San Mateo Wrongful Death Lawyers
Wrongful Death Information
When a person dies as a result of someone else's negligence, fault
or carelessness, surviving relatives can sue liable parties for this "wrongful
death." This lawsuit, if successful, will entitle the plaintiffs
to collect money for the deceased's lost wages, funeral expenses,
and payment for intangibles, such as lost companionship.
Depending on the situation, many different parties can sue for someone's
death. Obviously, immediate family members, such as the deceased's
spouse and children, can recover money. But other interested parties can
sue as well, including "putative" spouses, life partners, and
people financially dependent on the deceased. In certain cases, even distant
family members and the parents of a deceased fetus can bring an action.
You might think that only the person most immediately and causally responsible
for the death could be sued. For instance, say a trucker ran your husband
off the road and killed him. Obviously, the negligent trucker could be
held liable. But the law allows plaintiffs to cast a rather wide net.
Even a party only peripherally responsible for a death may have to pay
damages. For instance, in the situation discussed above, the trucker's
employer, insurance company, and even the municipal agency responsible
for keeping the roads free of debris could be named as defendants.
Survivors can seek financial damages, such as money to pay for the victim's
would be earnings, loss of benefits (e.g. medical insurance), loss of
inheritance, and funeral and medical expenses. Survivors can also seek
so-called "non-economic" damages - that is, money for intangible
damages, such as anguish and suffering, loss of advice, nurturing and
guidance, loss of love and companionship, and loss of consortium. Finally,
the survivors can seek punitive damages in certain situations, if the
defendant engaged in extremely negligent, reckless, or intentionally destructive
conduct. For instance, nursing homes may be sued for treble (three times)
damages in wrongful death suits involving an abject level of neglect. Defendants can also (in certain
situations) collect for attorneys' fees and court costs for bringing
the legal action.
Getting excellent, timely advice on your rights and responsibilities is
key. Wrongful death law can be complicated. Given that you and your family
are dealing with pressing logistical and financial concerns, you probably
prefer not to add yet another major project to your list. To that end,
connect today with the wrongful death lawyers at Caputo & Van Der
Walde LLP for a free and confidential consultation at (800) 900-0863.