Oakland Wrongful Death Lawyer
After suddenly losing a loved one in a fatal accident, you may be unsure about what your next step should be. Our caring and compassionate personal injury attorneys are here for you and your family. We can help you hold the person responsible for your loved one’s death accountable for their negligent actions.
Pursuing this type of claim often takes specialized legal knowledge and skill. Navigating the legal system can be complex. Therefore, attempting to pursue an action without counsel could lead to unfortunate results. To ensure your claim has a strong chance of success, let our Oakland wrongful death lawyers review your claim.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
Under state law, a wrongful death claim results from any loss of life caused by the negligent or wrongful acts of another person. Negligent acts in these situations are any behaviors that could have led to a viable personal injury lawsuit for the decedent, had the deceased survived. Therefore, a death caused as a result of a reckless motorist, for example, could be the subject of a viable wrongful death claim. Wrongful acts also may include death caused by a criminal act, such as a physical assault.
It is important to note that a wrongful death claim is a civil action. While wrongful conduct resulting in death of a person could result in a criminal action being brought, a civil action may also be an option. In other words, the same wrongful conduct resulting in death can be the subject of both a criminal suit and a civil suit, but these two suits are independent of each other. Generally, a prosecuting attorney retains the right to bring a criminal case while a civil attorney can bring a civil claim. Our Oakland wrongful death attorneys can help grieving family members by filing a civil claim for wrongful death on their behalf.
Wrongful Death Claims Versus Survival Actions
In some cases, the term “survival action” is used interchangeably with the concept of a wrongful death claim. However, under state law, the two have important differences. A survival action can seek compensation that is different from what a family could recover in a wrongful death claim.
The purpose of a wrongful death claim is to compensate the surviving family for the loss of their loved one. Survival actions involve the right to pursue civil claims the deceased person held prior to his/her death. For example, if the deceased suffered property damage in a car accident, a survival action could seek compensation to recover for that property damage.
Who May File These Lawsuits?
Under state law, only certain members of the deceased’s immediate family have the right to file suit. A deceased person’s spouse, domestic partner, or surviving children each have the right to pursue a claim. Additionally, a “putative spouse” also may be eligible to file. A putative spouse is anyone that lived with the decedent in the manner of a spouse before his/her death. If the deceased’s stepchildren or parents were financially dependent on this person, they also may bring a claim for damages.
In some cases, none of these parties may be available to file a lawsuit. In this situation, persons with the right inheritance from the deceased person may be able to bring a claim. Our lawyers in Oakland can review a case and identify who may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of his/her family member.
Speak with Our Oakland Wrongful Death Attorneys
Following the unexpected passing of a loved one, pursuing financial compensation may seem daunting. Our attorneys at Mary Alexander & Associates can help with this process by filing your wrongful death claim so that you are able to focus on being with your family during this difficult time. Our Oakland wrongful death lawyers stand ready to help. To learn more about your legal options, call today.