, however, are awarded to punish a defendant for particularly egregious misconduct.
Below are a few examples of evidence that are commonly used in wrongful death cases to prove liability, causation, and damages:
- The Police Report: This document should provide insight into what responding officers saw at the scene. It might detail property damage, injuries, the apparent cause of the accident, and include statements from the parties involved and eyewitnesses.
- Eyewitness Deposition: People who saw what happened might be deposed during discovery.
- Deposition of the Parties Involved: The parties involved in the accident might be deposed to get their version of events on the record.
- Cellphone Records: Sometimes a defendant’s cellphone records can provide valuable insight into what they were doing in the moments leading up to the fatal incident. For example, these records might show that a distracted driver was texting just before impact. If your loved one died in a violent attack but the perpetrator alleges self-defense, cellphone records might bring malicious intent to light.
- Video Footage: Any recordings of the fatal accident might help your Los Angeles wrongful death attorney prove liability.
- Photos of the Scene: Pictures of the accident scene may provide valuable insight into how it happened and who was liable.
- Medical and Financial Records: Medical records may help your attorney tie the death to the tort. Financial records can serve as evidence of lost income and benefits.
- Expert Witness Deposition: Various medical, financial, accident reconstruction, and vocational specialists might provide deposition in their area of expertise.
At Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, we always tailor our legal strategies to the circumstances of each individual claim. This separates us from other law firms that take a cookie-cutter approach to representation, many of which only accept cases that seem likely to result in a settlement.
With many decades of collective experience, our attorneys will know the kinds of evidence needed to build your claim. We will also know the most effective legal strategies to employ at each stage of the proceedings. This comprehensive and personalized approach to representation has enabled us to win more than $300,000,000 for our clients.
What Can I Do to Strengthen My Wrongful Death Claim?
From planning funeral arrangements to navigating the probate process, there’s a lot to do after the death of a loved one. With so many concerns vying for your attention, it’s hard to focus on filing a wrongful death claim. Fortunately, a seasoned wrongful death lawyer in Los Angeles can take over the logistics of your case so you can focus on other matters.
Below, we’ve listed a few steps you should take to protect your claim:
- Preserve Evidence: A seemingly insignificant piece of evidence could end up playing an essential role in your case. For instance, if your loved one was killed in an auto accident that was caused by a defective part, it’s important that you preserve the vehicle in its damaged condition so it can be properly evaluated by your lawyer and perhaps an auto part specialist. If any photos were taken of the scene, you should keep those as well, because they might help an accident reconstruction expert piece together what happened in the moments leading up to the incident.
- Write down the Pertinent Facts: Record everything you remember about the incident that caused your family member’s death. This includes basic details such as the time, place, and location, as well as a description of what transpired just before the accident happened. You should also record the contact details of eyewitnesses and all parties involved so this pertinent information is in one convenient place.
- Call a Los Angeles Wrongful Death Lawyer: While you certainly have other concerns to address after the loss of a loved one, the importance of contacting an attorney as soon as possible cannot be overstated. The insurance company and at-fault party may go to great lengths to weaken your case. For instance, the insurer might contact you and ask questions that are intended to elicit a response that can be used to dispute liability or damages. Alternatively, the defendant might alter or destroy evidence of negligence. Your attorney can take over all dialogue with the insurer and gather time-sensitive evidence while it’s still available.
- Don’t Speak to the Insurance Adjuster: Once you’ve hired a lawyer, you won’t have to worry about responding to phone calls or emails from the insurance company; your attorney will handle this correspondence on your behalf. Due to the adversarial nature of these proceedings, your statements to the insurance adjuster could hurt your case. If you provide a statement that brings liability or the value of damages into question, it could reduce your chances of recovering a fair settlement.
- Stay off Social Media: Social media websites provide a snapshot of the account-holder’s personal life. There are all sorts of ways that text posts, videos, and photos can be used by the insurance company to challenge a wrongful death claim. To protect your claim, it’s a good idea to avoid using social media until the conclusion of your case.
- Track Your Damages: Any reasonable and necessary expenses you incur as a result of the death might be recoverable. Be sure to keep all receipts and other documentation for funeral and burial expenses, as well as medical bills incurred and income lost as a result of the injury or illness that caused your loved one’s death.
Call 1-800-GO-HARRIS to Speak with a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Los Angeles
Nobody should have to face an uncertain financial future after the sudden death of a loved one. This is especially true if the passing was caused by someone else’s negligence. Our wrongful death attorneys are here to help you pursue the compensation you deserve. We will do everything in our power to fight for the highest settlement possible, and we’re not afraid to go to trial if the insurance company refuses to cooperate. To schedule a free case evaluation, send us a message or call 1-800-GO-HARRIS.