San Diego Wrongful Death Attorneys
Wrongful death claims are very common legal actions in California. Many wrongful death claims are filed after an auto accident, truck accident, pedestrian accident, or bicycle accident, but it is not always necessary for a wrongful death claim to arise from a car crash or other motor vehicle accident. Many wrongful death cases are also work-related or the result of some other sort of horrible accident. Regardless of the material case factors surrounding a wrongful death, it will always take an experienced and aggressive attorney like San Diego personal injury attorney Yasmine Djawadian representing your claim in order to receive a maximum award, especially when the potential exists for punitive damage recovery.
Please call 858.800.4235 to speak with our experienced personal injury lawyers today for a FREE no-obligation consultation.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
When an individual dies in an accident and there is clear evidence that someone other than the decedent is at fault, the next of kin is normally given standing to sue for wrongful death. In most situations, this is the decedent’s spouse, but the standing can also be assigned to minor children, parents, or another close family member. The assignment of standing is generally based on financial dependency and minor status of the children but can be extended in certain cases. Parents can also be assigned standing to sue for wrongful death as well when the decedent is not married or has no children. The settlement effectively becomes the property of the estate, but the monetary damages are then transferred to the proper inheritors after the case is settled.
Can Comparative Negligence Impact Claim Value?
Yes. All states use some form of comparative negligence, and in states like California, the deceased plaintiff’s comparative negligence percentage will lessen the total amount of damages available. California uses pure comparative negligence, which means that even an accident victim who is 99% at fault for their own death may still receive some damages for wrongful death. This can be a very contentious issue when the case is being settled, and all defending insurance company legal teams will be arguing for an increase in the comparative negligence rating of the plaintiffs while trying to lessen the percentage of their clients. This is also where your San Diego wrongful death attorney will negotiate most intensely, especially when the potential exists for a 100% fault percentage for the plaintiff.
Can You Receive Punitive Damages From a Wrongful Death Claim?
Typical damages in an accident case are compensatory damages that are intended to provide financial recovery for lost wages and medical bills as well as determine an amount of non-economic damages for pain and suffering. However, punitive damages are not issued by the court. They are awarded in a jury trial when the plaintiff legal counsel thinks they can win an additional damage award in the trial based on the egregious nature of the crime. Gross negligence is usually central to a successful wrongful death claim. The court system can then limit the amount of the punitive award according to state statutes. In addition, the potential for a punitive damage award can also be solid leverage for your attorney when discussing an equitable settlement.
Anyone in California who may have standing for a wrongful death claim should contact Yasmine Djawadian at our law offices as soon as possible for a complete and timely evaluation of your wrongful death claim potential. We have a strong track record of fighting for our clients to be made financially whole in all wrongful death claims.