Wrongful Death Lawyers in Ventura Helping Your Family Seek Justice
Craig Murphy is a wrongful death lawyer in Ventura who 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 would never have the need to visit this section of my website. Unfortunately, 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 existing laws and the court system. In doing so, I may be able to help bring some form of compensation for the financial burdens, 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 method of standing up for their rights may be the criminal justice system. But sometimes, this isn’t possible due to no law being broken or a lack of evidence that could lead to 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 to offer some form of compensation for the surviving victims of a wrongful death action. These damages can help compensate you for a variety of 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 high emotions and substantial compensation at stake, taking legal action for wrongful death can be an intense, complex, and confusing process. But the right Ventura wrongful death attorney can make this process a little bit more bearable and ensure you get the most out 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 certain level of competence (also known as a standard of care). Should a patient die as a result of the physician not meeting this standard of care, the doctor may be considered negligent.
Other wrongful acts can include recklessness and intentional conduct. Wrongful death due to intentional conduct is exactly what it sounds like: someone’s purposeful actions lead to the death of another human. Recklessness can be viewed as something that lies between intentional conduct and negligence. A good example of reckless conduct might be someone who shoots a gun near a crowd of people, intending to scare them — but instead ends up killing someone. This is an action that the shooter clearly knew was dangerous but engaged in any way. 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. Instead, the focus is on providing compensation for the surviving close family members of the person who has died.
Regardless of your specific situation, having a team of wrongful death lawyers in Ventura on your side is ideal. Contact Murphy & Murphy Law Offices today for a free consultation.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The ability to bring a wrongful death lawsuit is limited to only a select group of people. While many individuals may be distraught over a loved one’s death, only certain family members of the deceased person can successfully file a legal action. The primary group will be the following immediate close family members:
- Spouse (or domestic partner)
In certain instances, California civil procedure does allow certain other individuals to 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
There are several factors that will dictate whether someone in this second group can receive financial support after losing their loved one. For instance, a claim may be able to move forward if 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 Claim
Damages in wrongful death lawsuits compensate surviving family members for both tangible and intangible financial losses. Examples of tangible financial losses include:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral and burial costs
- 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
What is the Statute of Limitations in a California Wrongful Death Case?
There is a deadline dictating how long someone can wait before filing a wrongful death claim. Unless an exception applies, these lawsuits must begin within two years of the death of the decedent. Possible exceptions aren’t very common and are sometimes difficult to obtain, so it’s important to make sure any legal claim is brought on time.
A personal injury attorney from Ventura can ensure paperwork gets filed on time, but this doesn’t mean you should procrastinate on taking action. If you speak with 50 different wrongful death lawyers, all 50 will tell you that waiting decreases your chances of success. Evidence becomes harder to gather as time passes, so the quicker you take action, the better your likelihood of recovering fair compensation.
Looking for a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Ventura, CA?
If you’ve lost a loved one due to the recklessness or negligence of another party, nothing can replace what was taken away from you. By filing a wrongful death claim, however, you can hold those responsible for your loss accountable. Unfortunately, it’s a near certainty that insurance companies and liable entities will fight to avoid paying compensation related to fatal accidents. Even if they understand that the loss of your family member was due to their (or their client’s) negligence, they also understand that wrongful death law provides significant financial remedies for victims and their families.
Liable parties and insurance companies will fight wrongful death cases tooth and nail, so you need a California law firm that will do the same for you. At Murphy & Murphy Law Offices, our personal injury attorneys have decades of experience in these types of cases. Receiving compensation for a preventable accident that stole your loved one away can be a daunting task. With a wrongful death lawyer in Ventura on your side, though, your chances of holding liable parties accountable and receiving compensatory damages are significantly increased.
Contact us today by calling (805) 330-3393 for a free consultation. We can help you better understand your rights and how you should move forward after your loss.