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.
California 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
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 who manufactured the product can be held liable for compensation.
Defective products that can cause death include:
- Auto parts (airbags, seatbelts, brakes)
- Medical devices
- Child toys
Work Related Accidents
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, 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:
- Fires and burns
- Exposure to harmful chemicals
- Malfunctioning equipment
- Scaffolding collapses
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 cause injuries and death. Medical malpractice can lead to instances of:
- Birth injuries
- Anesthesia errors
- Wrongful or over prescribing medication
- Defective equipment
- Surgical error
- 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.
Steps to Take in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
There are multiple steps that lead to compensation in a wrongful death claim. In order 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 lawsuit is filed against 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 decisions on the outcome of the case will be made by the jury. 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 circumstances. Most commonly, we see settlement come in one of the following four stages:
- Pre-litigation. Settlement can occur in this stage after both sides have had the chance to review 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 being deliberated over. Not every time does the jury make a decision 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 in a Wrongful Death Claim?
At the Law Offices of Mickey Fine, we provide families the space they need to grieve while we take legal action to seek wrongful death damages including:
- Related medical expenses
- End of life expenses
- Projected future earnings
- Projected future financial contributions to family and household expenses
- Insurance coverage and retirement plans
- Loss of a loved one
- Emotional duress
These damages typically exceed insurance offerings for 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 a wrongful death, and is not exhaustive. There are many other scenarios 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 a 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 Attorney?
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.
Mickey Fine has successfully assisted surviving family members collect damages including:
- All related medical and end of life expenses
- Current and projected future wages
- Insurance continuation, IRAs, and fully matured retirement payments
- Projected financial contributions to family expenses
In addition, our 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.