Oakland Wrongful Death Attorney
Losing a loved one due to the negligent actions of another individual or entity puts incredible burdens on families. Not only do they have to deal with the emotional toll, but the financial challenges can become overwhelming. At Milanfar Law Firm, PC, we are here to help if you need an Oakland wrongful death attorney by your side. Our compassionate team understands how to help families get through this, from filing the initial claim against the other party all the way through to a trial if one becomes necessary.
Choose Milanfar Law Firm, PC for Compassionate Assistance
When you and your family are going through a tragic period after losing a loved one and need legal assistance, Milanfar Law Firm, PC is here:
- We have more than 20 years of experience handling complex injury and wrongful death claims throughout California.
- Our team believes in a personalized approach to working with clients, which means you will never be left in the dark concerning your case.
- We practice innovative trial strategies, including the use of the latest technology for trial presentations. We want to make sure you are best positioned to recover maximum compensation.
What is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death claims can arise when one individual loses their life because of the misconduct of another person or entity in California. What is classified as “misconduct” can include various acts of intentional harm, negligence, or carelessness (Code of Civil Procedure 377.60).
Common Causes of Wrongful Death Cases
The definition of wrongful death can be confusing and is not very specific. It helps to look at some of the most common causes of wrongful death in Oakland and the surrounding areas of California. This includes:
- Vehicle accidents
- Commercial truck accidents
- Pedestrian or bicycle accidents
- motorcycle accidents
- Defective products
- Property owner negligence
- Nursing Home Abuse Or Neglect
- Intentional acts of violence (physical assaults, stabbings, shootings)
This is certainly not a complete list of the ways that wrongful death claims can arise in Oakland, and if you have any questions about your particular situation, we encourage you to reach out to an attorney for a free consultation as soon as possible.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in California?
Code of Civil Procedure 377.60 lays out which parties are allowed to file a wrongful death claim in California. In this state, the law specifically says that the following individuals are allowed to file a wrongful death claim in civil court:
- Spouse of the deceased
- Surviving children of the deceased
- Grandchildren of the deceased if their parent is deceased
In the event there is no surviving individual in the line of descent, the wrongful death claim can be brought by any person who would have been entitled to the deceased’s property through intestate succession. This can include the deceased’s parents, siblings, or any other individual dependent on them at the time of their death.
Other individuals may be able to file a lawsuit, but only if they can show that they were financially dependent on the deceased. This can include a putative spouse, children a person has with a putative spouse, stepchildren, parents of the deceased, and legal guardians of the deceased.
Compensation Available for Beneficiaries
Beneficiaries may be able to recover various types of compensation if their claim is successful. The damages available for a wrongful death claim include both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages revolve around calculable losses that the beneficiaries are likely to endure as a result of the untimely death, including:
- Financial support the deceased would have provided had they survived
- Loss of any benefits or gifts the deceased would have provided their family throughout their lifetime
- Funeral and burial expenses
- The reasonable dollar value of household services the deceased would have provided
Non-economic damages revolve around less calculable losses. However, even though these are more immeasurable, they are equally as important as the economic damages mentioned above. Non-economic damages seek to provide compensation for:
- Loss of the deceased’s companionship, assistance, protection, moral support, and affection
- Loss of intimacy on behalf of a spouse or partner of the deceased
- Loss of guidance the deceased would have provided had they survived
How Much Compensation is Available?
The total amount of compensation surviving family members and an estate receive will vary depending on the facts related to each particular wrongful death claim. We encourage you to speak to your attorney to get an understanding of how much you may receive if your claim is successful. Some factors that can influence the total settlement or jury verdict amount for an Oakland wrongful death claim include:
- The age of the deceased
- The occupation and education of the deceased
- The income and expected future income of the deceased
- Whether or not there was any shared fault for the incident
- Insurance policy monetary limitations
How Long do You Have to File a Claim?
Wrongful death claims in California must be filed within two years from the date the death occurred. In the event this civil action is not initiated within two years from the date of death, it is unlikely that the beneficiaries will be able to recover any compensation at all. Additionally, if there are any insurance carriers involved in compensation, then the company will have its own reporting deadline you need to be aware of.
What is a Survival Action?
Survival actions are separate civil actions often filed at the same time as a wrongful death claim, though this claim can be filed separately. These actions allow the estate of the deceased to file a lawsuit for losses the deceased experienced after their injury but before their death. In other words, this is similar to a personal injury lawsuit an individual would have been able to file against the at-fault party had they lived. The difference is that the estate is filing the claim instead.
Damages available for a successful survival action claim include, but are not limited to, medical bills the deceased experience before their death, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. Additionally, punitive damages are recoverable through a survival action under California state laws (even though they are not available through a wrongful death claim).
If you are confused about whether or not to file a civil wrongful death or survival action claim, we encourage you to reach out to a skilled attorney who can help walk you through this process. You may very well be able to file both actions in conjunction with the personal representative of the estate.
How To Prove Liability in an Oakland Wrongful Death Case?
Determining liability after a wrongful death occurs is challenging, and we strongly encourage working with an attorney very soon after the death occurs. An Oakland personal injury attorney can get involved quickly and begin an investigation into the incident. A prompt investigation can help preserve any available evidence and continue an investigation to recover any additional evidence that may be available.
Every wrongful death claim is different, so the types of evidence needed for one type of claim will likely look different than the types of evidence needed for a separate type of claim, even for similar types of incidents. The ultimate goal of wrongful death evidence is to show that the alleged negligent party owed a duty of care to the deceased individual and that they breached their duty of care in some way. It needs to be shown that the breach of duty led to the injuries that caused the death.
Some of the types of evidence that can be used to help prove liability for an Oakland wrongful death claim include the following:
- Photograph taken at the scene of the incident
- Video surveillance footage of the actual incident or moments leading up to it
- Company training or maintenance records
- Statements from our witnesses or those involved
- Personnel records
- Vehicle black box data
- Mobile device data
An experienced wrongful death lawyer will understand the types of evidence they need to have a better chance of success, and they will pursue this evidence on your behalf. Your attorney will organize the evidence in a logical way for the insurance carriers or, if the case calls for it, a personal injury trial jury.
How Much Does an Attorney Cost?
At Milanfar Law Firm, PC, we handle wrongful death claims in Oakland on a contingency fee basis. This means that our clients never worry about paying any legal fees until after we successfully recover compensation for their losses. In the event we do not win, our clients pay absolutely nothing in legal fees. We also handle all upfront and out-of-pocket costs as the case proceeds forward. The final legal fees, should we win the case, will be an agreed-upon percentage of the settlement or jury verdict received.
Call an Oakland Wrongful Death Attorney Today
If you have lost a loved one due to the negligent actions of another individual or entity in the Oakland area, turn to the team at Milanfar Law Firm, PC for help today. We have extensive experience handling complex wrongful death and injury claims throughout California, and we want to help make sure your family receives the closure and compensation needed. When you need an Oakland wrongful death attorney, you can reach us for a free consultation of your claim by filling out our contact form or calling us at (925) 433-6003.