Wrongful death is a relatively new development in common law: it is only within the last 100 years that courts have begun to recognize that a victim’s survivors should be allowed to seek financial recompense for their loss in a civil suit. As a result, wrongful death cases tend to have different rules in different states, and several legal points of contention that are still disputed.
If you are trying to deal with the emotional, financial, and legal fallout resulting from the unexpected loss of a loved one, you need a capable attorney on your side who is familiar with the legal background for wrongful death cases in California. Bakersfield wrongful death lawyer Mickey Fine has both the expertise and experience to protect your interests during this trying period in your life, and ensure that you receive the financial compensation you are owed under the law. Call his law offices at (661) 333-3333 to set up a free legal consultation.
California and the One Action Rule
One peculiarity of California wrongful death law is the “one-action rule,” which prevents the guilty party from being sued multiple times by different members of the deceased person’s family. Instead, all possible parties must join in a single wrongful death action against the responsible party.
This means that, in a California wrongful death suit:
- Anyone who files a suit has a mandatory duty to include all known heirs
- Any successful ruling will be awarded to the whole family, who must figure out how to divide the compensation
- If any heirs are unknowingly excluded from a wrongful death suit, they still have a legal right to any compensation awarded to the family
- If the family cannot figure out how to divide the compensation, they may have to go to court again to determine how it should be split up.
Because this rule creates so many potential legal complications, it is extremely helpful to hire an attorney with a background in wrongful death cases. Not only can a wrongful death lawyer anticipate many of the legal steps you’ll need to take, he can also help ensure that everybody in the family reaches an agreement on how to divide any judgment without incurring unnecessary additional legal fees.
Recent Challenges to the Law
Not only does the one-action rule make wrongful death cases more difficult to settle, the definitions of the law have recently seen some challenges. In the case Moody v. Bedford, an appeals court ruled that the one-action rule could be circumvented under certain complex legal circumstances.
The California Supreme Court later ordered the opinion to be depublished, meaning that it couldn’t be used as precedent in future suits, but the initial ruling shows that a wrongful death lawsuit can sometimes go through in circumstances where there isn’t much legal background. Often, it comes down to the facts of the case and the skill of the wrongful death attorney who presents that case.
A Lawyer You Can Count On
Mickey Fine is the wrongful death lawyer you want to represent your interests in a court of law. He will put in the work needed to give your case the best chance for success. And his thorough knowledge of and experience with California wrongful death law will prevent your case from tripping over a technicality.
If you have recently lost a loved one in any sort of accident, do not hesitate to contact Bakersfield wrongful death lawyer Mickey Fine. Call us at (661) 333-3333 to schedule your free legal consultation today. Mickey Fine handles cases in and around Bakersfield, California.