The death of a family member is a tragic experience under any circumstances, but when the passing is unexpected, coping with the emotional trauma can be especially difficult. Beyond the sadness of losing a loved one, you may also be facing an uncertain financial future due to the loss of income, funeral costs, and any medical bills associated with the fatal injury. Our Temecula wrongful death attorneys can help you pursue compensation for any economic and non-economic damages you’ve incurred.
These cases are complex, and achieving the best possible outcome often requires input from various experts. Our lawyers work with economic, medical, and other experts who can provide testimony if needed to strengthen your case. We can also make sure your claim includes all potentially recoverable damages so you don’t leave any money on the table. To schedule a free consultation, call our 24/7 phone-line at 1-800-GO-HARRIS.
Types of Wrongful Death Cases We Handle:
Our lawyers handle a wide variety of wrongful death claims. There are countless accident scenarios that could give rise to a wrongful death case.
Common examples include:
- Car Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Public, Tour, & Other Bus Accidents
- Commercial Truck Accidents
- Slip and Falls and Other Accidents on Dangerous Premises
- Turo Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Airplane & Other Aircraft Accidents
- Boat Accidents
- Rideshare Vehicle Accidents
- Scooter Accidents
- Train Wrecks
- Other Accidents
What Damages Might Be Available in a Wrongful Death Claim?
Before we answer this question, it’s important to distinguish between survival actions and wrongful death claims. A survival action is brought by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate and essentially seeks compensation for damages the decedent would have been entitled to had he or she survived and filed a personal injury claim. A wrongful death claim can be brought by certain family members of the decedent or by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. It’s common for these actions to be combined and brought to court at the same time.
There are different kinds of damages available in each type of action.
In a wrongful death claim, the following damages may be recoverable:
- Any financial contributions the deceased would have provided to surviving family members;
- Loss of gifts or benefits the deceased would have contributed to surviving family members;
- Funeral and burial expenses;
- Damages for the monetary value of services the deceased would have provided had he or she survived;
- Loss of advice, protection, love, and assistance; and
- Damages for loss of sexual relations may be recovered by the deceased’s spouse.
Calculating these damages can be incredibly complicated since it’s often necessary to account for many decades of lost income and other financial contributions. The testimony of economic experts often plays a critical role in proving damages. Our Temecula wrongful death lawyers know when to bring in economic experts and how to get the most value out of their testimony.
As previously mentioned, a survival action can also be brought by the personal representative of the deceased’s estate.
Depending on the circumstances, the following damages might be available in a survival action:
- Medical costs resulting from the fatal injury;
- Property damage caused in the fatal accident;
- Income lost between the fatal injury and death; and
- Punitive damages may be awarded if the defendant intentionally killed the deceased and has been convicted of a felony.
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim?
As previously mentioned, a survival action must be brought by the personal representative of the deceased’s estate, but there are several family members who may be able to bring a wrongful death claim. Generally speaking, the family members who would be entitled to inherit the deceased’s property if he or she did not have a will may be able to bring the claim.
The closest relatives have priority when it comes to determining who has the right to file the wrongful death claim. Top priority goes to the deceased’s husband or wife, followed by his or her children, dependent stepchildren, minors who had lived with the deceased for more than a year, and then his or her dependent parents.
If none of these parties is available, the surviving parents of the deceased would have the right to file the claim, followed by his or her siblings, grandparents, and then the children of a deceased spouse.
If none of these parties is available, the next of kin has the right to file the claim.
The parties listed above can choose to have the wrongful death claim brought by the personal representative of the estate.
Discuss Your Case with a Temecula Wrongful Death Lawyer
At Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, we have extensive experience helping surviving family members pursue justice and compensation from those responsible for their loved one’s death. We will aggressively and compassionately represent you through every stage of the proceedings. Call 1-800-GO-HARRIS or fill out our contact page to set up a free, no-obligation consultation.
Price range: Free Consultations & No Fees
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