Lost a Loved One in an Accident?
San Jose Wrongful Death Attorney Explains Legal Options After a LossThe death of a loved one is always an incredibly painful time for the family and friends of the deceased. If the loss resulted from someone else’s negligence, which is almost always preventable, then the outrage at the liable party’s irresponsibility only compounds this pain and suffering. Adding to this stress, family members left behind must often cope with financial or economic burdens. The cost of final medical bills alone can be tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. If the person you lost was a primary breadwinner, then the loss of income can cause tremendous financial difficulties. While a lawsuit cannot undo the great injustice of losing someone you love, it can help you and your family manage your economic burdens while you grieve. An experienced wrongful death attorney can shoulder the responsibility of the legal claim for you, so that you can concentrate on healing. At the Law Office of Braid Pezzaglia, our wrongful death attorneys offer passionate advocacy to clients in the Santa Clara area. From the time of our first meeting to the conclusion of the case, we will listen with compassion and fight for your legal rights. We can investigate the cause of your loved one’s accident and assist you in filing claims against any and all liable parties.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Wrongful Death?Nearly any kind of negligence can cause a wrongful death, especially if the resultant accident is severe. Even less serious injuries may be fatal without prompt and correct medical treatment. Some of the most common causes of wrongful death include:
- Automobile accidents. Someone following the rules of the road is not immune to motor vehicle accidents caused by another driver’s negligence. Fatal crashes are especially common in situations involving drunk driving.
- Trucking accidents. A poorly-trained or fatigued trucker, and/or a badly-maintained truck may cause a crash. Truck accidents are often especially fatal for drivers and passengers in other, smaller vehicles. Trucking companies are typically liable for such crashes, which means that families usually need strong legal representation from a wrongful death attorney to combat high-priced lawyers for the defendants.
- Plane crashes. While plane crashes are incredibly rare compared to other vehicle accidents, they are also much more frequently fatal. An attorney may be able to help you hold the airline accountable when defects, poor maintenance and/or pilot error cause a fatal airplane accident.
- Improper labeling or defective products. Flaws in consumer products, including medication and medical devices, can cause severe injuries and wrongful death. The manufacturer is typically liable for these defects, though multiple parties may share responsibility.
- Crime. If you lost your loved one due to the crime of another, then you may be able to file a civil claim for compensation outside of the criminal case.
- Workplace accidents. Negligence at work, especially in workplaces like construction sites and industrial complexes, can cause catastrophic accidents. Unsafe work conditions, lack of safety equipment, poor training and defective machinery can all cause a fatal work injury. Family members may be able to recover through workers compensation as well as a third party claim, in some cases.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?After a fatal accident, the law allows only certain parties to bring a wrongful death claim against the responsible party. Each state has its own laws regarding exactly who is eligible to file, but usually include only close relatives. According to California law, you may file a wrongful death claim if you are the deceased’s:
- Spouse or domestic partner. Under California law, domestic partners have the same right to file a wrongful death claim as full spouses.
- Child. This includes adoptive children. Step-children may also bring a wrongful death claim in certain circumstances, such as if they were financial dependents of the victim.
- Sibling, parent or other relative. If the victim has no surviving spouse or children, then more distant relatives may be able to bring a claim. In California, you may file such a claim if you would be a beneficiary of your loved one’s estate by intestate succession. These are the rules that apply when someone dies without a will. According to this system, siblings, parents, grandparents, and even more distant relatives may be able to file a claim.