WE’LL COME TO YOU
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A wrongful death lawsuit may be brought if a person dies as the result of the wrongful act of another person or company. The wrongful act may be unintentional or intentional (negligent or willful). Examples of an unintentional wrongful death include medical malpractice resulting in death and a drunk driver killing a pedestrian. Examples of intentional wrongful death cases are crimes of passion resulting in death (second degree murder) and cold calculated premeditated murder (first degree murder).
It should be noted that wrongful death cases are always civil cases and do not involve the district attorney’s office. However, the person who committed the wrongful act may also have criminal charges brought against them. One does not exclude the other and you do not need to wait for a criminal case to resolve to file a wrongful death civil suit. Restitution to the family is often won in the civil case, not the criminal case. The most famous example of this in recent history was the O.J. Simpson trial where the families of both murder victims won compensatory damages and large punitive damages in a civil trial that took place after Mr. Simpson had been acquitted of criminal charges.
It should also be noted that if a company, rather than an individual, is responsible for the wrongful death of a person, the only recourse available in California is a civil case as a company cannot be tried in criminal court in the United States. This may indeed seem unfair to many families but a sense of justice can often be achieved in civil court as well.
Obviously, wrongful death cases are usually wrought with strong emotion, whether they stem from an unintentional act(s) or an intentional one(s). As such, the best attorney in a wrongful death suit will be sensitive to the raw and not completely processed feelings of individuals suffering from a recent and terrible loss while at the same time taking care of the business end of a lawsuit in a way that takes some of the burden off the grieving family. It can, in fact, be a source of great comfort for a grieving family to connect with an experienced wrongful death attorney.
For the surviving spouse or registered domestic partner, the loss of companionship can be far more devastating than future wage earnings. For a fatherless or motherless child, the loss of mentorship from a loving dedicated parent may be more devastating than the financial support the parent would have provided for the child. An experienced wrongful death attorney will seek restitution commensurate with these enormous losses. If the case is not settled out of court, the attorney will help the jury understand the magnitude of these intangible losses.
In most wrongful death cases, it is obvious who is eligible to file a claim. However, there are exceptions to this. For example, if step children are involved, they may or may not be eligible. Also, in some cases, the parents of the deceased or more distantly related heirs may be eligible to file a claim. To determine eligibility, an experienced wrongful death attorney should be consulted.
There are also statute of limitations to consider in wrongful death cases and this varies depending on whether or not the defendant will be a private individual, a corporation, or both. It will also depend on the type of wrongful death case. For example, a medical malpractice case has a shorter statute of limitation than a wrongful death case involving a drunk driver who kills a child. Therefore, time is of an essence. You should consult with an experienced wrongful death attorney sooner rather than later to determine the time table you have to work with.
If you are seeking the most experienced wrongful death attorney in Fresno, California, please contact The May Firm at (559) 385-2090. We will not accept a case unless we are fully confident we are the best firm for the job. We offer a free initial consultation and we only accept cases on contingency, meaning you do not have to pay us unless we settle or win your case successfully. Our clients are like family and we can help you through the tragedy you have suffered.
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