In Wrongful Death Claims, How Much Can I Collect?

May 24, 2019

wrongful deathThere is a wide variety of scenarios in which a wrongful death claim standing can be assigned to a family member or a legal representative of a decedent estate. While some states only assign standing to sue for wrongful death to the primary estate, California legislators have realized the surviving immediate family is impacted as well as the victim. This is especially true when the victim leaves behind minor dependent children who could lose everything they have because of the fact. It is important to have experienced and aggressive legal representation like Orange County wrongful death attorney Winthrop Law Group when a claim is available because life goes on for the family, and they only have one opportunity for civil financial justice.

Claimable Damages

The primary elements of a personal injury lawsuit that are also allowable in California under a wrongful death legal action. They include specific damages for:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Future wages
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of consortium

Damage Determinations

The first elements of a wrongful death are the specific or “special” compensatory damages that carry definitive dollar amounts. These are financial recovery for all medical bills and funeral costs as well as a calculation for lost wages when the victim does not die immediately. Future wages can also be included for dependent children that would have provided financial resources for support until they reach the age of eighteen. The real value of the claim in making a family whole after the fact often comes when loss of consortium is calculated for future impact on the family. Standing to sue is typically assigned first to a spouse, but dependent children from a former marriage or relationship also have standing for a wrongful death claim as well when certain factors are present and provable.

How Attorneys Can Impact Claim Value

It is the responsibility of an experienced wrongful death legal professional like attorney Reid Winthrop to prove a claim is valid and the case is indeed a wrongful death situation, which makers it vital to have solid legal counsel in any wrongful death action. This also includes experience in reaching an equitable amount for a total loss of consortium value, which is the most important element.

Reduced Awards

Wrongful death claims can also be subject to evaluation of each party regarding how a death occurred, including the behavior of the decedent. This is standard in all accident claims but can also be applied when the death happens as the result of an intentional act by the defendant. In addition, defendants and their insurance providers will typically defend the case strongly when a significant amount of insurance or personal assets are available for payment or attachment. This is called the comparative negligence defense and applies in all auto accidents or premise liability claims. They can also apply in dram shop cases involving restaurants or bars as well as private social host situations. The percentage assigned to the decedent can then be used to reduce a claim or even exonerate a defendant, which can assuredly impact claim value.

Contact Attorney Reid Winthrop

Never attempt handling a wrongful death claim personally because cases are always complicated and strongly defended. California residents should call Orange County wrongful death attorney at Winthrop Law Group for comprehensive representation and case consultation.