Fresno Wrongful Death Accident Lawyer
Wrongful death incidents are the most agonizing types of cases we handle. Handling the death of any loved one is always difficult, but when that death was caused by the wrongful acts of another, the experience is all the more devastating.
Fortunately, you have legal recourse. A wrongful death lawyer in Fresno can assist you and your family with pursuing a wrongful death claim and a survival action to recover any losses inflicted upon the decedent’s estate.
At Singh Ahluwalia, we have decades of experience fighting for individuals suffering under unfortunate circumstances. Our wrongful death attorneys can provide you with comprehensive and compassionate representation throughout the entirety of your claim. Our attorneys have helped families like yours recover millions from negligent individuals and corporations, and we are here to help you stabilize your finances during what is sure to be one of the most trying moments in your life.
If you are interested in seeking compensation to hold at-fault parties accountable for the death of your loved one, we are here, ready to assist. Get answers to your questions and learn about your most effective legal options during a free, confidential, no-obligation case review. Schedule your free initial consultation now when you Call (559) 878-4958 or Contact us online.
Common Case Types a Fresno Wrongful Death Accident Attorney Handles
A wrongful death is defined as any death caused by an intentional or criminal act or an act of negligence. Simply put: had the party accused of fault exercised the care and consideration expected of them by the law, then your loved one would still be here today.
Wrongful death cases are some of the most challenging cases from a litigation and negotiation perspective. When considering the loss of a life, the total damages inflicted are astronomical. Families are not only deprived of the love and companionship of their family member, but they may also be put in a financially precarious situation because of the loss of the decedent’s income contributions to the household.
At Singh Ahluwalia, we work closely with the surviving family members so that they have the highest chances possible of avoiding an undesirable financial outcome. They are likely looking at heavy potential income losses, in addition to the monumental pain and suffering they are going through. Our goal in these cases is to remain sensitive to the family’s needs while helping minimize the intrusion the case has upon their personal life.
Some of the most common wrongful death scenarios we have handled include:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Slip and falls
- Falls from height
- Dangerous products
- Violent assault
- Medical malpractice
- Dangerous drugs
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Nursing home negligence
- Child care negligence
- Dog bites
How Does a Wrongful Death Case Compensate Family Members for Their Loss?
A wrongful death claim seeks all damages inflicted upon surviving family members from the responsible party (or parties). These cases look exclusively at the financial and emotional burden the family is forced to bear in the wake of their loved one’s death.
Examples of damages sought in a typical wrongful death claim include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of household income
- Compensation for the pain and suffering of the decedent prior to their death
- Compensation for the survivors’ loss of companionship
- Replacement of the domestic services the decedent regularly provided
In addition to wrongful death claims, a representative of the decedent’s estate — which can include a surviving family member — can file a survival action claim seeking to recover the losses to the decedent’s estate. A survival claim works very similarly to how a personal injury claim would work if the victim had survived. As such, they can provide compensation for:
- Medical expenses made necessary by the negligence of the defendant
- Wages the victim lost immediately prior to their death
- Compensation for damage to personal property
Note that all of the above damages must have been tolled after the accident in question but before the death of the victim.
Family members can combine wrongful death and survival claims to recover all of the financial losses suffered by the family and the loved one since the accident that led to their death — and into the future.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Fresno?
California law provides that any surviving spouse or child can file a wrongful death claim in connection to the death of a loved one. Domestic partners are eligible, as well, as are putative spouses and minors who lived in the decedent’s household and were dependent upon their support. If there are no surviving immediate family members, then individuals who would qualify for intestate succession are eligible to file a claim.
A survival claim can be filed by anyone designated as a representative of the decedent’s estate. Often, this role is given to a spouse, child, or other close family member, but it may also be delegated to an attorney or other trusted individual. Any compensation recovered through the survival claim is reinstated to the value of the estate, meaning that it will be distributed to beneficiaries in accordance with the terms of the decedent’s will — or according to California’s rules on intestate succession.
In many cases, the wrongful death claim and survival action claim can proceed under the same trial, according to California law.
Who Is Considered At-Fault in a Wrongful Death Case?
A wrongful death claim can be filed against any individual or legal entity whose negligent or intentional actions directly contributed to the circumstances of the decedent’s death.
In order for the named party to be considered negligent, the claimants must be prepared to establish the following four main showings of a wrongful death case:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to the decedent, according to statutes, professional standards, or the standard of ordinary care
- The defendant breached their duty by committing a harmful act or by failing to act in such a way that led to direct harm
- The breach directly led to a fatal injury or illness
- The harm inflicted led to damages that can be recovered through the legal system
According to these standards, there are many possible defendants who could be named in a wrongful death or survival claim.
- Motor vehicle drivers are one of the most commonly named parties in a wrongful death claim. According to California’s injury data tool EpiCenter, motor vehicle traffic incidents are the second-leading cause of injury-related death in the state. In accidents where the mode of transportation of the victim was identified, the majority of victims were pedestrians, making up well over a quarter of all fatalities. Motorcycle occupants were another significant cohort, with 610 fatal injuries in 2021.
- Victims of violent assault from firearms and other weapons made up another significant portion of fatalities. Surviving family members can pursue a wrongful death claim against any perpetrators of assault against the decedent, even if they were found innocent or were otherwise exonerated in a criminal case.
- Medical malpractice makes up another significant portion of wrongful death defendants. In fact, studies of malpractice incidents have caused researchers to declare that malpractice could be the third-leading cause of death in the U.S.
- In cases involving fatal workplace injuries, there may be a potential claim to file against property owners, equipment manufacturers, or third-party contractors involved in the fatal accident.
- Victims of fatal exposure to harmful substances may be able to file a claim against the manufacturer of the substance, such as the creator of a defective drug or the distributor of a harmful substance like asbestos.
- Children are susceptible to fatal injuries, drowning, motor vehicle accidents, and other fatal accidents when they are in the care of a negligent person or service provider tasked with child supervision. Children are also especially vulnerable to the harm inflicted by defective products, including dangerous equipment like child ATVs or defective amusement park rides. Drownings are also common for children who are poorly supervised at swimming pools and water parks.
- Elder abuse is another common scenario for wrongful death cases. Nursing homes can be negligent in their providing of medications and basic needs. They may also fail to supervise an individual capable of wandering onto public roads or entering spaces with hazards, like kitchens or balconies.
- Some wrongful death claims are the result of a fatal injury inflicted by a defective product, including medical devices, ATVs, aircraft, exercise equipment, ladders, and home-building materials.
- Construction site accidents often prove to be fatal, for both workers and innocent bystanders. Many of these accidents can be traced back to hazardous equipment or lax safety practices on the part of contractor foreman, sub-contractor groups, or property owners.
Other defendants may be named jointly or separately in a claim. Simply put, any act of negligence, gross negligence, recklessness, or intentional harm can be considered grounds for a wrongful death claim.
Statute of Limitations for Fresno Wrongful Death Claims
California’s statute of limitations for wrongful death and personal injury claims is two years. This period begins from the date of the death. It may be extended if the surviving claimants were unable to fully discover or understand the circumstances leading to their loved one’s death, or if the only available claimant is a minor under age 18.
Survival action claims also have a two-year statute of limitations, which begins six months from the day of the decedent’s death.
How a Fresno Wrongful Death Attorney Can Assist You
Wrongful death cases are likely to be lengthy and require substantial back-and-forth negotiations. During this trying time, you and your family members are likely to feel physically and emotionally exhausted. You may also have limited legal knowledge, meaning it can be difficult to establish the grounds for your claim based on the essential provings of negligence outlined above.
Hiring an experienced wrongful death lawyer from Singh Ahluwalia means you have an entire legal team at your side to assist. They can help you manage all the steps of your claim while handling the often-stressful process of negotiating for a fair settlement.
Your attorney and their team will put every effort into investigating the circumstances of your loved one’s death, including hiring medical experts or crash reconstruction forensics professionals. In many cases, we will file a lawsuit on your behalf so that we can request information from the party accused of fault, including corporate records, CCTV footage, correspondence, cell phone data, and more.
Since the value of wrongful death cases is high, insurers and others named in your claim will often present a settlement offer far lower than the full value of the damages suffered. A Fresno wrongful death lawyer will ensure that the full costs of medical treatment and lost income are accounted for, reducing the risk that your family will be in a financially vulnerable situation soon after the settlement money is recovered.
In the event that your case goes to trial, we are fully prepared to represent you in court in front of a jury. Every case is built from the ground up with the expectation that it could someday need to be presented in court. This strategy increases the odds that the named parties will be willing to settle, and it reduces the risk of them filing frivolous countersuits or leveling weak defenses against your claim.
In short, the Fresno attorneys at Singh Ahluwalia do everything possible to lower the burden on your family while increasing the potential value of the final award or settlement you receive. Nothing can replace the life of the loved one you have lost, but at very least your family can ensure that they are cared for financially, just as your loved one would have wanted.
Work With Attorneys Who Care About Your Family’s Financial Future
Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law makes it our goal to provide our clients with peace of mind. We walk you through every step of the claims and litigation process, keeping you informed of your options and in control of the most important decisions of your case.
You are suffering greatly during this time but don’t have to suffer financially. Let us assist you with seeking to restore the financial stability of your family in the wake of the tragic and unexpected death you have experienced.