Encino Wrongful Death Lawyer
Truckers are supposed to secure their loads, especially if there’s any potential for flying debris while in transit. But the truck driver going south on the 101 in Encino while your wife was on her way home from work apparently didn’t get the memo. She was planning on a peaceful evening at home, maybe watching an episode of her favorite Netflix show with a glass of wine, when an unsecured redwood log flew off the back of the truck in front of your wife’s car, smashing through the windshield and fatally bludgeoning her.
You’re heartbroken and lonely without her, and also have three children to care for. You’re too depressed to go to work, you have to arrange a funeral and burial, and eventually you’ll have to figure out how to support your household on one income. Since the driver didn’t properly secure his load, he’s clearly at fault. While wrongful death cases might not always be this clear, the end result is still devastating and leaves a lot of questions and emotions.
You’re considering a wrongful death lawsuit but commercial truck accidents can be quite complex due to the multiple parties involved. That’s why you’ll want to contact an Encino wrongful death lawyer at Walch Law to take on this entire process for you. We have the success rate, experience and personal touch you want fighting for your family during this difficult time. Give us a call today to learn more about how we handle wrongful death cases, how much your case might be worth and much more.Wrongful Death Claims and Legal Standing
Your wife is the one who paid the ultimate price for the truck driver’s apparent negligence, but she’s of course not around to file suit. It’s important to understand that wrongful death claims aren’t lawsuits for the injury of death, but rather the injuries that someone’s death causes to their loved ones and dependants. Therefore, the loved ones have what is called standing in legal terms to file a claim. In the example above, you have standing to file a wrongful death suit.
Certain parties, based on their relationship to the deceased, may file suit:
- 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
The insurance companies involved in the accident may try to offer you a quick settlement before you fully realize the extent of your injuries (such as lost income, emotional distress, and so on), so you’ll want to wait until you’ve had a chance to speak with your Encino wrongful death lawyer first.Who’s Liable for Your Encino Wrongful Death Claim?
An individual or party (such as a corporation) may be liable for wrongful death if they committed an intentional act (such as voluntary manslaughter) or were negligent, as in the case of the truck driver who failed to secure his load. If it’s negligence, then the plaintiff (the injured party) must show that they owed a duty of care to the deceased, such as properly securing their load before driving on the freeway. If the court decides that a “reasonable person” would know (or should have known) that an unsecured load of heavy redwood logs could pose a serious threat to others, then they’d find the defendant liable for negligence.
To prevail in your wrongful death claim, you’ll also have to prove the following 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.
As in other injury claims, the plaintiff must prove the existence of a “preponderance of evidence,” which means that it’s more likely that the defendant is liable than not liable. If there’s some doubt, but the evidence points more toward their liability, then that’s enough. Criminal trials require a much higher burden of proof (“beyond a reasonable doubt”) since they may be facing the loss of liberty, or prison time. Your case will most likely settle out of court, but your Encino wrongful death lawyer will approach it as if it could be tried.Calculating Claims for Damages- How Much is Your Case Worth?
The term damages refers to the monetary amount you’re claiming for your injuries (and those of your children). These may include, but aren’t limited to:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost financial support
- Loss of household services
- Loss of companionship, affection, and intimacy
Nothing can bring back your loved one. But when you’ve suffered such a devastating loss because of someone else’s negligence (or intentional act), you have the right to seek compensation. Don’t go it alone; contact the experienced professionals at the Law Offices of Gary K. Walch, a Law Corporation. Whether you want to meet in person, at your house or just chat on the phone- we are here for you when you are ready.