Van Nuys Wrongful Death Lawyer
Life in Van Nuys has never been the same since your wife was killed in a drunk driving accident several weeks ago. The two of you spent the weekends exploring the Sepulveda Basin, sampling the latest offerings of your local craft brewery, and checking out the L.A. area’s other cultural landmarks. But now you don’t do much at all, as you’re still grieving and will be for a while. You’re also angry that the driver who hit you, whose blood alcohol concentration was double the legal limit, suffered just minor injuries. Not that you wish he had died, but it just seems unfair.
You’ll never see the love of your life again but you can seek monetary compensation for your losses. And while it may seem awkward to tabulate the value of your immeasurable loss, a skilled Van Nuys wrongful death lawyer at Walch Law will be able to help you with professionalism and compassion.
The following is an overview of wrongful death claims, which may be filed by the survivors of those killed by the negligence or intentional act of another. We’ll cover the basics, including who has standing to file a claim, damages for your losses, and the value of working with legal counsel.Wrongful Death Claims: Who May File a Claim?
You’ve incurred actual monetary losses as a result of your soul mate’s death, including funeral and burial expenses and lost income. In fact, your wife was the sole bread-winner of your family and it’s expensive to own a home in California. Since you are the spouse of the deceased, you have standing to file a claim. Wrongful death claims are intended to compensate those who have lost a family member or close loved one due to the carelessness (such as impaired driving) or intentional act of another party.
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 have up to two years from the death of your loved one to file a claim. But while you don’t want to wait too long, you also should avoid accepting any early settlement offers made by the defendant or their insurance company. You may not fully realize the extent of your losses until you’ve had the chance to talk it over with a skilled Van Nuys wrongful death lawyer first.
Westlake Village Wrongful Death Claims and Liability
Wrongful death claims often come on the heels of criminal charges. In your case, the at-fault party was arrested and convicted of aggravated DUI and involuntary manslaughter. He didn’t intend to kill your wife, but he violated the law by choosing to drive while heavily intoxicated. Since he owed a duty—or legal responsibility to act in a reasonable manner—to your wife (and anyone else in the vicinity) to drive only while sober and breached that duty, he is financially liable to those left behind, such as yourself.
Although most claims are settled out of court, your attorney will approach it as if it could be tried and will want the maximum amount of leverage for negotiations. Wrongful death claims must satisfy the following elements in order to prevail:
- 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
Even if the at-fault party is found not-guilty of involuntary manslaughter, it’s important to remember that civil cases require a lower burden of proof to establish liability than what is required for criminal guilt. A guilty verdict requires the court to determine that the defendant committed the crime “beyond any reasonable doubt,” while civil liability requires “a preponderance of evidence” (i.e., more likely liable than not liable).Damages for Your Van Nuys Wrongful Death Claim
If you’re not working with a Van Nuys wrongful death lawyer, you may not realize just how much your claim is worth. Also, navigating the legal system while grieving the loss of a loved one is no easy task. Damages, the monetary claims related to the at-fault party’s liability, 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
You’re hurting enough as it is; but things could get a lot worse if you’re unable to pay your bills and facing the expenses related to a loved one’s death. If you need to file a wrongful death claim, contact the experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Gary K. Walch, a Law Corporation today and get some peace of mind. Your case can be worth a lot of much-needed money so do not hesitate to give us a call and get started on getting money and closure today. We are ready to talk when you are.