Wrongful Death Lawyer Costa Mesa
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Nothing strikes at the heart like the death of a loved one. In some cases, the death would never have happened except for the negligence, recklessness, or bad action of an individual or entity. California law entitles you to compensation if you have lost a loved one because of unjust circumstances.
Nordean Law specializes in California wrongful death lawsuits, ranging from traffic accidents to medical malpractice to workplace accidents. Success in a wrongful death case requires establishing liability through a thorough investigation, painstaking legal work, and aggressive courtroom representation. Nordean Law works tirelessly to get our clients the justice they deserve. And when we win our client’s cases, we pay them.
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What Is Wrongful Death?
California Code of Civil Procedure 377.60 CCP, also known as California’s wrongful death statute, provides the basis for family members to bring a wrongful death action against allegedly liable parties. Eligible plaintiffs include the following:
- Surviving spouse
- Domestic partner
To prevail in a wrongful death claim, plaintiffs must show that the defendant(s) caused or contributed to the decedent’s death through negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions.
For instance, a hospital administering a medication that triggered a deadly allergic reaction may face a wrongful death claim based on negligence. A driver who caused a fatal accident by speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, and tailgating may face a wrongful death claim for recklessness. Violent actions that result in death often bring about criminal charges and a wrongful death lawsuit.
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Why Choose Nordean Law For Your Wrongful Death Claim In Costa Mesa?
Wrongful death claims require establishing the defendant(s) duty of care, breach of that duty, and that the breach resulted in the death. Often, defendants attempt to deflect blame from themselves by raising doubt as to the cause of the accident or even blaming the victim. Nordean Law’s Costa Mesa personal injury lawyers know how to combat these strategies and keep the focus on the negligence, recklessness, or bad actions of the defendant.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Wrongful Death Claim In Costa Mesa?
If another caused the wrongful death of your loved one, you need an expert in wrongful death litigation to establish your claim, investigate the circumstances, and represent you in court. Wrongful death claims must meet specific standards of proof according to California law. Your wrongful death attorney will construct a case that meets these requirements and negates the defendant’s attempts to conceal or minimize responsibility.
Common Types Of Wrongful Death
Wrongful death claims can emerge from a variety of situations. Under California law, a claim for wrongful death exists when a person dies because another individual or entity breaches a duty of care. Common types of wrongful death include the following:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Workplace accidents
The defendant(s) have a duty of care in all these examples. For example, drivers must obey traffic laws and proceed with due caution; doctors must follow medically sound processes and work in their patients’ best interests; employers must comply with workplace safety standards and protect their employees.
A duty of care must have been breached for a wrongful death claim to succeed, and that breach must be, at least in part, the cause of the death.
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Common Causes of Wrongful Death
Legally speaking, wrongful deaths occur when a person or entity breaches a duty of care, and that breach causes tragedy. The breach can occur because of negligence, recklessness, or intentional action.
Vehicle accidents rank as one of the more prevalent forms of wrongful death. All drivers have a duty of care, and this duty is all too frequently breached. A typical car accident involves an individual driver who caused an accident through negligence, such as failing to watch the road. Other vehicle accidents result from recklessness, such as aggressive driving. Also, intentional actions, such as road rage incidents and drunk driving, are common causes of wrongful death.
Most medical malpractice claims result from negligence. A doctor or other medical professional performed their job poorly, resulting in wrongful death. Many workplace accident fatalities also occur because of negligence. Failure to follow OSHA requirements, for example, is a common cause of wrongful death.
What To Do After Wrongful Death In Costa Mesa?
After losing a family member, it’s difficult to fathom what you must do to protect your legal claims. However, it’s essential to lay the groundwork for your wrongful death claim so you can receive justice.
The following steps protect your legal rights:
Report the Incident
If you believe a wrongful death occurred, report the matter to the proper authorities. For a traffic accident, this starts with law enforcement. For medical malpractice, it begins with the hospital administration.
Contact a Wrongful Death Litigation Specialist
Wrongful death cases are a particular type of personal injury law. This type of claim has its standards, and you need an experienced advocate to establish your case, negotiate with the opposition, and represent you in court.
Document All the Details
Keeping notes of what occurred can make the difference between a solid case and one where the defense benefits from wiggle room. Creating a chronology of events and sharing it with your attorney prepares your case and ensures no key details are missed.
How Does the Investigation Process Work?
Wrongful death investigations uncover the negligent, reckless, or intentional actions that caused the death of your loved one. If you believe another’s wrongful acts killed your family member, contact a wrongful death litigation specialist to begin an investigation into the incident. The litigation process gives your legal team the tools needed to get to the bottom of the tragedy.
Common types of wrongful death investigations include the following:
Medical Malpractice Investigations
Medical malpractice investigations review medical evidence to uncover negligent and improper medical practices.
When a loved one dies from a work-related accident, the cause is often negligent workplace safety practices. Industrial accident investigations determine what occurred and who is responsible.
Products Liability Investigations
Products that are used as intended should never cause injury or death. Investigations into product liability determine how the accident occurred and where the flaw in the product existed.
Nordean Law specializes in California wrongful death lawsuits, ranging from traffic accidents to medical malpractice to workplace accidents. Success in a wrongful death case requires establishing liability through a thorough investigation, painstaking legal work, and aggressive courtroom representation. Nordean Law works tirelessly to get our clients the justice they deserve.
How Much Is Wrongful Death Case Worth?
Wrongful death claims settle anywhere from thousands to millions of dollars. Several factors weigh the case’s value, including financial losses to the family, intangible impacts, such as lost relationships and grief, and the amount of blame a court is likely to assign to the defendant(s).
Financial losses can include the following:
- Lost income
- Lost household services
- Lost future income
- Lost benefits
- Lost future gifts
Intangible losses are harder to quantify but often worth much more than the financial losses, including the following:
- Lost relationships
- Emotional distress
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Pain and suffering
The court may reduce the total damages if it finds the victim contributed to the accident. For instance, if a wrongful death claim results in $500,000 in damages and the court find the victim 10% responsible, it reduces the award to $450,000.
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Contact a Top-Rated Costa Mesa Wrongful Death Lawyer Today
Sam Nordean has made a commitment to helping victims get back what was taken away from them. He fights for people that are injured and can’t fight for themselves.
If you have lost a loved one because of another’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional action, contact Nordean Law’s Costa Mesa wrongful death attorneys.
Costa Mesa Wrongful Death Lawyer Near Me
Hiring the right wrongful death lawyer will make a significant difference in this unfortunate and difficult part of your life. You can spend countless hours at the Costa Mesa courthouse to determine what to do next. By not hiring an attorney, you are wasting countless hours and likely getting less settlement. That’s why hiring the right lawyer can help to resolve your case & settle it faster. And most importantly, you’re more likely to receive a larger settlement.
It’s free to talk with us; please reach out if you have any questions or would like an estimate of what you could be owed. In California, you have up to two years to file a claim and sue for compensation. If you wish to take this court journey alone, the Costa Mesa courthouse is at 3390 Harbor Blvd, Costa Mesa, CA 92626. If you want professional help, our wrongful death lawyer in Costa Mesa will be more than happy to help you.
About Costa Mesa, CA
Costa Mesa, a city in Orange County, California, has a rich history and was once inhabited by Native American tribes, the Tongva and Acjachemen. It offers attractions such as the South Coast Plaza–John Wayne Airport area and Mission San Juan Capistrano. The city is located near the Santa Ana River and boasts a coastal location with a plateau terrain. Transportation mainly relies on cars, but bus services are available through the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA). The city is well-connected by highways like State Route 73, State Route 55 (Costa Mesa Freeway), and the San Diego Freeway (Interstate 405). The Costa Mesa Civic Center is the administrative hub housing City Hall, Council Chambers, and emergency service facilities. The Costa Mesa Fire Department and Costa Mesa Police Department ensure reliable emergency services. Overall, Costa Mesa is a vibrant city with diverse offerings, making it an attractive place to live or visit in Orange County, California.
We also serve these Orange County cities from our Costa Mesa office: Aliso Viejo, Dana Point, Fountain Valley, Laguna Beach, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Irvine, Huntington Beach, Long Beach, and Norwalk.
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Costa Mesa Wrongful Death FAQs
What if the Accident Was Partly the Victim's Fault?
The family can collect in a wrongful death case even if the accident is partly the victim’s fault. California law follows a pure comparative negligence standard in wrongful death claims. Under this standard, a plaintiff’s award is reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to the victim in court. For instance, if the victim is 20% at fault for a fatal auto accident and the defendant 80%, then the court awards the plaintiff 80% of the damages.
How To Prove a Wrongful Death Case?
California wrongful death law requires plaintiffs to prove that the defendant(s) acted negligently or intentionally in a way that brought about an unjustified death. Accordingly, courts demand that three elements be demonstrated by the evidence's preponderance (more likely than not).
- A Duty of Care Existed: A duty of care may be established by a specific relationship, such as a doctor’s responsibility to a patient. However, in many situations, members of the general public also owe a duty of care to one another, such as drivers’ obligation to abide by traffic laws and avoid negligent or reckless vehicle operation.
- The Duty of Care Was Breached: Plaintiffs must show that the defendant(s) breached the duty of care through action or inaction. For instance, a driver who causes an accident by texting and driving or a doctor who neglects safety protocols.
- The Breach of Duty Caused Unjustified Dying: To win, plaintiffs must go a step further and establish the link between the breach of duty and the death. For example, a driver could cause an accident by texting and driving, a clear breach, but if the decedent later died of a different cause, the case may not qualify as wrongful death. In another instance, a doctor may have failed to follow best practices, but a wrongful death claim may fail if the patient’s death is attributable to another cause.
Is There a Time Limit to File The Case?
Yes. California law establishes a two-year statute of limitation for wrongful death claims. The two-year period begins on the date of the decedent's passing. However, the law does provide exceptions in limited circumstances.
- The Discovery Rule Exception: Plaintiffs can petition the court to extend the statute of limitations if they were unaware of and could not reasonably expect to know that defendant(s) caused or contributed to the wrongful death. For instance, families of a person with cancer may discover that exposure to carcinogens caused the disease after the statute of limitations expired. Depending on the circumstances, a court may extend the statute of limitations.
- Medical Malpractice Exceptions: Family members have three years from when the alleged medical malpractice occurred. When medical malpractice is discovered after three years, families must bring the case within one year of obtaining that knowledge or within one year when the court rules they could be reasonably expected to know.
- Shorter Time Limits for Lawsuits Against Government Entities: California’s wrongful death statute mandates a shorter statute of limitations against government entities, such as state agencies and city departments. Families must bring the action within six months of the victim’s death.
How Long Will It Take To Resolve The Case?
The time to resolve a case depends on whether it settles and at what point negotiations come to a close in the litigation process. A case that goes through a jury trial and appeals can take many years. However, most wrongful death cases settle before the trial date. Trials are necessary to resolve factual disputes between the parties; often, the facts are established, and a settlement is reached without impanel a jury.
Many cases settle after the discovery process. During discovery, attorneys use the powers of the courts to gather evidence and interview witnesses. Towards the end of this process, attorneys depose the opposing side’s witnesses. Once the discovery process is complete, the case is often more apt to settle. Many claims settle in one to two years if a trial remains unnecessary.
What Kind of Compensation Can I Receive in a Personal Injury Case Related to a Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death claims compensate the victim’s family. Since the decedent cannot benefit from an award, the focus is on providing family members with compensation that pays for their financial and emotional losses. Typical categories of damages in wrongful death claims include the following:
- Lost income
- Lost benefits, such as health insurance
- Pain and suffering of the family
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of relationships
- Emotional distress
Survival actions are brought by the executor of the decedent's estate on behalf of the departed. These actions claim benefits for the decedent's damages as opposed to the family’s, such as lost income, medical bills, and pain and suffering.
How Much Does an Costa Mesa Wrongful Death Attorney Cost?
Costa Mesa wrongful death attorneys are paid through contingency fees, so the family never has to come up with money out-of-pocket to bring a case. Because Nordean Law attorneys provide expert legal representation and negotiate for full compensation, our fees pay for themselves. Therefore, we prepare every case for trial. Once the defendant(s) know we will win in court, they are willing to offer settlements that cover all the family’s damages, attorney’s fees, and litigation expenses.