San Diego Wrongful Death Law Firm

Money Can Never Replace the Hole Left Behind by the Loss of a Loved One, It Can Ease the Financial Pain that the Family Members Must Endure. We Can Help the Dependents Obtain the Monetary Help They Need.

Money can never replace the hole left behind by the loss of a loved one. However, justice and California law requires a negligent party to pay for all the damage they cause, including the death of another person. Making sure your family obtains full justice means receiving money that can ease the financial pain that the family members are burdened with after someone close has died.

In the event of a fatal accident in San Diego caused by the negligence of another, the surviving relatives of the deceased victim have the right to make what is called a wrongful death claim. In a wrongful death claim, the surviving family is asking for monetary damages for the loss of their loved one.

In the state of California, a wrongful death claim generally consists of four elements:

  1. The death was caused, in whole or part, by the conduct of the defendant;
  2. The defendant was negligent or strictly liable for the victim’s death;
  3. There is a surviving spouse, children, beneficiaries or dependents; and
  4. Monetary damages have resulted from the victim’s death.

Who Can Sue?

First in line are the surviving spouse, children, and surviving issue of deceased children of the decedent.

If these claimants do not exist, then the next in line in order are the person’s parents, siblings, children of deceased siblings, grandparents, and then their linear descendants.

If none of these claimants exist, it can become a bit more complicated. The second group of claimants includes a putative spouse (someone who can prove that they were married to the decedent but not married by law), children of the putative spouse, stepchildren, and parents of the decedent.

When Must I File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Every state has a limit on the amount of time a person has to file a wrongful death lawsuit in court. In the state of California, the time limit, also called the statute of limitation, is about two years, with a few exceptions.

If you do not file your wrongful death action on time, you will be barred from filing it all together.

How Much and What Can I Sue For?

California law governs the amount of damages that can be recovered by beneficiaries.

Family members can sue for compensatory damages, which cover medical costs, funeral expenses, lost wages, grief, and loss of companionship.

Punitive damages may also be awarded in a wrongful death case if the defendant’s actions were particularly reckless and heinous. These damages are distributed among the survivors.

Contact a Wrongful Death Claim Lawyer

Because of the potentially high amount of monetary damages that can be recovered from a wrongful death claim, insurance will go to great lengths to defend themselves from these actions. It is best to have a dedicated wrongful death claim attorney by your side to make sure you get the best representation possible.

Our wrongful death claim lawyers will make sure you get the reparations you need and deserve. Contact our personal injury law office to set up a free consultation.

Brazil Woman Finds ‘Dead’ Mother Alive in Morgue

Rosangela Celestrino was called to a Rio de Janeiro hospital to identify her mother’s body on September 23, 2011, only to find that her mother was still alive.

The mother was initially admitted to the Hospital Estadual Adao Pereira Nunes for a pulmonary infection. Doctors had pronounced 60-year-old Rosa Celestrino de Assis dead, and she was placed in the refrigerated drawer of a hospital morgue for two hours.

“I went to kiss my mom, and she was breathing.”

The mother was immediately taken to the ICU, intubated again, and put on a respirator.

The nurse who first suspected the mother was dead was fired and the doctor who pronounced her dead had resigned. The Celestrino family made a police complaint. If medical negligence is proven, the family could sue the hospital for personal injury. If the mother dies, the family can file a wrongful death suit for manslaughter.

Wheelchair Bound Woman Killed in San Diego Hit-and-Run Car Crash

50-year-old Laurie Susan Whitlow was struck and killed in a severe car accident that took place on May 11, 2012, around 9:05 p.m. at 15000 block of Olde Highway 80, near Flinn Springs Road. According to San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office, Whitlow was struck by a dark colored SUV-type vehicle driven by Anthony Wayne Olsen that was headed east as she tried to cross the road. The driver then fled the scene.

Whitlow was thrown from her wheelchair and into lanes of traffic. Whitlow suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the accident scene. Olsen was booked into San Diego Central Jail on suspicion of felony hit-and-run.

Leaving the scene of an accident is a serious violation under California law. California Vehicle Code 20001 (a) states: “The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to a person, other than himself or herself, or in the death of a person shall immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident.”

The family of a victim killed in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing would be well advised to seek the guidance of an experienced San Diego car accident lawyer, who will stay on top of the official investigation and make sure that the family’s legal rights and best interests are protected.

The family could also file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault driver seeking compensation for medical and funeral expenses, lost future income, loss of love and companionship, and other related damages.

Our law office sends sincere condolences to the victim’s family and friends.

San Diego Wrongful Death Verdict to be Reviewed by California Supreme Court

A San Diego jury awarded the widow of a motorcycle rider and his two children $4.9 million after he was struck on a motorcycle by a truck driver. After the verdict was read, the judge–as is typical–polled the jurors for their votes. However, the judge forgot to get the answers from one juror to two of the 13 questions asked during the polling process.

The juror did agree with the other jurors that the truck driver was negligent and caused the trucking accident. However, the judge forgot to ask him if he agreed with the other jurors on the apportionment of damages. The jury verdict found to the truck driver to be 80% responsible for causing the accident but also found the motorcycle rider to be 20% responsible.

On appeal by the insurance defense counsel for the truck driver, the judge’s mistake led to a reversal of the verdict by the Fourth District Court of Appeals. The Court of appeals held, in part, that:

…the trial court erred in accepting the juror declarations to inquire into and resolve the results of the jury’s decision making process, and also when it made a credibility determination that Santana could not effectively have voted other than 80/20 at any relevant time.

The Keeners, the family of the motorcyclist, have appealed to the California Supreme Court to reinstate the jury verdict.