If you have lost a loved one due to the negligent or careless actions of another person, you may be entitled to financial compensation. However, there are times when an insurer may step in and deny coverage by claiming there is insufficient evidence of any negligent actions. At Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, we are dedicated to helping families get through these situations. Our Sacramento wrongful death attorneys are ready to investigate and secure the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to get the legal advice you deserve.
Why Hire Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger?
When you were dealing with the loss of a loved one, you need to find Sacramento wrongful death lawyers you can trust both personally and professionally. At Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, our compassionate and dedicated team has been helping people and these situations for more than six decades.
- Our law firm has secured millions of dollars in compensation on behalf of families suffering after losing a loved one.
- We will not hesitate to take your case to trial if an insurance company refused to offer a fair settlement for your case.
- We take wrongful death cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you will not pay any legal fees until we recover the maximum compensation your family deserves.
Why Do You Need an Attorney for This Case?
Wrongful death claims can become incredibly complex and involve an extensive investigation. A Sacramento personal injury lawyer will have the resources necessary to take on insurance companies and the responsible party. Your attorney will be responsible for:
- Obtaining all evidence necessary to prove the defendant’s liability in the case. This includes accident reports, video surveillance of the incident, eyewitness accounts, and more.
- Research the history of the defendant by obtaining safety history records, driving records, maintenance logs, etc.
- Negotiate with all parties involved to obtain a fair settlement on your behalf or take the case to trial if necessary.
What You Should Do After the Death of a Loved One
1. Take your time
The aftermath of the loss of a loved one can be an incredibly overwhelming experience. It is important that you not make any difficult decisions or sign any agreements before you have a chance to process what happened. This is the time to take things slowly until you speak to experts who have your best interests in mind about the best path forward.
2. Talk to your insurance carrier
In most cases, you will need to inform your insurance carrier or the insurance carrier of your loved one who passed away that you may be filing a wrongful death claim. You may also need to inform the insurance carrier of an at-fault party of your intentions. You do not have to give any recorded statement about what happened or go into details about the incident until you speak to your own attorney.
3. Contact an attorney
Speaking to a Sacramento wrongful death attorney early in the process will help you understand whether or not you have a solid claim to move forward with. At Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, our compassionate and experienced team offers free case evaluations to allow family members to explore their rights. We will get involved early in the process and make sure that every party, including insurance carriers, knows that you have secured skilled legal representation.
What is the Definition of Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death actions occur whenever a person dies due to the negligent activity or misconduct of another person, business, or entity. Wrongful death claims can move forward whether or not the at-fault party had the intention of harming or killing the deceased or not.
It is important to understand that wrongful death civil claims are separate from criminal charges, such as murder, that a person may face after they cause somebody else’s death. While there are times when civil wrongful death claims and criminal charges arise from the same situation, it is not necessary for there to be criminal charges or a guilty verdict in order for a civil wrongful death claim to move forward.
How Do Wrongful Death Lawsuits Arise?
At Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, we handle a variety of wrongful death cases. Some common causes of wrongful deaths are:
- Car accidents
- Commercial truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Defective products and drugs
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home abuse
- Burn and fire injuries
Who Can File for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In California, only specific people are allowed to file a wrongful death claim. Typically this is the decedent’s surviving family, including:
- A surviving spouse or domestic partner
- Any surviving children of the deceased person
- Any surviving family members (including parents and siblings)
- A personal representative
Is There a Time Limit for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim?
Under California law, the statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits is two years from the date of the person’s death. Because of the time limits to file a case, surviving family members must consult with an experienced Sacramento wrongful death attorney as soon as possible.
How Is Negligence Proved in a Wrongful Death Claim?
In order for a wrongful death civil lawsuit to be successful, there are various elements that need to be proven by the plaintiff (or their attorney) before any damages are awarded. Typically, the elements that the plaintiff needs to show for a Sacramento wrongful death suit include the following:
- Duty of care. The plaintiff will need to establish that the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased person. Depending on the situation, a duty of care could take on various meanings. For example, drivers have an obligation to follow the rules of the roadway (duty of care) to keep those around them safe.
- Breach of duty. When a duty of care has been established between the defendant and the deceased person, the plaintiff will need to show that the defendant breached their duty in some way. Following the car accident example mentioned above, the plaintiff could show that the defendant was intoxicated by alcohol at the time a collision occurred with a BAC above .08%. Because driving impaired is illegal in California, this would be a breach of duty.
- Causation. Finally, the plaintiff must show that the defendant’s breach of duty was the direct cause of the death of the deceased. Proving that the other driver was intoxicated behind the wheel is not enough for them to be held civilly liable for a person’s death. However, if it can be shown that the defendant ran a red light while they were intoxicated and struck the deceased’s vehicle, this would typically show causation.
We Are Ready to Work On Your Case Today
If you have lost a loved one due to the negligent or intentional acts of another person, seek legal representation immediately. At Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, we are ready to help you secure the compensation and economic damages you are entitled to, which can include:
- Funeral costs and burial expenses
- Pre-death medical bills
- Loss of future earnings and benefits of the deceased
- Pain and suffering damages
- Loss of household services
- Loss of consortium or companionship damages
- Possible punitive damages against the negligent entity or person
When you need a Sacramento wrongful death attorney, you can contact us for a free consultation of your case by clicking here or calling our law office at (415) 889-2919. Our personal injury attorneys can hold the negligent party responsible for your loved ones death while you focus on healing during this difficult time. We represent clients all throughout Northern California, including San Francisco and Marin County. Get in touch with our legal team in Sacramento today.