A wrongful death occurs when a person’s negligent or willful conduct leads to someone’s death.
California permits designated survivors to file a wrongful death lawsuit after the passing of a loved one to recover financial compensation for this loss.
While no amount of money could ever replace the loss of someone special, obtaining compensation often assists survivors in moving forward in their life after such a devastating experience.
If you lost a loved one due to wrongful death, you might feel confused about finding the right lawyer. Read on to learn six ways to find the best wrongful death lawyer and what you are entitled to recover in a wrongful death lawsuit.
6 Ways to Find the Best Wrongful Death Lawyer
Are you wondering how to find a wrongful death attorney? Here are six things to look for when trying to find the right lawyer for you.
1. Choose an Experienced Lawyer
While years of experience may be impressive, you also want to ensure that your potential attorney has experience practicing personal injury law—specifically wrongful death cases.
Your wrongful death attorney should understand this complex area of law and how to place you at an advantage to guarantee a successful path forward.
2. Trust Your Instincts
When you meet with potential attorneys, trust your instincts. If an attorney rubs you the wrong way or feels like they are not a good fit, go with those feelings and keep looking.
You need to be comfortable with the person representing you. Additionally, ensure you can communicate effectively with your potential attorney.
Open communication channels and access to your attorney are vital to the success of your case. During your consultation, if you find it difficult to communicate with your potential attorney, or if you feel like they are not listening or might be hard to reach when you need information, you might want to keep looking.
A good attorney will be available when needed and will keep you informed throughout the process.
3. Costs and Fees
Survivors experiencing the reality of wrongful death and the loss of a loved one may feel overwhelmed by the idea of hiring a wrongful death attorney.
The loved one may have been the sole breadwinner for a family, leaving the survivors in financial distress. Hiring an attorney may seem entirely out of the question, even if it means pursuing compensation against the party that caused the death.
Ask a potential attorney about their fees and costs for your case. Most personal injury attorneys take cases on a contingency basis, which means you pay nothing unless your lawyer obtains a judgment or settlement in your case.
In other words, you don’t pay the lawyer until the lawyer secures money on your behalf. Then, your lawyer takes a percentage of whatever compensation you are awarded.
This may alleviate some financial concerns. But be sure to carefully review what percentage of any award an attorney requests in their fee agreement.
4. Get Answers to the Right Questions
Asking helpful and direct questions provides information that may make it easier to decide on the right attorney for you. Let’s look at some helpful questions to ask a potential attorney.
- How many years have you been practicing personal injury law?
- How much of your practice focuses on personal injury law and wrongful death claims?
- What is your track record of success in wrongful death claims, and do you have any testimonials or references to share?
- How many of your cases have settled, and how many have gone to trial?
- How do you handle client communications, i.e., how long will it take for you to call me back to answer any questions that come up?
Answers to these questions may distinguish some attorneys over others.
5. Get a Case Assessment
In your initial meetings with potential attorneys, obtain an initial case assessment of your wrongful death lawsuit. Ask them what they think your case might be worth and why they reached that amount.
Most experienced attorneys understand that each case presents its unique facts and circumstances. However, an initial case review may give you insight into how a specific lawyer would handle your case.
6. Look for Skill
Even if most personal injury lawsuits settle out of court, you must ensure you retain an attorney with a wide skill set. Ensure your lawyer is a skilled negotiator and understands the facts needed to give you the upper hand.
Additionally, your attorney should be prepared to fully litigate your case at trial if negotiations fail to progress.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit
In a wrongful death lawsuit, California law permits survivors to recover economic and noneconomic damages.
Economic damages include tangible losses that are easy to calculate based on invoices, receipts, and pay stubs. These damages represent the following losses:
- Medical expenses up to the decedent’s death,
- The financial support the deceased would have contributed to the family if they had lived,
- The loss of gifts or benefits the heirs would have expected to receive from the decedent, and
- Funeral and burial expenses.
This is not an exhaustive list, but it gives you an idea of what you can expect to recover.
Noneconomic damages represent subjective losses related to death. These damages include the following:
- The loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, and moral support provided by the decedent;
- The loss of consortium; and
- The loss of the decedent’s training and guidance.
Recovering compensatory damages without an attorney is challenging. Don’t miss out on what you and your surviving family members need to move forward and begin healing.
What Is the Statute of Limitation on Wrongful Death Cases?
The statute of limitations is the period defined by law during which you have the right to file your lawsuit. A failure to file your lawsuit within this statutory period bars you from filing at a later date.
In California, the wrongful death statute of limitations is two years from the date of death. While two years may seem like plenty of time, this period comes and goes quickly, especially when trying to hash out a settlement agreement before filing in court.
Your attorney keeps track of these procedural deadlines to ensure you never miss your opportunity to recover compensation for your loss.
At the Weinberg Law Offices, we work tirelessly to ensure you are compensated to the fullest extent possible. Our wrongful death attorneys are experienced in personal injury cases and understand what is at stake.
We keep you informed through every phase of your case, including settlement offers. Our ultimate mission is to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
If any party isn’t willing to give you that, we are prepared to take your case to trial. Contact the Weinberg Law Offices today for a free case review and learn how we can help you!