Pursuing Justice for a Wrongful Death

Police tape blocking the scene of an accident.

A wrongful death claim can be brought when a person dies due to the legal fault of another. These types of claims involve all types of fatal accidents, including auto, truck, bicycle, motorcycle, as well as product liability or dangerous property and roadway conditions.

Attorney Scott Sumner is an expert wrongful death lawyer in Walnut Creek, CA, who can help you hold the individuals, companies, or governmental agencies at fault legally liable for the actions or failures to act which resulted in the death of a loved one. Wrongful death claims seek compensation for lost relationships, companionship, and lost wages or benefits of the deceased, as well as the cost of a funeral and other resulting expenses. While money cannot make up for the devastating loss of a loved one, it can help to ease the financial burden. 

In certain cases, persons who suffer a financial loss by the victim’s death can bring a wrongful death suit even though they are not related by marriage or blood.

Who Can File for a Wrongful DEath Suit?

Wrongful death lawsuits must be filed by a representative on behalf of the survivors who suffer from the person’s death. These parties are known as the real parties in interest. Parties may include immediate family members (spouse, children, parents, siblings), financial dependents, and life partners. For example, a grandparent raising a child may be able to bring an action. In certain cases, persons who suffer a financial loss by the victim’s death can bring a wrongful death suit even though they are not related by marriage or blood.

Wrongful death lawsuits can be brought against a wide variety of entities. Defendants might include the builder of a faulty roadway, manufacturer of a faulty vehicle part or household product, the driver of an automobile, persons who sold or served alcohol to an impaired driver, the owner of the premises where the fatality occurred, and more. If your loved one was the victim of a hit and run bicycle accident, Mr. Sumner will work tirelessly to bring the driver to justice.

Types of Damages 

The three types of damages in a wrongful death lawsuit include:

  • Economic: Economic damages generally include the loss of the victim’s expected earnings and benefits, such as medical coverage or pension plans, as well as the medical expenses connected to their death. 
  • Non-economic: Although non-economic damages are less tangible, these damages have more value than economic damages. Examples include mental anguish, loss of care, loss of love and loss of consortium from a deceased spouse. 
  • Punitive: Punitive damages may be awarded to punish the defendant for bad conduct, such as nursing home elder abuse.

The Phases of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit: Pre-Trial, Litigation and Settlement

During the pre-trial phase, your personal injury attorney will commence a full investigation into what led to the death. He or she will also gather evidence and put the responsible parties on notice. Sometimes, cases are settled during the pre-trial phase. It’s also not uncommon for cases to be settled during the litigation phase. This is because both parties then have a better idea of the facts and what witnesses will say. Oddly enough, wrongful death lawsuits have even been settled while the jury is deliberating over the verdict.

Contact Our Practice Today

Since wrongful death lawsuits often involve complex areas of law, it’s wise to hire a knowledgeable and experienced attorney like Scott Sumner. Reach out to our practice today to schedule a consultation and discuss your case with a professional.