What are the Similarities and Differences between Wrongful Death and Personal Injury Lawsuits?
Whether dealing with a personal injury or wrongful death, our Paso Robles wrongful death attorneys can review the unique factors of your case and work to maximize your recovery.
Both types of cases require proving that the defendant was responsible for causing damages, usually based on either negligence or strict liability law. In a wrongful death case, there are two California statutes that apply and they involve two different types of lawsuits. California Code of Civil Procedure 377.30-377.35 allows a survival action where the representative of the estate can pursue legal actions for recovery that the deceased person could have pursued, had the person lived. In this respect, the survival action is similar to a personal injury case where you can recover economic losses such as medical bills or punitive damages if the conduct causing injury and death was particularly egregious. Under the Californiawrongful death statutes 377.60 ― 377.62, every family member entitled by law to recover damages files their own claim separately. In addition to spouses, children, siblings and grandparents, putative spouses and their children also have rights to recovery. A putative spouse is one who believed in good faith that the marriage was valid even though it was not (for example, bigamy). In addition, children under the age of 18 who lived with deceased persons for more than 180 days and depended on them for more than half of their survival needs also have a right to recovery, whether related or not.
Paso Robles personal injury lawyers can help you determine your rights to pursue a wrongful death or survival action.
James McKiernan Lawyers offers a free consultation to discuss your case and you owe no fees unless we are successful.
How Does California Negligence Law Affect Recovering Damages?
When you suffer injury because of someone else’s negligence, you generally have the right to recover compensation for damages. Santa Maria personal injury attorneys can review the factors surrounding your injury and devise a strategy to prove negligence and maximize your recovery.
The Supreme Court case ruling that changed how Californiacourts view negligence was Li v. Yellow Cab Co. In this case both the plaintiff and the defendant contributed to causing the accident. Prior to this case, California courts did not allow parties whose negligence contributed to an accident to recover damages. Yet in this case, the Supreme Court set a new precedent by deciding that the plaintiff had the right to compensation. Even so, the court reduced the amount of damages the plaintiff could recover based on her percentage of fault. In the legal world, lawyers refer to this type of negligence law as pure comparative negligence. Even if a plaintiff is 99 percent at fault, they still have the right to recover one percent of damages. The main factor involved in a negligence case is proving the other party was negligent and presenting their actions in such a light that the court assigns the party a significant percentage of fault. Under California Civil Code §1714, anyone lacking ordinary care or skill who causes someone else injury is responsible for damages.
California accident litigators can protect your rights in an accident injury case by thoroughly investigating how the accident occurred and by working diligently to gather evidence and interview witnesses.
James McKiernan Lawyers has established a reputation for being successful in accident cases. James McKiernan is a member of the Million Dollars Advocate Forum, a selective group of lawyers who have obtained million dollar verdicts on behalf of their clients.