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:
- 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.
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 45 years of experience helping families in this difficult situation recover for their loss. We are sensitive, responsive and know how to maximize your recovery.