Ventura Wrongful Death Attorney
Ventura wrongful death attorney Craig Murphy offers compassionate representation for California families seeking restitution for the loss of a loved one. Call today for a free one-on-one consultation.
If you’re reading this page, let me begin by saying I’m sorry for your loss. If I had my way, you wouldn’t be reading this section of my website. But I can’t change what has happened or bring back your loved one. Instead, as an experienced Ventura wrongful death attorney, I can only make use of the existing laws and the court system to help bring some form of compensation for the financial burden, pain and anguish you must be going through.
Depending on who is responsible for the loss of your loved one and the circumstances surrounding their death, your primary avenue for justice will be the criminal justice system. But sometimes that isn’t possible because no law was broken or there isn’t enough evidence to obtain a conviction. However, this doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do.
That’s where the civil courts come in. Monetary damages are available in an attempt to compensate the surviving victims of a wrongful death tort. These damages can help compensate you for financial losses, such as funeral expenses, medical bills and lost income. All of the money in the world won’t be enough to fully compensate you for what you’re going through, but it’s all that’s available under our current civil court legal system.
If you’ve recently lost someone in the Ventura area you should consider consulting with a wrongful death attorney. With all of the emotions and money potentially at stake, taking legal action for wrongful death can be a quite intense, complex and confusing process. But the right Ventura wrongful death attorney can make this process a little bit more bearable and ensure you make the most of your legal rights.
Wrongful Death in California
Like other states, California provides a legal cause of action for the wrongful death of an individual. A death is considered “wrongful” if it’s due to the negligence or other wrongful conduct of another person.
Negligence refers to a situation where an individual breaches a legal duty. For example, a doctor has a legal duty to practice medicine with a minimal level of competence (also known as a standard of care). Should a patient die as a result of the doctor not meeting this standard of care, then the doctor may be considered negligent.
Other wrongful acts can include recklessness and intentional conduct. Wrongful death due to intentional conduct refers to exactly what it sounds like – someone’s purposeful actions leading to the death of another. Recklessness can be thought of somewhere in the middle between intentional conduct and negligence.
A good example of reckless conduct might be someone who shoots a gun into a crowd of people intending to scare them, but ends up killing someone. This is an action that the shooter clearly knew was dangerous, but did it anyway. However, they didn’t intend to actually kill anyone. Contrast this with someone in their backyard taking target practice and accidentally killing a neighbor when a stray bullet goes through the backstop. A court is more likely to find that this accidental death from target practice is the result of negligence rather than recklessness.
Unlike a criminal prosecution for murder, the primary purpose of a wrongful death action is not to punish the person responsible, but to compensate the surviving close family members of the person who has died.
Individuals Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The ability to bring a wrongful death lawsuit is limited to only a select group of people. The primary group will be the following immediate close family members:
- Spouse (or domestic partner).
In certain instances, other groups of people can bring a wrongful death lawsuit, including:
- Anyone who is in line to inherit the decedent’s property.
- The decedent’s putative spouse and children of the putative spouse.
Whether this second group can bring a wrongful death lawsuit will depend on several factors, such as whether there is a child, spouse or domestic partner capable of bringing the lawsuit or if someone was financially dependent on the decedent.
Damages Available in a Wrongful Death Legal Action
Wrongful death damages compensate the surviving family members for both tangible and intangible financial losses. Examples of tangible financial losses include:
- Medical expenses.
- Funeral expenses.
- Lost income, including future potential income.
Intangible financial losses include things like:
- Loss of affection and love from the decedent.
- Household services that the decedent would have provided had he or she lived.
Statute of Limitations
There is a deadline for which a wrongful death action must be brought. Unless an exception applies, a wrongful death lawsuit must begin within two years of the death of the decedent. These exceptions aren’t very common and are sometimes difficult to obtain, so it’s important to make sure any wrongful death lawsuit is brought on time.
Are You Looking for a Ventura Wrongful Death Attorney?
Let’s talk. Really, you and me. Call today for a free one-on-one consultation.
Follow Us for Daily Updates on Facebook