Wrongful Death Cases in San Diego, Orange County and Palm Springs – Considerations in Making a Wrongful Death Claim in California

When there has been the loss of a loved one and the grieving process is still ongoing, I’m often asked by family members who have lost a loved one in a wrongful death auto accident or other type of car accident, whether it’s right to make a wrongful death claim. Whether the wrongful death incident has occurred in San Diego, California, Long Beach, CA, Santa Ana, Anaheim, Riverside, Chula Vista, Irvine, San Bernardino, Huntington Beach, Fontana, Moreno Valley, Oceanside, Rancho Cucamonga or Ontario, and whether the loss results from an auto, motorcycle, truck, pedestrian, bicycle, train or bus accident, my answer as a wrongful death attorney and lawyer is usually the same. What I usually tell clients is that if they believe that their loved one would have wanted them to be well cared for and the death of their loved one was unfair or unjust, they should make a claim. While it’s true that no amount of money will ever make up for the loss of someone you love, it’s not right that an insurance company which insured against such an event happening should keep money that would otherwise go to the family of the person who has passed away. While a lawsuit, by virtue of the court rules, must name the other driver or the person who caused the death of a loved one, if they are insured, it is the insurance company that steps in and both defends that person and pays any judgment or settlement. I do not believe in revenge for any reason, so if the person who caused the death of another is uninsured, I don’t believe that the family who lost someone should go after the other uninsured driver just out of revenge. Besides the fact that it will be costly to do so, it is also just too easy for a person who has been sued and who has no insurance to avoid paying any judgment by hiding their money, declaring bankruptcy or moving to a state like Texas or Florida where a home can be homesteaded and thereby protect a large amount of money. But assuming that the person who caused the death of your family member was insured, think about whether your loved one would have wanted you to be taken care of and happy in coming years. While a wrongful death claim sometimes can’t be settled without litigation, when that litigation is over, there is usually some closure and a great relief that may not be there if you just continue to think about how unfair your loved one’s death was. Never let any friends or neighbors push you into something you’re not ready for. Let your friends know that you are still grieving and that you will do or not do what you feel is right when you are ready to face that hurdle. If they are truly your friends, they should know that they need to give you some space and time to grasp and deal with the loss you are faced with. In California, you have a two year statute of limitations to file a wrongful death lawsuit. But you have only six months to file a claim if a public entity is involved and delay in speaking with an attorney can make it difficult to obtain evidence such as vehicle skid marks after it rains.
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