Can I File a Lawsuit If I Lost a Loved One in a Fatal Accident?

San Diego Wrongful Death Lawyer Gets Justice for Family Members

The sudden loss of a loved one is always devastating, but family members face additional pain and difficult decisions when someone else’s negligence was the cause. Grieving families often want answers and justice for their loved one’s death. While nothing can bring back a lost life, those left behind can seek certain damages in a wrongful death claim. This can help ease the economic and financial struggles you may face. In certain cases, you may be able to recover punitive damages as well, which are meant to punish the negligent party in civil court.

San Diego wrongful death lawyer Frederick M. Dudek understands the emotional trauma caused by wrongful death and is always ready to speak with families who need answers. He also has a history of success with these types of claims. In one wrongful death case, he obtained a jury verdict of $2 million for the family of the victim of a fatal helicopter crash. If you need compassionate, personalized advice about a wrongful death claim, contact Frederick Dudek today.

What are the Most Common Causes of Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death may result from any serious accident, dangerous defect or unsafe condition. In many cases, fatal injuries caused by car accidents, falls or maritime accidents are the basis for a wrongful death claim. However, defective products, such as bad medication, or exposure to a toxic substance like asbestos can cause a fatal illness or condition. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most common causes of wrongful death include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents. The largest number of wrongful death claims involve motorcycle, truck and car accidents. In these cases, driver negligence is most commonly to blame. This can include dangerous practices like texting while driving or drunk driving. However, auto defects, poorly maintained roads and other factors also cause crashes.
    • Cycling accidents. Although not as common as car and truck accidents, bike crashes are often particularly deadly. In cycling accidents involving cars and other motor vehicles, bike riders are much more likely to sustain catastrophic or fatal personal injuries than motorists.
  • Slip and fall accidents. While slip and fall accidents may not sound deadly, they account for approximately 10 percent of all wrongful deaths. Falls from heights, as a result of a construction site accident, for example, are among the deadliest types of falls. However, slipping on an unsafe floor can also cause wrongful death if the victim strikes his or her head. This is a particular danger for the elderly.
  • Medical malpractice. Any medical negligence by a doctor or other medical professional can have a devastating effect on a patient’s health. Misdiagnosis, surgical mistakes and prescription errors can all be deadly.

What Damages are Available in a Wrongful Death Claim?

Wrongful death claims are among the most difficult to settle because it is impossible to assign a monetary value to a life. Therefore, the courts generally must consider the financial costs and burdens the victim’s family faces to determine compensation. The damages you may seek in a wrongful death claim include:

  • Funeral expenses. You may recover the cost of your loved one’s funeral and related expenses.
  • Medical expenses. These are any medical bills associated with the fatal accident or condition that caused your loved one’s death.
  • Loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society and moral support. These are damages suffered by the spouse, children and other close family members as a result of a loved one’s loss. This can be difficult to define, so it is best to discuss these damages with a San Diego wrongful death lawyer.
  • Loss of financial support. If your loved one was the primary breadwinner of your household, you may face serious financial challenges without his or her income. However, you can recover compensation for this lost financial support, which is crucial for many families.

In certain cases, you may also be able to include punitive damages in your wrongful death claim. This is additional compensation the court may award specifically to punish the negligent party for reckless behavior, which is above and beyond negligence. Most commonly, punitive damages apply to wrongful death claims involving defective products. For example, a manufacturing company may know that a certain drug, medical implant or other product poses a serious risk of fatal injuries, but it continues to market the product anyway in the interest of profits. This behavior may be egregious enough to warrant an award of punitive damages.

Need Legal Help After Losing a Loved One? Call a San Diego Wrongful Death Lawyer Now

The decision to file a wrongful death claim is often difficult for grieving family members. You may want answers and justice, but you do not want the pain of a prolonged, difficult legal battle. San Diego wrongful death lawyer Frederick M. Dudek will always respect your wishes, and will answer your questions with compassion. He can take on the legal burden of filing a claim and fighting for your rights so you can focus on healing.

If you need answers about your loved one’s wrongful death, contact our San Diego law firm today. We offer free initial consultations so you can learn your legal rights with no obligation.