When a loved one dies due to the negligence or unlawfulness of another person or entity (such as in a car accident) in Los Angeles, the deceased’s survivors may be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. In California, a wrongful death lawsuit seeks compensation for the survivors’ loss. This financial recovery can include lost wages from the deceased, lost companionship, and funeral expenses.
Bringing a wrongful death claim on behalf of loved one can be a difficult step to consider during an already challenging period of mourning. There are many factors to consider and an experienced Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer can discuss them with you in detail, including how to handle the insurance company – who often does not want to pay you what you deserve. When dealing with an insurance company, the right lawyer will be able to explain, in detail, the factors the insurance adjuster considers when placing a settlement value on the life of the victim.
When determining the compensation to the survivors of a wrongful death, an insurance company will consider actuarial tables that estimate the life expectancy of the wrongful death victim. Additionally, the adjusters will determine the expected wage earning years left in the decedent’s life. For victims both very old and very young, the insurance company will likely place a lower dollar value on their expected working life.
Further compensation for the spouse bringing the claim may also be available. This is known as survivor benefits. To determine these, adjusters will look at whether the spouse was legally married to the victim. While some states recognize common law marriages (depending on the length of time a couple lived together and other factors) and same-sex marriages, others do not. Generally speaking, under California law, unmarried partners do not have a legal right to file a wrongful death action on their own, which is why they will have to work in coordination with the executor of the estate.
Wrongful death claims can be an opportunity for the survivors to obtain certain closures for their loved one’s death. If you believe that your family member or spouse died as the result of a third party’s negligence, discuss your potential to recover on your loved one’s behalf with the wrongful death attorneys at Ghozland Law Firm today.