Newport Beach Personal Injury Attorneys | Accident Lawyers
Newport Beach Wrongful Death Attorneys
The loss of a child, spouse, or parent is one of the most traumatic events a person can experience. This is particularly true if the death was sudden and could have been prevented. Our wrongful death attorneys in Newport Beach understand what you’re going through, and we are ready to help you pursue monetary damages from the liable party.
No two wrongful death claims are exactly alike, so it is important that you hire a law firm that has extensive experience and a track record of success in these cases. At Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, we have won substantial settlements and verdicts in wrongful death cases of varying complexity. To speak with a member of our team about your particular situation, call 1-800-GO-HARRIS for a free case assessment.
What Is a Survival Action?
While a wrongful death claim is filed to seek damages incurred by surviving family members, a survival action is brought to seek damages incurred by the deceased between the fatal accident and their death. For example, if your family member received emergency medical care, the cost of that care might be recoverable. The survival action can also account for property damage and any income lost from the time of the injury to your family member’s death.
In some scenarios, it is also possible to recover punitive damages in a survival action. A punitive award may be available if the deceased survived at least momentarily after the accident and the defendant acted with malice, oppression, or fraud. Even if your family member died immediately, it may still be possible to collect punitive damages if the killing was intentional and the offender has been convicted of a felony.
What Does Vicarious Liability Mean?
Vicarious liability is a standard for imposing liability on a party who was not directly involved in a tort. For instance, if your family member was killed by the negligence of a truck driver, you may be able to hold the motor carrier vicariously liable. Generally speaking, employers can be held vicariously liable for the negligence of employees who are acting within the course and scope of their employment.
Because of California’s joint and several liability law, it is often strategically advisable to name the employer of the liable party in your claim. In fact, your Newport Beach wrongful death lawyer will try to identify any party whose negligence may have contributed to the fatal accident.
Joint and several liability means the defendants are jointly liable for economic damages but severally liable for non-economic damages. This is important in wrongful death cases because the damages incurred tend to be significant. For example, it may be possible to obtain compensation for many decades of lost financial contributions and services; however, your family’s recovery might be limited by the amount of insurance coverage available. Identifying multiple liable parties may increase the chances of collecting the full compensation you deserve since there might be more insurance policies in play or more defendants with significant assets.
What If My Deceased Family Member Played a Role in Causing the Accident?
According to wrongful death data compiled by Emerson Straw, motor-vehicle accidents and falls are two of the most common causes of unintentional injury deaths. In both scenarios, it is possible for the victim to be at least partially liable. Even if your family member died in a different kind of accident, you can expect the insurance adjuster to investigate whether his or her own negligence was a contributing factor.
If it turns out that the victim shared liability, your family’s financial recovery might be reduced by the decedent’s percentage of fault. For instance, if the decedent was 15 percent liable and the total damages amount to $100,000, it would be possible to recover up to $85,000.
Just because the insurance company tries to use the comparative negligence defense doesn’t mean it will work. Your Newport Beach wrongful death lawyer can conduct an investigation to find out how the accident happened and what role, if any, your family member played in causing it. Even if his or her negligence was a contributing factor, your lawyer can try to minimize the percentage of fault imposed on him or her in order to maximize your family’s potential recovery.
Contact Our Office for a Free Consultation with a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Newport Beach
No amount of money can undo the grievous tragedy of losing a family member in a sudden accident. But by taking legal action, it may be possible to recover the funds needed to avoid serious debt and maintain financial security.
Our lawyers can review the facts of your case and help you make strategic decisions. We won’t let the insurance company take advantage of you. Call 1-800-GO-HARRIS or message us online to arrange a free consultation.