Losing a loved one due to someone else’s wrongful negligence can be overwhelming. It’s not just the emotional loss but also the financial hardship and the need for justice and accountability. In such difficult times, you need more than just legal assistance. You need a compassionate and dedicated wrongful death lawyer who will fight for your rights.
The legal system in California can be complex, but you don’t have to face it alone. You can rely on the trusted legal team of The Law Offices of Young Wooldridge, LLP to protect your interests every step of the way. Our lawyers understand that no amount of money can compensate for your loss, but fair compensation can provide some sense of closure and accountability. It can also ease the financial burden for you and your family.
Don’t let uncertainty prolong your pain. The Law Offices of Young Wooldridge, LLP will guide you through your wrongful death claim, handle all the legal details, and seek the justice you and your loved ones deserve. Contact our law firm today for a free consultation with a local Bakersfield wrongful death attorney.
What Are the Common Causes of Wrongful Death in Bakersfield?
It’s the sad truth that wrongful death cases frequently occur as a result of avoidable situations. Although wrongful deaths can happen in various ways, there are a few common factors that often play a role, such as:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Surgical errors
- Delayed diagnosis
- Medication errors
- Workplace accidents
What Do You Have to Prove in a California Wrongful Death Case?
In California, asserting a wrongful death claim means proving several key elements:
- A Person Died – First, you must demonstrate unequivocally that a person’s death occurred. This typically involves producing a death certificate or other official documentation as proof.
- The Person’s Death Resulted from Someone Else’s Wrongful Behavior – Second, you must prove that another party’s negligence, recklessness, malicious behavior, or other action contributed to the person’s death. This usually means showing that the other party (defendant) had a responsibility to avoid harming the person and that they failed in this responsibility. Then you must establish a direct causal link between the defendant’s failure and the person’s death.
- Surviving Family Members Suffered Measurable Losses – Next, showing that surviving family members or dependents have suffered tangible monetary losses due to the wrongful death is essential. This could include loss of household income, potential inheritance, or services the deceased would have provided had they survived.
- A Personal Representative Has Been Appointed – Finally, a personal representative of the deceased’s estate must obtain court approval for their appointment. This is usually a surviving family member or a person named in the deceased’s will as their executor. The personal representative is responsible for bringing the claim on behalf of all surviving family members and dependents.
Remember that a wrongful death case is separate and distinct from a criminal homicide case, even though both can arise due to the same person’s death. In a criminal homicide case, the government tries to prove that someone unlawfully caused another person’s death. If found guilty, that person could go to jail or face other punishments. A guilty verdict in a criminal case requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the highest standard of proof.
On the other hand, a civil wrongful death case is when surviving family members or the personal representative of the deceased’s estate sue to get money for their losses. The standard of proof for civil cases isn’t as strict. You only need to show that it’s more likely than not that your claims are true. This means the defendant can be found not guilty in a criminal case but still lose a civil case due to differences in the required standards of proof.
What Compensation Is Recoverable in a Bakersfield Wrongful Death Claim?
In a successful wrongful death claim in California, the following types of compensation may be recoverable:
- Medical Expenses – Any medical costs related to the deceased’s final illness or injury.
- Funeral and Burial Costs – Costs associated with the funeral and burial of the deceased.
- Lost Future Income – Income the deceased likely would have earned if they had survived.
- Loss of Potential Inheritance – Wealth the deceased might have accumulated and passed on to beneficiaries if they had lived a typical lifespan.
- Value of Household Services – Services the deceased would likely have provided at home, such as housekeeping, childcare, or general maintenance.
- Loss of Companionship, Affection, Moral Support, or Consortium – The subjective costs of the emotional toll of the wrongful death on surviving family members.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in California?
Under California law, a wrongful death lawsuit may be initiated only by specific parties. This typically includes the following:
- The deceased’s surviving spouse or domestic partner and surviving children.
- In situations with no direct descendants, other parties entitled to inherit under California’s intestate succession laws can sue. This could include spouses, partners, parents, or siblings.
- Those who were financially dependent on the deceased can also file wrongful death lawsuits. This could include a putative spouse (a person who believes in good faith that they were married to the deceased), children, stepchildren, minors in the deceased’s household, or parents.
- The personal representative of the deceased’s estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of any of these parties.
Given the complexity of these eligibility rules, working with an experienced California wrongful death lawyer, like those at The Law Offices of Young Wooldridge, LLP is essential for your case. They can assess eligibility for all potential claimants and pursue maximum compensation on your behalf.
How Are Bakersfield Wrongful Death Settlements Paid Out?
Wrongful death settlements are usually paid out in two primary ways: lump sum or structured payments.
A lump sum payment provides the full amount of an agreed-upon settlement all at once. This allows beneficiaries to immediately access California wrongful death settlement funds for necessary expenses like medical bills, funeral costs, or living expenses. It also provides the flexibility to invest or use the money as recipients see fit.
On the other hand, a structured settlement involves regular payments over a set period. This is a great way to set up a steady income stream for beneficiaries, which can be particularly useful if the deceased was a primary income earner. Making the right choice between a lump sum payment and a structured settlement requires assessing the case’s specific circumstances and beneficiaries’ financial needs.
How a Young Wooldridge Bakersfield Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help You
Dealing with losing a loved one due to a wrongful death incident is a difficult and trying experience. You should not have to go through it alone. Instead of struggling with a complex legal claim, allow The Law Offices of Young Wooldridge, LLP to help you. Our experienced wrongful death attorneys will handle the legal aspects of your case, allowing you to focus on healing and supporting your family.
Our law firm is committed to providing personalized attention, dependable guidance, and consistent availability throughout every stage of your case. Our team strives for excellence and works tirelessly to achieve meaningful client results. Whether it means tough negotiations or taking your case to court, we are dedicated to achieving the best compensation.
No matter what your circumstances are, we are here to help you. Our lawyers have a long-standing reputation for providing exceptional legal services, personalized attention, and dedication to their clients. If you require the services of a wrongful death lawyer in Bakersfield, trust The Law Offices of Young Wooldridge, LLP.