How to prove that someone or something else is responsible for the death of another is a complicated matter best left to an attorney. Even if the liability is very apparent and you are getting immediate settlement offers, you will want to speak with an attorney to make sure that the amount the other party is offering is the amount that you should be taking. In most of those clear cut liability cases, the other party (usually an insurance company) is trying to make you take a low ball offer and an experienced California wrongful death attorney can help make sure that does not happen to you or your family. Whatever your situation, the lawyers at Walch Law Firm are here to help you throughout the entire process. We know that this is a confusing time and we can help take away your legal and financial worries as well as help you connect with the resources you need during this time.
So how do you go about proving liability in a California wrongful death case? It depends on who the responsible party or parties is that caused the death. For instance, in a medical malpractice case it may be that the doctor and the hospital share in liability. Or in a car accident the liable party would be the other driver but paid by his or her insurance company. Establishing liability is the first step in this important process of successfully proving liability in a wrongful death case.
Proving Necessary Duty of Care
Once we know the party or parties that we will be building your case against comes the very important part of proving that there was a duty of care that was not met and ultimately caused or contributed to the death of your loved one. Here's that very full sentence broken down for you some more:
- Duty of care- If you are just starting to read about the confusing world of personal injury and wrongful death law then you probably see this legal standard written about everywhere. And that is because it is an extremely important starting element of any wrongful death or personal injury case. Duty of care is the legal obligation individuals and companies have not to cause harm to others. This important requirement changes depending on the party and the circumstances an without a duty of care you do not have a case. In a car accident wrongful death case, the defendant driver had a duty of care to follow all of the rules of the road and drive with caution for others. When dealing with medical deaths, the doctor had a duty of care to meet and follow the customary standard of care for their specialty and the procedure they are performing.
- Breach- Once the duty of care has been established, we then show how the defendant in your case fell short of it. In some instances this breach of duty is obvious (i.e. drunk driving) and in some instances it is much less obvious or the deceased was also partially responsible for their injuries. In both of those instances, you still have a case...it's just more complicated.
- Causation- While the important element of causation seems like it would be covered by breach, it is actually a separate element that requires proof that the defendant's breach of their duty of care caused (or helped to contribute) the death of your loved one. A popular way to understand causation is to use the "but for" logic-- "but for" the defendant's actions the death of the deceased would not have happened.
What Happens When Multiple Parties Had A Duty?
There are straightforward wrongful death cases and there are complicated ones. The good news is that we have seen and successfully handled lots of each. So what happens when there's more than one party that is or should be held responsible for the death? California is a comparative negligence state when it comes to assigning fault in personal injury cases. It is the same analysis requirements listed out above for each and every responsible party. While the various parties may have different duties of care, etc in order to ultimately hold each party financially responsible for the death, proving duty, breach and causation must occur. When it comes to the financial responsibility for multiple party wrongful death lawsuits, responsibility is usually calculated based on the percentage of fault.
What Happens When The Deceased Was Partially Responsible for Their Death?
Even if the deceased is partially responsible for their own death, you can still recover from the other party responsible for the death. This is a very common misconception that ultimately ends up costing families of the deceased the opportunity to financially recover from the other party because they wrongly assume that they do not have a case. Known as comparative negligence, the state of California adopted this very important standard of responsibility allocation back in 1975. The basic premise of comparative negligence in California as it relates to wrongful death cases is both simple and logical-- parties in personal injury cases should be responsible for their percentage of fault. What this interpretation of accidents and deaths means is that even if the deceased is more than 50% responsible for their own death, their family can recover the remaining percentage from the other responsible party.
As you can see, proving liability in a wrongful death lawsuit is not a one-step process but multiple steps and depends on the circumstances of the case. For this reason and many others, it is always a good idea to work with an experienced wrongful death attorney. If you are dealing with an unjustified killing, please give us a call today to discuss the matter further. We are available 24/7 and have the experience you want fighting for your rights.
Nine Reasons To Choose Us
When looking for a California wrongful death lawyer, you want a law firm that can get you the money you deserve. At Walch Law, we don't just meet our clients' expectations, we exceed them. We win over 95% of our cases and will work hard to get you the same great results we have gotten for so many of our happy clients. When it comes to handing a California wrongful death case, resolving your case as quickly as possible for as much money as possible is how we approach every case.
Founding partner Gary Walch started this law firm to help people in your very situation. With over forty years of experience, you can feel confident that when you hire Walch Law Firm, you are benefiting from his years of experience. Robert Walch has been with the firm since 2000 and has a track record of success, as does the rest of the highly qualified staff at Walch Law. A family firm with the resources of a big law firm means you get the best of both worlds.
There are lots of law firms that will happily take your business but very few will deliver results and handle your case the way that we do. We understand and respect how difficult this time is for you and our family. When you hire Walch Law Firm you are hiring a family firm that you can trust. We have a stellar reputation within the legal community and among our clients.
DON\'T DELETEContingency Fee
For many individuals and families following a death it is not just an emotional time but a stressful financial time as well—hiring an attorney should help relieve this financial stress which is why you hire us on a contingency fee arrangement. Translation: you don't pay for any fees or costs associated with your case until you get paid. We have the financial resources of a large law firm but the accessible environment of a small firm meaning your case won't get lost in the shuffle.
Whenever you are ready, we are available to talk and this open and available communication model is something that our clients enjoy until their case is closed. We keep you informed and updated on your case every step of the way, always explain what's happening in plain English and ultimately deliver on our promise to get you paid.
DON\'T DELETERecent Victories
Winning over 95% of our cases means that you can feel very confident when you hire us to help with your case. Some of our recent victories include a $5,000,000+ settlement for a car accident, $1,250,000 settlement for a wrongful death pedestrian case and $2,500,000 for injuries related to a subway accident.
First and foremost, you are suffering a major traumatic loss and we understand that. We can help with counseling, medical professionals and other important resources during this time. Your focus should be on dealing with this loss, let us take care of all the legal details.
DON\'T DELETEFamily Firm
There are small firms that might not be able to front the costs of your case and there are big law firms that will easily take your case but lack any type of personal touch (and you might have trouble hearing back from them when you want to) and then there's Walch Law Firm. We can handle any case and pride ourselves on our accessibility to clients. Father-son duo Gary & Robert Walch treat everyone like family and this personal touch is something that our clients as well as our employees constantly comment on and appreciate!
DON\'T DELETESe Habla Espanol!
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