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Malibu Wrongful Death Lawyer

You and your wife always understood the importance of having a designated driver when you’d go out to parties or planned on drinking alcohol. Of course, no one wants to lose their license over a DUI, but driving impaired is just plain dangerous. Too bad the motorist who plowed into your car head-on as you were nearing your Malibu home didn’t have a designated driver. You and the at-fault driver survived the collision, but your wife wasn’t so lucky and died on the way to the emergency room. Your life will never be the same again, while the drunk driver walked away with just a few scratches.

Life isn’t always fair, but you should file a wrongful death lawsuit against the person whose carelessness ended your loved one’s life. They were arrested for a DUI on the spot and later reports show that he had a BAC of more than 0.24 percent. You’ve contacted a Malibu wrongful death lawyer at Walch Law, although you’ll need a little time to grieve.

Nothing can fix the pain of losing a loved one, but wrongful death claims help you cover the costs associated with their loss. And while it may seem odd to put a price tag on someone’s death, these types of settlements can help you put your life back together, move forward and feel a sense of justice. We’ll discuss the basics of wrongful death claims, including who’s eligible to file them and common claims for damages.

Standing: Who Can File a California Wrongful Death Claim

The term standing refers to whether someone may file a legal claim for a given cause of action. For example, someone who is assaulted by another has standing to file an assault claim. Wrongful death claims are somewhat unique in the sense that the person whose death resulted from another party’s negligence or intentional act is no longer alive and thus can’t file suit. But these types of claims address the pain of losing someone close to you or who provides financial support.

Only certain parties may file a wrongful death claim by virtue of their relationship with the deceased. 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

Your Malibu wrongful death lawyer will be able to help you determine who has standing and how these claims should be filed.

Wrongful Death and Liability

If someone (or a party, such as a corporation or other entity) is liable for wrongful death, it means they owed that person a duty of care. For example, the intoxicated driver who’s actions killed your spouse was negligent by virtue of driving while drunk. They also may be charged with involuntary manslaughter in criminal court, since they didn’t intend to kill someone but still committed an offense against society.

The elements of a wrongful death claim are:

  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.

Through your Malibu wrongful death lawyer, you’ll have to prove these elements in order to prevail in your claim. The plaintiff must show a “preponderance of evidence” to prevail in civil cases, meaning that it’s more likely that the defendant is liable than not liable. Criminal trials require the much higher “beyond a reasonable doubt” burden of proof. In any event, it’s likely that your case will settle out of court which is a much faster way to get things done when an agreeable number is reached.

Wrongful Death and Claims for Damages

When you calculate a dollar amount for your injuries related to a loved one’s death, remember that it’s not about monetizing their death but rather compensating you for actual losses. Some of these are easier to quantify, such as ambulance, funeral, and burial expenses. You may also claim lost financial support or lack of household services. Others are much more abstract but no less important for your claim. These may include things like loss of companionship, affection, and intimacy.

Get Relief from a Skilled Malibu Wrongful Death Lawyer

There’s no way an attorney can bring back your spouse or loved one, but they can help you recover some of what you lost from the ordeal. If another party’s carelessness or even intentional act resulted in the death of a loved one, you have the right to file a claim for damages. Don’t work with just any attorney, call the experienced professionals at the Law Offices of Gary K. Walch, a Law Corporation and get some peace of mind. We have over 40 years of experience helping families in this difficult situation recover for their loss. We are sensitive, responsive and know how to maximize your recovery.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
You guys did a great job in settling my case! Hope you all do well and prosper. Thank you for a job well done. Jackie C.
★★★★★
We had two prior attorneys who were unable to settle our car accident case. We then hired Gary and Robert Walch and they not only got us both great settlements, but personally spent time with us explaining everything clearly. We couldn't be happier. Thank you! A.M. and M.A.
★★★★★
Dear Gary, I just want to thank you for working so hard on my case! I know at times we were a bit difficult, but you did a great job. I thank you and your son for good results. I will pass your number on to any one that I run across who may need a PI attorney! I send you warm regards. Julie B.
★★★★★
Dear Gary, I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate all your efforts on my behalf. The car accident was a very traumatizing experience for me. But knowing that I could trust you and your son, Robert, helped alleviate my fears and worries. Carmella C.
★★★★★
Thank you for all of your hard work and thank you for making it so easy over e-mail for me. I'm a busy working mom of an Autistic 5 year old son and you guys were great. I will definitely recommend your services to family and friends. Edna G.