Determining the Value of a California Wrongful Death Claim
There are situations in which the value of a wrongful death claim will be dictated by the insurance coverage limits of the defendants and/or the responsible parties’ assets. However, knowledgeable and experienced Los Angeles wrongful death attorneys can work toward facilitating a maximum recovery by carefully investigating every facet of the case. Our attorneys review accident reports, traffic cam footage, witness statements, physical evidence like skid marks, and other information to establish the strongest position for our client with the fullest recovery.
For example, the insurance coverage carried by a distracted motorist who T-bones your loved one in an intersection might not exceed the California minimum for liability coverage. These limits amount to $15,000 for each person who suffers bodily injury or death and $30,000 total. This amount is woefully inadequate to compensate a family for the loss of their loved one. In such situations, our California wrongful death law firm carefully analyzes the facts and evidence to identify other viable defendants. The company that employs the distracted driver might be liable if he or she was traveling to the bank to make a nightly deposit for the company. Alternatively, the owner of the vehicle might be liable if he or she entrusted the vehicle to a driver that the owner knows or should know is incompetent. If a vehicle malfunctioned, the manufacturer of the negligent driver’s car or a component part might bear financial responsibility for the loss. A public entity, such as a municipality, county or even the State of California might be financially responsible if the road was not designed, constructed, or maintained in a reasonably safe manner.
Our Los Angeles wrongful death lawyers also carefully evaluate other factors that impact the value of our client’s wrongful death claim. The life expectancy of a decedent must be established to determine an appropriate measure of damages. This calculation involves considering the decedent’s medical history, occupation, lifestyle, age, and other factors. Skilled advocacy often is necessary to prove the value of the financial support lost by surviving loved ones. This determination requires an assessment of the accident victim’s occupation, anticipated future earnings, and other facts relevant to lost compensation. In cases of young children with no earning history or retirees, the challenge of proving occupation-related losses is complicated, so you should seek prompt legal advice.
When multiple people seek compensation, a probate estate might need to be established. In this situation, the wrongful death action is brought in the name of the estate as opposed to the names of the individual claimants.
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At the Law Offices of Steven M. Sweat, APC, our Southern California wrongful death attorneys are firmly committed to pursuing justice for victims who can no longer speak for themselves and to obtaining financial compensation for surviving loved ones. Call us today toll free at (323) 944-0993 or email us to set up your free consultation and learn how we can help.
Steven M. Sweat, APC
5757 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 450
Los Angeles, CA 90036