Category Archives: Wrongful Death

Tips on Speaking with an Insurance Company After a Car Accident

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Insurance companies work fast after a car accident. Often times, the adjuster will contact people who are involved in an accident the same day or within a few days after the occurrence. You may even receive a call from the other party’s insurance adjuster. We understand how stressful it is after an accident, so we compiled tips for you on how to speak with an insurance company after you have experienced an auto accident.

Find out who you are talking to.

When you receive the phone call, ask for the person’s name, the insurer they work for, their work address, and work telephone number. If they are unable, or unwilling, to provide you with this information, do not speak with them.

Do not agree to a recorded statement.
The adjustor may claim that a recorded statement will “protect you” or speed up your claim process, but a recorded statement can also work against you. The adjustor may ask you leading questions or remarks (i.e. “It sounds like your back injury is not as bad as you thought”) and the answer you respond with may undermine your injury and your compensation.

Limit the information you give to the insurance adjustor.
You may give them general information, including:

  • Your name
  • The name of others in the accident
  • Date and time of accident
  • Location of accident
  • The insurance information of the other driver
  • The make and model of cars involved

Don’t discuss your injuries.
The extent of an injury in a car accident can take weeks or months to become fully apparent. How you state your injury may be used against you at a later date. You do not owe them a progress report. If they ask you how you are doing, you can say that you don’t know the “full extent of the injury yet”.

 Don’t speculate or guess.
If they ask you questions about the accident, and you don’t know the answer, do not speculate or guess what may have happened. It is acceptable to say “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember”.

It is okay to postpone the conversation.
You may decline talking to an insurance adjuster. You have the right to answer their questions with your attorney and you may tell them that you will not talk to them without your attorney present.

If you have suffered an injury or lost a loved one in a car accident, we may be able to help you. Call our Kern County Personal Injury Law Firm at 661-323-1400 or 800-585-9262 (toll free) for a no fee consultation. Our car accident attorneys speak English or Spanish.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 12:26 pm

Wrongful Death Cases: What They Are, Who Can File One

Friday, January 17, 2020

Anytime the death of a loved one occurs, it takes an enormous toll on the surviving family members’ emotional, physical, and often financial health. These events become even more stressful when the loved one’s death was caused by another person being careless. Slips, falls, dog bites, car accidents, botched medical procedures, and numerous other situations can all be the result of one person failing to take proper precautions and, unfortunately, can lead to the death of another individual. When that happens, you could have a case of wrongful death on your hands.

There are many famous wrongful death cases, often involving celebrities or defective products with the potential to harm millions. However, these highly publicized situations don’t always reveal just how complicated wrongful death cases can be for those involved. Many victims, for example, are not always aware when they are even able to pursue compensation for wrongful death.

The following facts can help you better understand what wrongful death is as well as when and how to file a claim:

What Is Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death is connected to negligence, but it’s important to understand when you are dealing with an actual case of wrongful death and when it is just a negligence claim.

Negligence occurs when a person commits an act that unintentionally harms another person. Car accidents, defective products, dog bites, and many other situations can all happen because of negligence, and typically when litigation follows, it falls into the personal injury category of the law.

However, there are times when one person’s negligent act leads to another’s death. In these cases, the surviving family members may actually be able to pursue compensation through a wrongful death claim.

Also worth noting is that wrongful death cases differ from those involving homicide, which involve the willful killing of another individual. In other words, in homicide, there is intent to harm — a factor that’s absent in cases of wrongful death.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Not just anyone can file a wrongful death claim, no matter how much they loved or were close to the deceased. In wrongful death cases in the state of California, the deceased person’s spouse or children can file a wrongful death claim. If none of those relations exist, the deceased individual’s parents, siblings or other relatives from extended family may be able to file a claim.

Life partners and putative spouses, as well as those who can prove they were financially dependent on the deceased, may also file for wrongful death, even if they are not related by blood.

What Types of Damages Can I Collect?

Once surviving family members have established that their loved one’s death was directly due to someone else’s negligence, they may be able to collect a number of different types of damages. That includes medical bills from when the deceased was in the hospital, compensation for wages that person would have earned, funeral expenses, and compensation for pain and suffering on the part of the victim’s loved ones.

Like many other types of lawsuits, wrongful death cases can be tricky to establish and are best pursued under the guidance of an experienced wrongful death attorney. At Rodriguez & Associates, we stand behind families experiencing the loss of someone due to the carelessness of others. If you and your family are suffering because of the untimely death of a loved one, reach out to us today to discuss the details of your case.

Do I Have a Wrongful Death Case?

A wrongful death claim can’t be filed by just anyone. Only specific individuals with certain relationships to the deceased person can do so. In California, the deceased individual’s spouse, domestic partner, or children can file. If there are no such relations to the previously mentioned relations exist, California law dictates that anyone “who would be entitled to the property of the decedent by intestate succession” can file the claim. This may extend to the deceased’s parents, siblings, or other relatives, or in some cases, people who were financially dependent on the decedent can file a wrongful death claim.

The Bakersfield wrongful death lawyers at Rodriguez & Associates have extensive experience representing loved ones in wrongful death cases in California and throughout the United States. The best way to find out if you have a wrongful death case is to contact experienced lawyers with a strong track record of success. Contact us today at (661) 323-1400 or via our website to see if you have a case.

Posted by Lorrie Ross at 10:22 pm

How to Prove a Wrongful Death

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult experiences we can face. The death of a family member can be even more painful to face if he or she lost her life due to someone else’s negligent, reckless, or intentionally violent behavior.

In these situations, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party to claim compensation for the damages you and your family suffered as a result of the incident that led to his or her death. However, proving a wrongful death case requires satisfying a series of specific legal elements.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in California?

In all states, only certain individuals can file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased. If you qualify, you must file the lawsuit within two years of the date of your loved one’s death, and you must prove that you are one of the following people in relation to the deceased.

  • A spouse or domestic partner
  • A surviving child
  • A person who is in the line of succession to inherit the deceased’s property in the event that no spouse or child exists, such as a parent or sibling
  • A person who is financially dependent on the deceased, such as a stepchild, a putative spouse or putative children, or parents

You can file a lawsuit against any party that may be at-fault for the death of your loved one, including individuals, corporations, hospitals, or government agencies. You can file a wrongful death claim against a single person or entity, or multiple parties. However, to prove your case and claim compensation, you will need to provide evidence to support a series of four elements.

Element #1: Duty of Care

Before you can establish that a wrongful death occurred and that the at-fault party is responsible, you will first need to prove that the at-fault party owed your loved one a duty of care at the time of the accident. To prove duty of care, you can provide a copy of medical records, a lease agreement, surveillance footage, and other pieces of evidence that establish the relationship between the at-fault party and your loved one.

For example, if your loved one died in a car accident, you can prove that the at-fault driver owed him or her an obligation to follow the rules of the road and to drive safely. If your loved one died due to dangerous conditions in an apartment building, you can prove that the landlord had a duty to maintain safe premises and respond to hazardous conditions promptly.

Element #2: Breach of Care

After you establish the responsibility that the at-fault party had to your loved one, you must prove that he or she breached the duty of care in some way. Proving this element will vary based on the circumstances of your case. For example, if a driver ran a red light and crashed into your loved one’s vehicle, you can establish the breach by showing police records and surveillance footage.

Element #3: Causation

Once you establish that the breach occurred, you will next need to prove that the breach of care directly led to the death of your loved one. You can prove this by displaying medical records, witness testimony, surveillance footage, expert witnesses, and many more pieces of evidence. Your attorney can help you determine which evidence you need to prove causation.

Element #4: Damages

Finally, you must prove that the death of your loved one led to damages that you and your family members can collect in your lawsuit. Damages in wrongful death cases differ from personal injury lawsuits and can include any of the following.

  • Final medical expenses for the deceased
  • Reasonable funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Loss of financial support
  • Loss of consortium or companionship

If you are grappling with the death of a loved one in California, you may have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit on his or her behalf. To do so, you will need an attorney on your side who is familiar with the legal process that governs these lawsuits and who has the resources necessary to help you build your case. Contact a Bakersfield wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case and to begin the filing process.

Posted by highrank at 5:06 pm

Can a Spouse Sue for Loss of Consortium?

Thursday, October 3, 2019

If your spouse is in an accident that someone else’s negligence caused, the aftermath can be devastating for the entire family. You and your family may have to deal with unexpected medical bills, funeral costs, and emotional damages, like mental anguish and a loss of consortium. Whether an accident leads to your spouse’s death or an injury so severe that your spouse cannot provide the same support as he or she did in the past, you can file a lawsuit against the at-fault party for loss of consortium.

What Is Loss of Consortium?

Loss of consortium refers to the loss of moral support, companionship, or intimacy following an accident. You can claim non-economic damages for loss of consortium in both personal injury cases and wrongful death lawsuits under California law.

There are two main types of damages you can claim in a lawsuit following an accident: economic and non-economic. Economic damages refer to the tangible losses you and your spouse suffered, such as medical bills or lost wages. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, refer to the losses you cannot prove a financial burden or provide a receipt for. Instead, the damage is emotional – and loss of consortium falls under this category.

How to Prove a Loss of Consortium Case in California

If you are filing a lawsuit and claiming loss of consortium damages after your spouse’s accident, you will need to work closely with a California personal injury attorney to prove your case. In order to successfully claim this compensation, you and your lawyer will need to satisfy the following four elements.

  • First, you will need to prove that your spouse suffered injuries in an accident that someone else’s negligence caused. You will have to prove that the at-fault party owed your spouse a duty of care and breached it, leading to his or her injuries or death. You can satisfy this element in a number of ways, including medical records, surveillance footage, witness testimony, and expert testimony.
  • Second, you will need to prove that you and your spouse are in a legal marriage or registered domestic partnership that was valid at the time of his or her injury. You can prove this element by providing your marriage license or domestic partnership paperwork.
  • Third, you will need to prove that you lost your spouse’s consortium as a result of the injury or death. This element can be difficult to prove, since you cannot always see emotional damages. You may need to discuss the impacts that the injury has on your spouse’s abilities or behavior, and how that impacts your relationship. Speak to your attorney to determine which pieces of evidence you should present.
  • Fourth, you will need to prove that the injury and the accident that caused the injury is at fault for your loss of consortium. This portion of the lawsuit can be difficult to prove as well, since you will have to establish that the loss came from the accident itself instead of an outside event, like marital troubles. Your attorney can assist you with satisfying this element.

How Do California Courts Calculate Loss of Consortium?

If you are successful in proving the loss of consortium, the court will award you a settlement for your damages. Understanding how much you receive can be difficult, since there is no specific number attached to this type of loss. In addition, settlements vary from case to case; the amount you receive will depend on the extent and severity of the damage.

The court will likely consider the following factors when calculating loss of consortium.

  • How severe your spouse’s injuries are
  • The emotional trauma you and your spouse have suffered
  • How the loss of consortium disrupts your daily life
  • How long it may take for your spouse to recover
  • Whether or not the injuries are permanent or long-term

If your family is experiencing loss of consortium after your spouse suffers severe injuries in an accident that was not his or her fault, you can claim compensation for these damages in California civil court. However, proving a loss of consortium case can be difficult depending on the circumstances. Contact a California personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case and begin the lawsuit filing process.

Posted by highrank at 6:12 pm

What Benefits Am I Entitled to If My Spouse Was Killed in a Trucking Accident?

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Losing a spouse in a trucking accident is a tragic and difficult experience in multiple ways. Emotionally, you have to cope with the pain of losing a loved one due to someone else’s negligence. You may also experience a variety of other damages, such as loss of economic support and the high cost of funeral and burial. However, you may be able to collect damages following your spouse’s trucking accident through a wrongful death lawsuit.

California Wrongful Death Lawsuits

In the state of California, you can file a wrongful death claim when a person dies as a result of someone else’s negligence or wrongful act. In the case of a trucking accident, you will have to prove that negligence on the part of the driver, trucking company, or other entity was responsible for your spouse’s death. At the conclusion of your claim, you can recover monetary damages to compensate your losses.

According to California’s wrongful death statute, only certain people can file a lawsuit on behalf of a loved one. You must be the deceased’s spouse, domestic partner, child, or another person who may be entitled to the deceased’s property, such as a parent or sibling. If your spouse died in a trucking accident, you have the right to file a wrongful death claim in California civil court.

Types of Damages in Wrongful Death Lawsuits

You can collect multiple types of damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. Your attorney will work with you to discuss the different benefits you may be eligible for. There are three main types of damages you can collect in a California wrongful death claim.

  • Economic damages: Damages pertain to the tangible monetary losses you suffer as a result of your spouse’s death.
  • Non-economic damages: Damages that represent the intangible losses you suffer after your spouse dies, such as pain and suffering.
  • Punitive damages: In the case of extreme negligence or recklessness, the court may award you these damages to punish the at-fault party responsible for your spouse’s death.

Final Medical Expenses

Depending on the circumstances of your spouse’s trucking accident, he or she may have had to spend time in a hospital prior to his or her death. As a result, your spouse may have incurred some expenses for their final care and treatment. You can claim this form of economic damage in your wrongful death lawsuit as long as the expenses are related to your spouse’s final injuries.

Pain and Suffering

You may be able to collect damages if your spouse suffered significant pain and suffering prior to his or her death. Your attorney can help you calculate the amount of this non-economic damage you can collect, depending on what your spouse experienced between his or her injury and death.

Loss of Potential Income

If your spouse contributed a significant amount of income to your household, you may suffer without his or her continued to support. With a wrongful death lawsuit, you can claim the amount of potential income your spouse could have earned if he or she survived the trucking accident. With this compensation, you and your family can support yourselves during your transition to life without your spouse.

Funeral and Burial Costs

Funerals and other burial rites can be very expensive, depending on your spouse’s final wishes and the traditions you wish to follow. You may be able to collect compensation to pay for reasonable funeral and burial expenses in your wrongful death lawsuit.

Loss of Love, Community, Guidance, and Other Emotional Damages

When considering non-economic damages in a wrongful death lawsuit, the court and your attorney will discuss the emotional pain and suffering you and your family experience as a result of your spouse’s death. You can claim compensation for multiple forms of emotional damage in your wrongful death lawsuit, including loss of love, support, guidance, community, affection, attention, and more.

Calculating the maximum amount of compensation you can receive in a wrongful death lawsuit can be complicated. You will need to consider a great deal of intangible and emotional loss as well as economic loss. Contact a Bakersfield wrongful death attorney at Rodriguez & Associates as soon as possible to determine what benefits you could claim.

 

Posted by highrank at 10:28 pm