MOST COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS OF CALIFORNIA WRONGFUL DEATH ATTORNEYS

What actually is a wrongful death claim?

 A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit that alleges that the person who was killed or the decedent died as a result of the negligence stemming from a third party or defendant.   The surviving dependents of the decedent  (victim)  and/ or beneficiaries may be entitled to monetary compensation/damages as a result of the defendant’s negligent conduct or behavior.

If you reside in Northern California or anywhere in California and believe that you may have a valid claim for the wrongful death of a family member, friend or relative, please do not hesitate to contact Michael A. Fiumara at Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC to speak directly with an experienced Northern California wrongful death attorney about all of the requirements necessary for pursuing a wrongful death claim in California.

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What exactly constitutes a wrongful death claim?

In general, the decedent’s death must be caused in part or in whole, by the behavior or conduct of the defendant or defendants.  The defendant usually needs to be negligent or at fault and that is determined by specially applied rules in certain cases.  Product liability cases may be treated differently than a strict liability related injury case.  In addition, there must be a surviving spouse, child, other legal dependents, or other affected relatives/heirs.  These damages must be related to and arise from the victim’s death.

What kinds of damages can you expect to recover in a wrongful death lawsuit or claim?

Here is a list of the following recoverable damages in a wrongful death lawsuit depending upon your case:

1.            Any medical and funeral expenses related to the decedent’s death.

2.            Loss of the victim’s anticipated future earnings which will be calculated until the time of either retirement or death.

3.            The loss of benefits caused by the victim’s death such as pension and medical coverage.

4.            The loss of what is commonly referred to loss of consortium which constitutes the loss of care, protection, and companionship missed by all of the survivors and beneficiaries.  Under common law, a wife will have the loss of companionship, love and sexual relations and that would be the same for the husband if the wife were killed.

5.            Under certain circumstances, in addition to compensatory damages, juries may add punitive damages to the recovery based upon the egregiousness of the defendant’s conduct or behavior.

The above mentioned summaries are not intended to serve as a substitute for the personal and tailored advice of the attorney that you choose to represent you.  There is no substitute for the  direct in person question and answer dialogue which takes place between an attorney and the client.  Specific legal issues, concerns, and conditions also require the advice of appropriate legal professionals and that’s where Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC excels.  We are here to serve you and we fight hard for our clients.

How long will my wrongful death claim take?

Please keep in mind that each case is different and that varies upon its complexity and how much cooperation we receive from the insurance adjustors, attorneys and how long the investigation will take to do an excellent and thorough job.  However, be assured that once our attorneys begin working on a case we communicate  at every step of the way with our clients to help them understand the process.  We will be happy to explain the reason to file a lawsuit sooner rather than later, if that’s the case.  We will let clients know when the defendants are served and when they respond in the discovery process.  There can be a number of settlement negotiations along the way and we communicate with the client to keep him or her abreast at all times.   Mediation and/or arbitration are sometimes considered good alternatives to a  long, protracted and expensive trial but that will depend upon each particular case.  Lastly, some courtrooms are more crowded than others so that could add to the length of the time line.

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Why speak with an experienced attorney?

Within the tragedy of a wrongful death, a family may find some compensation for their loss.  However, those monetary awards can never replace the loss of a loved one, but they can help to ease the burden of continuing on without them.  Oftentimes, wrongful death cases can be very complicated cases to pursue, therefore, a skilled attorney who can compile the necessary evidence and call effective experts and witnesses to testify “can make all the difference” in winning or losing such a lawsuit.  It is incumbent upon you to speak with a local attorney who is experienced in wrongful death claims and gets the compensation that you deserve—“the right attorney makes all the difference”, so please call us for a free consultation 24/7.

Please feel free to contact us at either of our two convenient offices in Northern California for your FREE and CONFIDENTIAL consultation in the event one of your family friends, or relatives becomes a victim of a wrongful death claim.

We can be reached 24/7 in Santa Rosa at (707) 571-8600 or in San Rafael at (415)492-4507.

We would be happy to meet with you and your family for a free, confidential consultation at your home, in the hospital on evenings or weekends.  Our motto is that “the right attorney makes all the difference.”

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