Losing a loved one in an accident can have a profound effect on an entire family. When a loved one dies in this manner, you need an experienced Bakersfield wrongful death attorney on your side to ensure your family is both protected and provided with the justice you are due.
Bakersfield wrongful death lawyer, Mickey Fine, understands how difficult this period in your life can be. He is prepared to handle the legal aspects of your case, protect your family against greedy insurance companies, and fight to get you the compensation you will require to carry on.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death in Bakersfield
According to research, the rate of premature Bakersfield deaths is on the rise. Data from the CDC shows that Kern County residents are facing earlier deaths now than a decade ago. While all of the factors contributing to this trend are too numerous to analyze here, the following are some of the more common causes of wrongful death that might take someone’s life prematurely.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
In 2016, there were a total of 3,680 motor vehicle accident deaths in the state of California. According to the National Safety Council, that was an increase of 13 percent from 2015. According to the same study, nationally, motor vehicle accident deaths rose 6% from 2015. Since 2015, California has also seen an increase in motor vehicle deaths caused by drivers being under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
A substantial percentage of wrongful death cases stem from motor vehicle accidents. Statistics from the NHTSA reveal that around 40,000 people in the United States die each year due to accidents on the road. The family members of these victims can seek financial compensation from negligent parties in truck, motorcycle, or car accidents.
Defective Product Accidents
Product liability laws exist to hold manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and product designers liable for producing and selling dangerous products. Manufacturers have a lawful obligation to ensure that the products they release to the public are safe. If there is a defect in a product having to do with its design or functionality, and someone dies because of the defect, the company that manufactured the product can be held liable for compensation.
Accidents happen in the workplace all too often. The construction, oil, and electrical industries all come with dangerous working conditions. Industry workers are usually around harmful chemicals and heavy machinery and are exposed to situations in which serious injuries or death could occur.
Common situations in which a defective product in the workplace can end in a fatality include:
All doctors, nurses, physicians, physician’s assistants, other medical personnel, and medical facilities have a lawful obligation to provide the utmost quality care to their patients. Unfortunately, there are instances when medical malpractice occurs. This happens when a medical professional breaches their duty of providing quality care to a patient and causes injuries and death. Medical malpractice can lead to instances of:
Wrongful or overprescribing medication
Nursing home abuse
When the loved one of a family dies due to the malpractice of a medical professional, the surviving family members of the deceased are entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit. A Bakersfield medical malpractice attorney can investigate the circumstances of your case and consult with outside experts and physicians to provide staunch evidence supporting your claim.
Steps to Take in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
There are multiple steps that lead to compensation for a wrongful death claim. For a family of the deceased to receive compensation for the loss of their loved one, the phases of pre-litigation, litigation, and settlement are to be navigated. All three phases require careful investigation and the help of an experienced wrongful death attorney like Mickey Fine.
Pre-Litigation in a Wrongful Death Claim
This is the first step in a wrongful death lawsuit. The representative of the deceased must complete tasks that include:
Setting up the estate at the courthouse of the county in which the deceased lived. Wrongful death attorney Mickey Fine will be able to help with this.
Next, allow Mickey Fine to conduct a thorough investigation into the accident that led to the death of your loved one. It is important to hire an attorney quickly. If the evidence is fresh, the easier it will be to prove your loved one’s case.
Once Mickey Fine has gathered all the necessary evidence in your loved one’s case, he will help you pursue liable parties for compensation. The parties that you pursue will be put on notice, and their insurance information will be obtained.
Litigation in a Wrongful Death Claim
If the claim is unable to settle without the plaintiff suing, a wrongful death lawsuit is filed against the responsible parties by the deceased person’s representative. This usually begins with a Writ of Summons being filed and served upon the defendant(s) in the case. This is the second step in a wrongful death lawsuit. The following steps will be taken:
In the pre-trial phase of a lawsuit, parties will educate the judge about the case at hand. A jury will then be selected, and the judge will often have a meeting with the attorneys involved in the case.
In the trial phase, cases are presented to the judge and jury. The case will proceed, and the jury will make decisions on the outcome of the case. At this point, the case will usually be over.
In the post-trial phase, parties can appeal the outcome of the case or settle on the verdict.
Settlement in a Wrongful Death Claim
Settlement can come at any time in a wrongful death case, depending on the circumstances. Most commonly, we see settlement come in one of the following four stages:
Pre-litigation. Settlement can occur at this stage after both sides have had the chance to review the evidence and conduct thorough investigations of the circumstances of the case. A settlement will often occur before a Writ of Summons is legally filed.
Litigation. Settlements in this phase can occur after depositions have been completed. A settlement will often occur due to each side having a better understanding of the witnesses in the case and their credibility.
Pre-trial. Settlements in this phase are often due to the advisement of the judge assigned to the case.
Trial. Settlements in this phase can occur after evidence is presented, and the case is deliberated over. Not every time does the jury decide before a settlement is reached.
A wrongful death claim in Bakersfield requires you and your lawyer to navigate many important phases of the case. We recommended that if you lost a loved one due to another person’s negligence, you owe it to yourself and your family to hire wrongful death attorney Mickey Fine. Mickey is very familiar with all phases of wrongful death cases and will fight for your loved one to obtain rightful compensation for your family.
Compensation in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
When you have lost a loved one, financial compensation is seldom the first thing on your mind. However, it is necessary to consider the financial impact an untimely death will have on the future comfort and safety of your family.
What Compensation is Available for a Wrongful Death Claim?
At the Law Offices of Mickey Fine, our California wrongful death lawyers provide families the space they need to grieve while we take legal action to seek damages, including:
Related medical expenses
Loss of income from projected future earnings
Projected future financial contributions to family and household expenses
Insurance coverage and retirement plans
Loss of a loved one
These damages typically exceed insurance offerings for an untimely death and can help secure the future of families impacted by the loss of a loved one. During your free case evaluation at our Bakersfield office, Mickey Fine will carefully assess your case, discuss all of your options, and help you determine what you may be able to achieve through legal action.
Who is at Fault in A Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death case can be brought against many different entities, such as people, companies, government agencies, and others. As an example, if someone is involved in a car accident in Bakersfield that was caused by a pothole, their car lost control, and they consequently died, a wrongful death lawsuit can be brought against:
The builder of the roadway
A government entity that failed to provide adequate warnings of the road conditions
The government entity responsible for maintaining proper conditions for roadways
This is simply one scenario in which someone can be sued for wrongful death, and it is not exhaustive. There are many other scenarios that may allow for a wrongful death claim to be filed. Call Mickey Fine and allow him to help you determine whether or not your lost loved one has a case.
What is the One Action Rule?
In California, the party accused of being responsible for wrongful death cannot be sued multiple times by different family members. This is called the One Action Rule and can, to an extent, complicate legal proceedings. Under this rule, all eligible family members must be included in the initial action, and compensation must be divided fairly. Even when not directly involved in the claim, heirs and other eligible parties are entitled to a share of compensation. Mickey Fine will discuss this with you in greater detail during your initial consultation to help ensure no unforeseen problems arise.
To schedule your free consultation with California wrongful death attorney Mickey Fine, call (661) 333-3333 today.
Do I Need a Wrongful Death Lawyer?
After the untimely passing of a loved one, you may be faced with difficult decisions and several options as to how to proceed. Making legal and financial choices that will honor the departed while creating the best circumstances for the surviving family may bring up many questions for you. If you believe that the events that led to your loved one’s departure constitute wrongful death, you’ll want to know your options for legal recourse and ensure that you receive fair treatment during the process.
The best way to determine if you have a claim is to schedule a free case evaluation at the Law Offices of Mickey Fine. During this meeting, we can evaluate your claim, discuss your legal rights, and help you determine the most effective course of action.
Insurance continuation, IRAs, and fully matured retirement payments
Projected financial contributions to family expenses
In addition, our wrongful death attorney Mickey Fine can help you recover non-economic damages such as the emotional duress that follows the loss of a loved one.
Of course, no amount of money will bring your loved one back or replace the space they have left in your life, but seeking compensation through legal action can protect your family’s financial well-being and provide peace of mind well into the future.
If you have lost a loved one in an accident and live in or around Bakersfield, California, please contact the Law Offices of Mickey Fine today to learn more about your rights and wrongful death claim.
Law Offices of Mickey Fine – Bakersfield Office
930 Truxtun Ave, Suite 110
Bakersfield, CA 93301 (661) 333-3333
Commonly Asked Questions About Wrongful Death Claims in Bakersfield
How do I file a wrongful death claim in Bakersfield, CA?
In the state of California, wrongful death claims are typically filed by spouses/domestic partners or dependents. This includes children, stepchildren, and grandchildren. However, parents, grandparents, and other parties may also be eligible to seek compensation following the untimely death of a loved one.
Who will pay for my compensation in a wrongful death claim?
Who pays out your compensation in a wrongful death claim will vary based on whom the guilty party is. Regardless of who the guilty party is, however, you will almost always be cut a check from an insurance company. Often times these checks will be lower than you and your lost loved one deserves if you do not first consult Mickey Fine about the facts of your loved one’s case.
How much compensation am I entitled to in a wrongful death claim?
The amount of compensation available to your family in a wrongful death lawsuit depends largely on the circumstances of your loved one’s case. Because of this, it is extremely important to have an experienced wrongful death lawyer like Mickey Fine fighting on your side. With Mickey Fine fighting for your loved one, you can have faith that he will not stop until he gets your family the proper compensation.
How long will my wrongful death claim take to resolve?
It is hard to tell how long any given wrongful death case will take. Many of them are settled before trial, and others are settled before a lawsuit is filed. It is also not uncommon to see wrongful death cases take years to settle due to unforeseen developments. Because the time these cases take is often fluid, it is important that you know that you may have to wait for an extended period of time before your loved one’s case settles.
Should I accept an insurance settlement for my wrongful death claim?
It is always a good idea to consult with a skilled wrongful death attorney like Mickey Fine before accepting any insurance settlements for the loss of your loved one. It is important to remember that insurance companies have their shareholders and investors in mind and not you. Talk to Mickey Fine, who will put you and your loved one first before accepting a low insurance offer.
How long do I have to file a wrongful death claim in Bakersfield, CA?
Just like personal injury claims, the state of California has set a specific amount of time in which a family member can file a lawsuit on behalf of their lost loved one. California Law requires that a wrongful death claim be brought within two years of the event which led to the person’s death. If the family of the deceased does not bring a case forward in this set time period, they will lose out on any further opportunities to bring forth a case in the future.