Agoura Hills Wrongful Death Lawyer
It could have happened to anyone, anywhere. But it happened to your spouse of more than 20 years right here in Agoura Hills. You were going for a lazy ride toward the Santa Monica mountains, with the top down to get some fresh air, when a truck in front of you hauling steel beams swerved and lost its payload. One of the beams slid off the truck, pinwheeled a few times, and landed on top of your car, killing your wife instantly. You walked away with just bruises and scrapes but now you’re a widow.
The driver failed to properly secure his load, you would later discover, and you just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. You know you can never bring her back into your life but you also are facing financial hardship from her loss. You’ve contacted an Agoura Hills wrongful death lawyer to explore your legal options.
If you’ve ever suddenly lost a loved one, then you know how difficult it is to move on. But you also may have suffered numerous financial losses, too. At Walch Law, we can help with that and more. A successful wrongful death case can provide much-needed financial assistance as well as closure and a sense of justice. Robert and Gary Walch are the team of winning local attorneys you want on your side following a deadly accident. Call them now to learn more.Who has Standing to File a Wrongful Death Claim?
The term standing refers to who is legally eligible to file a particular legal claim. Since wrongful death claims are meant to compensate those left behind due to the death of someone close to them, when a third party is at fault, surviving immediate family members typically have standing for such claims. Sometimes these are connected to criminal acts, such as homicide. In your case, the truck driver failed to follow regulations that would have assured a secure load, ultimately leading to your wife’s death.
Parties with the following relationships to the deceased may file a wrongful death claim:
- Surviving spouse or domestic partner
- Surviving children
- If none of the above apply, then anyone who would be entitled to the decedent’s estate (such as parents or siblings) may file a claim
- Anyone who can prove they were financially dependent on the decedent
You shouldn’t wait too long to file a claim, although the two-year statute of limitations in California should provide enough time to grieve immediately after your loss. It’s best to work with an Agoura Hills wrongful death lawyer who not only understands the legal underpinnings of these claims but also can act as a disinterested party so you can get on with your life.How Liability is Established for Wrongful Death Claims
Wrongful death claims generally involve either negligence or an intentional act. In your case, the truck driver was negligent by failing to properly secure his load, which led directly to the errant steel beam causing your wife’s tragic death. Since you and your wife contributed more-or-less equally to the household, you suffered monetary injury as a result of her death. Most injury claims are settled out of court but your attorney will approach it as if it could be tried in order to create leverage for settlement negotiations. Wrongful death claims must satisfy the following legal elements:
- A human died
- This death was caused either by another's negligence or intent to cause harm
- Surviving family members are suffering monetary injury as a result of the death
- A personal representative for the decedent's estate has been appointed
To find the defendant liable for wrongful death, the plaintiff has to prove “a preponderance of evidence” (i.e., more likely liable than not liable). This is a less-stringent burden of proof than the “beyond all reasonable doubt” standard required for a guilty verdict in a criminal case.Claiming Damages for Wrongful Death Claims
It’s not always clear what your tangible losses are from a loved one’s death when tallying up your damages (which are monetary claims stemming from the other party’s liability). Damages for a wrongful death may include (but aren’t limited to) the following:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost financial support
- Loss of household services
- Loss of companionship, affection, and intimacy
When you’re hurting inside from the loss of someone who was dear to you, it’s not easy to put together legal claim for monetary losses; in fact, it may even seem out of place. But you have the right to seek compensation, which may help you manage your household and put the pieces back together. Get in touch with the experienced legal professionals at the Law Offices of Gary K. Walch, a Law Corporation today and get some peace of mind. We are available 24/7 to talk so do not delay in calling us now.