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Chances of Winning a Wrongful Death Suit

Published April 19, 2023 by Harker Injury Law

Chances of Winning a Wrongful Death Suit

Losing a loved one in death is devastating under any circumstances. Yet, when your loved one loses his or her life due to the reckless actions of another person, it can make the burden even harder to bear. If you find yourself in this situation, you have every right to pursue a wrongful death suit to seek justice.

However, it is natural to wonder what your chances of success will be if you pursue such a claim. While each case is unique, your chances of winning a wrongful death suit depend on the circumstances of the accident and the skill and tenacity of your attorney. When you entrust your case to Harker Injury Law, you can trust that we will fight your case as though you were our own family.

Whatever circumstances led to your loved one’s death, do not delay in seeking legal counsel. Instead, reach out to us online for a free consultation, and one of our experienced wrongful death lawyers will talk you through your legal options.

Building Winning Wrongful Death Claims

First, your case must meet the legal definition of wrongful death, which must have occurred due to one of the following:

  • Negligence: Such as drunk driving or medical malpractice
  • Wrongful acts: Wrongful acts include murder, assault cases, and more

If you are unsure whether your loved one’s passing can be considered a wrongful death, talk to a qualified wrongful death attorney. During your free case evaluation, he or she will listen compassionately to the circumstances that led to your family member’s death and talk you through your legal options.

Who can file a wrongful death claim in California?

Under California state law, the following relations of a deceased adult are entitled to file a wrongful death suit:

  • Spouse
  • Domestic partner
  • Children
  • Offspring of deceased children

There are additional provisions to cover people who die with no surviving children. For example, other dependents, including minors, may be eligible to make a wrongful death claim. 

When you lose a child

We want to extend our deepest sympathy if you have lost a child due to a negligent or wrongful act. Under California law, the parents, grandparents, or legal guardians have the right to sue for compensation. 

A wrongful death lawyer with experience in practicing California law can explain your rights, whatever your personal circumstances may be.

Statute of limitations

According to the California Code of Civil Procedure — CCP § 335.1, the family of the deceased has 2 years to file a wrongful death suit

The exceptions to this statute are:

  • Medical malpractice cases — 3 years
  • Claims against public or government entities — 6 months
  • Minor children suing for the death of a parent — 2 years from the day the child turns 18

If you have recently lost a loved one in this tragic manner, we can understand why the thought of filing a wrongful death claim could be overwhelming. However, you can rest assured that our wrongful death attorneys are here to lighten your load. We can fight for justice while you focus on caring for yourself and your family.

The sooner you seek legal advice, the sooner your claim may be able to begin, and the sooner our attorneys can pursue the compensation you deserve.

Proving fault

Winning a wrongful death lawsuit hinges on proving fault. Some cases are clear-cut and may be easier to win. However, even in complex cases, an experienced and knowledgeable wrongful death attorney may be able to build a strong case for compensation.

During your case evaluation, our wrongful death lawyer will be honest and open about your chances of success. Of course, all cases have challenges, and he or she may discuss these with you. However, if our attorney accepts your case, you can be assured that he or she feels it has a strong chance of success.

To make a valid wrongful death claim, the following four elements must be satisfied:

  1. Duty of care: The defendant had a duty of care toward the deceased
  2. Breach: The defendant breached his or her duty of care through reckless or wrongful actions
  3. Cause: This breach was the direct cause of your loved one’s death
  4. Damages: You suffered losses due to your loved one’s death

It is important to note that California is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that you might still be entitled to file a wrongful death suit even when your family member was up to 99 percent responsible for the accident that led to his or her death. 

In these situations, the amount of compensation awarded would be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to the person who died.

Your Chances of Success in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

In some cases, your chances of success may be very strong because there is a high degree of certainty over the cause of the accident. For example, in cases where the accident was caused by blatant recklessness, such as drunk driving, wrongful death settlements may be easier to obtain. 

Beware of lowball settlements

In straightforward cases, the insurance company may offer you a settlement to quickly conclude your claim. However, always remember that the insurance company is not on your side. 

Before accepting any offer, it is best to consult an experienced wrongful death attorney who can assess the settlement and advise on whether it is fair.

Pursuing challenging claims

In more complex cases, such as medical malpractice, liability may be difficult to prove. In these cases, proving the breach in the duty of care took place can be challenging.

Whatever scenario led to the death of your family member, choosing the right wrongful death attorney is critical. An experienced and thorough wrongful death lawyer will:

  • Investigate your case: Your attorney will leave no stone unturned. He or she will obtain medical records and possibly work with an investigator and expert witnesses to build the strongest possible case.
  • Compensation: Your legal team will put together compelling evidence for fair compensation. They will consider the full impact of your loss.
  • Communication: Your wrongful death attorney will communicate with you personally. At Harker Injury Law, each client receives Bronson Harker’s cellphone number. He answers calls and texts outside of office hours to provide the reassurance you need.
  • Aggressive litigation: Your lawyer will defend your interests at the negotiating table and in court if needed. He or she will use all available resources to fight for a fair settlement.

Find the right attorne

Talk to the wrongful death attorney about his or her experience with similar cases during your evaluation. You should feel confident that your lawyer has the skills and a track record of achieving great results for his or her clients. 

Compensation in Wrongful Death Lawsuits

In California, the goal of wrongful death lawsuits is to compensate family members for the losses they have suffered through the death of their loved ones.

This may include economic losses, such as:

  • Medical expenses prior to the death of the deceased
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Lost earnings and resulting financial support to the family

Additional forms of compensation

Additionally, you may also be able to seek compensation for the non-economic impact of your loss. This may include loss of consortium — normal marital intimacy — for the surviving spouse or loss of companionship and familial support for other dependents, such as children. 

When you have lost a child

Compensation for minor children in wrongful death claims is calculated differently. However, the parents or guardians may still be eligible to receive compensation for some of the economic losses described above. Talk to a wrongful death attorney with knowledge of California law to understand your rights.

Let Harker Injury Law Fight Your Wrongful Death Suit

At Harker Injury Law, we understand what is needed to have the best chances of winning a wrongful death suit. We take the responsibility of pursuing justice very seriously, and our track record speaks for itself. When we take on the insurance companies, we have your best interests and heart and will fight with everything we have for the compensation you deserve.

For example, Bronson Harker secured a $1.8 million mediated settlement for the family of a 4-year-old girl who lost her life in a public swimming pool. In one other wrongful death claim, we secured 6 times the original offer for our clients.

We have the resources you need to improve your chances of winning a wrongful death suit. Schedule a free case evaluation by filling out our online form or calling 760-INJURED to understand the legal options available to you.

Associations & Awards

  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  • State Bar of California
  • University of California San Diego
  • BYU Law
  • J Reuben Clark Law Society
  • Earl Warren College
  • State Bar of Nevada
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