North Hollywood Wrongful Death Attorney
Losing a loved one is an emotionally devastating experience. But it’s all the more painful when that loss results from someone else’s bad behavior. If this has happened to you, then your loved one deserves justice, and you deserve to have the financial security to rebuild your life and prepare for the future. A wrongful death lawsuit can provide you with both.
Attorney Sean Shamsi has a proven history of fighting for those who have suffered due to the negligence or harmful actions of others. He has successfully recovered tens of millions of dollars for accident victims, all while offering the personal touch that only a boutique firm can provide.
Let Sean be the voice you need when you need one most. Contact The Shamsi Law Firm, APC for your free consultation today to learn what a wrongful death lawyer in North Hollywood can do for you.
What Are the Common Causes of Wrongful Death?
California allows lawsuits to be brought for “the death of a person caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another.” While the term “wrongful act or neglect” can describe a wide range of underlying causes, some of the most common include the following:
- Motor Vehicle Accidents – Collisions involving cars, motorcycles, trucks, bicycles, or pedestrians result in thousands of fatalities every year.
- Product Defects – Malfunctioning or poorly designed products like motor vehicles, household appliances, and toys can cause fatal injuries.
- Unsafe Premises – When property owners or occupiers don’t take care of their premises, they put lawful visitors at risk of fatal injury.
- Acts of Violence – Those who assault or attack others can be held responsible if their actions have fatal consequences.
- Hazardous Exposure – Exposure to toxic chemicals, materials, or environments can contribute to life-threatening conditions.
- Nursing Home Abuse – The elderly are particularly vulnerable, and negligence or abuse in a nursing home setting can lead to fatal complications.
What Must I Prove in a California Wrongful Death Case?
To win your California wrongful death case, you and your lawyer must prove that another party contributed to your loved one’s death, and as a result, you suffered financial and emotional losses. The following types of evidence could be helpful in establishing these facts:
- Medical Records – These can illustrate the cause of death and potentially link it to the other party’s actions or inaction.
- Eyewitness Testimonies – Statements from people who witnessed the incident can provide valuable insights into how it unfolded.
- Expert Testimonies – Medical experts, accident reconstruction specialists, and other professionals can offer reliable opinions that support your case.
- Police and Accident Reports – If police were dispatched to the scene of the incident, the responding officers should have compiled a report that could contain valuable corroborating information.
- Photographs and Video Footage – Visual evidence from the scene of the incident or surveillance cameras can serve as compelling proof of what transpired.
- Financial Documents – Pay stubs, tax returns, and other financial records can quantify the extent of lost income resulting from the wrongful death.
- Correspondence – Emails, text messages, or other written communications could reveal information about the defendant’s actions, state of mind, or awareness of risk.
- Social Media Posts – Posts or comments on social media platforms might provide evidence regarding the defendant’s conduct or your relationship with the deceased.
- Physical Evidence – Objects from the scene, such as damaged vehicles in a car accident case, can be pivotal in demonstrating the circumstances leading to the death.
- Personal Diaries or Journals – In some cases, the deceased’s own written accounts can shed light on their experiences or suffering prior to death.
What Compensation Is Recoverable in a Wrongful Death Claim?
By pursuing a wrongful death claim in California, you can demand the party at fault for your loved one’s death compensate you for the following:
- Funeral and Burial Costs: The costs of laying the deceased to rest, such as the costs of funeral services, burial, or cremation.
- Lost Financial Support: The loss of earnings that the deceased would have likely provided over a lifetime, including their salary and other forms of income like bonuses and benefits.
- Loss of Gifts and Benefits: The items that the deceased would have given to the survivors.
- Lost Household Services: The value of the non-market work the deceased performed for the maintenance of the household.
In addition to these economic losses, you can also seek compensation for the loss of the deceased’s companionship, love, protection, society, affection, and marital relations.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in California?
In California, the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit is not available to everyone. Under state law, only the following individuals may file a wrongful death claim:
Those with Primary Rights
- The Decedent’s Immediate Family – This includes the decedent’s surviving spouse or domestic partner. Domestic partners include those who were in registered domestic partnerships with the deceased at the time of death.
- Children – The decedent’s children and the children of any of the decedent’s deceased children.
- Intestate Successors – If the decedent left no direct descendants, then those who would be entitled to the decedent’s property under intestate succession laws can file.
- Legal Guardians – If both parents of the decedent would be entitled to bring an action but are also deceased, then the decedent’s legal guardians may file the lawsuit.
Dependents and Others with Special Consideration
- Putative Spouse – This refers to someone who believed in good faith that they were married to the decedent, even if the marriage turned out to be void or voidable.
- Children of the Putative Spouse, Stepchildren, and Parents – These individuals can file if they were dependent on the decedent.
- Minors with Specific Residency and Dependency – Minors who lived in the decedent’s household for at least 180 days prior to the decedent’s death and were dependent on the decedent for half or more of their support.
How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Paid Out?
In wrongful death cases, settlements or trial awards are usually paid in one of two ways: lump-sum payments or structured settlements.
A lump-sum payment offers immediate access to funds, which can be essential for covering urgent costs like funeral expenses. However, liable parties without access to considerable liquid funds might be less willing to offer a lump sum payment.
Structured settlements, on the other hand, involve more consistent payments over an extended period. This long-term financial stability can make budgeting easier. However, the drawback here is the lack of flexibility and freedom of choice. A knowledgeable lawyer can help you determine the best way to arrange your payout in light of all these considerations.
As to how settlements and awards are distributed to beneficiaries, they typically adhere to either the stipulations in the deceased’s will or state laws. Moreover, the court might have a say in the distribution, especially in contentious cases where the deceased’s wishes are unclear. Therefore, it’s advisable to consult a legal professional to ensure the award distribution in your wrongful death case adheres to legal requirements and all beneficiaries’ needs.
How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in California?
Under the California statute of limitations, you have two years from the date of the individual’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. So, even if your loved one got hurt in an accident and died much later, the filing window still begins on the date of their death.
If you’re considering a lawsuit, prompt action is essential. Missing the two-year deadline means that the court can refuse to hear your case, regardless of its merits. Waiting too long could mean forfeiting your right to seek compensation for your wrongful death claim. Remember, these cases take time to prepare, so time is of the essence.
A skilled attorney can help you gather the necessary evidence and complete all required paperwork to file your claim on time. With so many legal hurdles and emotional challenges involved in wrongful death cases, professional guidance can make all the difference in ensuring your claim is timely and sound.
How a North Hollywood Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help You
Having a skilled lawyer at your side can make a significant difference in the outcome of your North Hollywood wrongful death case. Sean Shamsi can help you by:
- Investigating your loved one’s death to identify liable parties and uncover evidence
- Calculating and demanding the full amount of compensation to which you’re entitled
- Hiring expert witnesses to testify on your behalf
- Communicating with other parties, opposing counsel, and court officials on your behalf
- Negotiating with insurance companies to secure fair compensation
- Advising you on whether to accept a settlement offer or proceed to trial
- Preparing and filing all court documents to initiate a lawsuit if necessary
- Representing your claim in court and demanding justice before a judge and jury
The Shamsi Law Firm, APC works on a contingency-fee basis, which means you pay nothing unless Sean is successful in getting you full and fair compensation. You have nothing to lose to get started and everything to gain if your case reaches a settlement or a successful trial verdict.
Contact a Wrongful Death Lawyer in North Hollywood Today
The Shamsi Law Firm, APC is ready to help you fight for justice and financial compensation for your loss. Don’t let another day pass without taking action. Reach out to North Hollywood wrongful death attorney Sean Shamsi for a free consultation to discuss the specifics of your case.