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Los Angeles Wrongful Death Lawyer

Whether it’s a pileup on the 405, an errant baseball bat at Dodger Stadium, or some other mishap, the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles can sometimes lead to injury. If it’s another party’s fault, you can file a lawsuit to recover compensation for your injuries (referred to as damages). But sometimes injuries are so severe that they result in a death- either immediate or delayed. In these unfortunate events, it’s the deceased party’s grieving loved ones who suffer injuries. If someone is killed through the negligence or intentional act of another party, their spouse or close loved ones may recover damages through a wrongful death claim but you need to take action now.

No matter the extent of your injuries, it’s always a good idea to contact an attorney when it’s the fault of another party. But when someone’s negligence or intentional act takes a loved one’s life, it’s absolutely crucial to get in touch with a skilled Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer. They can’t bring your beloved back, but they can help soften the blow by helping you get monetary compensation for your loss. The money from a wrongful death case can not only help replace the contribution your now deceased loved one provided for your family but can also provide a sense of justice and closure in the wake of a tragedy. At Walch Law, we know that you are grieving and talking to a lawyer is not on the top of your list but it needs to be. Your conversation with us will go over how these cases work, our professional opinion of your case and much more. You can come to us, we can come to you or we can do it over the phone. Let us help you today.

Below we’ll review the basics of wrongful death claims, how liability is determined, and the types of injuries for which you can claim damages.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Obviously, the deceased party is not the one who has standing to file a lawsuit for their own death. Keep in mind that wrongful death addresses the pain of losing someone close to you or who provides financial support. Only certain parties (via their relation to the deceased party) may file a wrongful death claim. These include:

  • 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 Death of a Loved One: Liability for Wrongful Death

As with other injury claims, you have two years from the date of your loved one’s death in which to file a wrongful death claim. This may be extended in cases where the culprit wasn’t determined until later (for instance, a murderer is convicted several years later after several setbacks and appeals, establishing the basis for your claim).

The plaintiff (injured party) must prove the existence of the following elements in order to prevail in their claim:

  1. A human died
  2. This death was caused either by another's negligence or intent to cause harm
  3. Surviving family members are suffering monetary injury as a result of the death
  4. A personal representative for the decedent's estate has been appointed.

Your Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer will need to prove to the court (or the other party’s attorneys in the case of a settlement) that will put forth an argument that the death would not have occurred had the defendant exercised due care (if negligence) or had they not committed an intentional act that led to the death.

In civil cases, the plaintiff need only show a “preponderance of evidence,” meaning that it’s more likely that the defendant is liable than not liable; whereas criminal trials require the much higher “beyond a reasonable doubt” burden of proof.

Determining Damages for Unlawful Death Claims

Anyone who’s experienced the loss of a beloved spouse, partner, or parent will tell you that it’s impossible to “calculate” the value of their loss. But since civil injury claims only offer monetary compensation for injuries-- that’s the role of your Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer. Some damages will make more sense, such actual costs related to their death and lost wages. But others are just a monetary approximation of more abstract losses. Damages commonly claimed in wrongful death claims include the following:

  1. Funeral and burial expenses
  2. Loss of future income
  3. Loss of financial support
  4. Loss of household services
  5. Loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, moral support, etc.

All injuries, including the pain of a lost loved one, have a way of affecting multiple areas of our lives, often in surprising ways. So each case will differ accordingly. In any event, it’s best to speak with an attorney to get a full assessment of your potential damages before accepting an early settlement offer.

Get Some Relief: Contact a Los Angeles Wrongful Death Lawyer Today

Things won’t be the same as they were before the tragic incident that took your loved one. But you do have the right to seek monetary compensation for their loss when it’s someone else’s fault. Talk to the experienced legal professionals at the Law Offices of Gary K. Walch, a Law Corporation today. We have the experience you want on your side. We are here to talk when you are ready.

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