Riverside Personal Injury Lawyers | Accident Attorneys
Riverside Wrongful Death Attorneys
Unintentional accidents are a leading cause of death in the United States. It is often possible to trace these tragic events back to someone else’s negligent or careless decision. If a member of your family has died through the fault of another person, our wrongful death attorneys in Riverside may be able to help you collect monetary damages.
We will take over the logistics of your case so you can focus on grieving. Time is of the essence because valuable evidence might only be available for a few days or weeks after the accident. To schedule a free, no-obligation case review, contact our 24-hour phone line at 1-800-GO-HARRIS.
What Must Be Proven to Win a Wrongful Death Claim?
To prevail in any wrongful death case, sufficient evidence must be presented to prove liability, causation, and damages. The specific evidence your lawyer might use will depend on the circumstances.
Liability can be established by proving negligence, intentional harm, or strict liability. Negligence means the defendant breached the duty of care owed to the deceased, meaning the defendant failed to exercise reasonable care given the circumstances. Examples of negligence include speeding, running a red light, or breaking another traffic law and causing an auto accident; or failing to fix a dangerous condition on a commercial property, resulting in the death of a customer.
Intentional harm means the defendant purposefully killed your family member. When strict liability applies, however, it is not necessary to prove intent or negligence in order to impose liability. This might apply to your case, for example, if your family member died while using a product that had a manufacturing defect.
Causation means the death would not have happened but for the tort. If your loved one was involved in a slip and fall but then died at the hospital due to a heart attack, for instance, the defense would likely argue that the tort was not a proximate cause of the death.
Damages recoverable after a wrongful death may include economic damages, non-economic damages and, in some cases, punitive damages. The types of damages recoverable will depend on many factors including the types of claims being brought (wrongful death claim, survival action, or both) and, of course, the kinds of damages incurred.
There are several factors that could lead to a reduction of the damages award. For example, if your family member’s own negligence contributed to his or her death, the defense might argue that the recovery should be reduced in accordance with California’s pure comparative negligence standard.
How Might Expert Witness Deposition Contribute to My Family’s Case?
If a dispute arises, your Riverside wrongful death lawyer may have to bring in various expert witnesses to provide deposition. The kinds of experts needed to strengthen your case will depend on the circumstances.
For example, if your family member died in an auto accident and the defendant denies liability, your lawyer might depose an accident reconstruction expert. If a defective product caused the death, it may be necessary to depose a product specialist.
Sometimes a defendant will concede liability but will dispute damages. For instance, the opposing party might contend that the plaintiff is overestimating the deceased’s pre-accident life expectancy or inflating the cost of future damages. Here, your lawyer might depose medical experts and perhaps a vocational expert and economist to strengthen your case.
What If the Defendant or Insurance Company Refuses to Settle?
If a settlement is not reached, the next step would be to file a lawsuit and enter litigation. During the discovery phase, the attorneys involved would exchange documents and information to understand each side’s claims and defenses, and perhaps depose percipient and expert witnesses.
If discovery does not lead to a settlement, the next step would be alternative dispute resolution such as mediation or arbitration. Mediation is a non-binding procedure wherein a neutral judge or attorney will moderate a settlement negotiation session. Alternative dispute resolution, however, may be binding or non-binding depending on the circumstances.
If no settlement is reached as a result of alternative dispute resolution, the next step would be to go to trial. Our Riverside wrongful death lawyers will do everything in their power to win a fair settlement without having to go to court, but we will not shy away from a fight if the opposing party refuses to settle.
Speak with a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Riverside Today
At Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, we understand the emotional and financial toll that a wrongful death can have on a family. We take great pride in helping our clients fight for the justice and compensation they deserve. We don’t charge anything for the consultation, and if we don’t win, you won’t owe any attorney’s fees. Contact us HERE or call 1-800-GO-HARRIS to speak with a member of our team.