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Bakersfield Wrongful Deaths
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Bakersfield Wrongful Death Attorneys

Razavi Law Group are top-rated wrongful death attorneys in Bakersfield , and surrounding areas. At RLG, we are here to ensure that you and your family receive the justice you deserve as we hold those responsible for the unexpected passing of your loved one.

Coping with the loss of a loved one can be one of the most trying times of your life. When your family member’s death was caused by another party’s negligence or wrongdoing, the grieving process only intensifies In these instances, you may have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit and receive the closure and financial compensation to which you and your family are entitled.

A death in ones family is always tragic, especially when that loss is unexpected and is due to a persons’s or company’s negligence. A wrongful death claim is when someone wrongful or unexpectedly dies due to the carelessness or wrongful of another person or company. Much like people can file a claim for being injured, the family of a wrongfully deceased person can also make a claim on their behalf. At Razavi Law Group, we are here to ensure that you and your family receives the justice you deserve as we hold those responsible for the unexpected passing of your loved one.

Table of Contents

What Is Wrongful Death?

California Personal Injury Lawyers & Accident Attorneys

Wrongful death is a legal term that refers to a claim brought by the surviving family members or beneficiaries of a person who died due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions of another individual, company, or entity. In such cases, the death is considered “wrongful” because it was preventable and would not have occurred if not for the wrongful conduct of the responsible party.

Wrongful death claims are civil lawsuits seeking to hold the at-fault party legally accountable for their actions and to provide compensation to the surviving family members for the losses they have suffered as a result of the death. The compensation may cover various damages, including medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, lost income and financial support, loss of companionship and consortium, and emotional pain and suffering.

The laws and procedures surrounding wrongful death claims vary by jurisdiction, and the eligible parties who can file such claims may differ as well. In many cases, wrongful death claims are brought in cases of car accidents, medical malpractice, workplace accidents, defective products, and other situations where the negligence or misconduct of another party led to the death of an individual.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Bakersfield?

Pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure Section 377.60, the following parties may bring a wrongful death claim:

  • The deceased’s surviving spouse if they were married at the time of death;
  • The deceased’s surviving domestic partner;
  • The deceased’s surviving children;

People who would be entitled to the deceased’s property as if he or she did not have a will;
The deceased’s putative spouse, the children of the putative spouse, parents, or stepchildren of the deceased;
A minor that resided with the deceased for 180 days in the deceased’s home and was dependent on him or her for at least half of their support; or
A personal representative of the deceased.

If you think you have a wrongful death case please do not hesitate to call Razavi Law Group with any questions you may have. We are here to help you and your family receive the justice and compensation you and your family so rightly deserve.

What Are The Damages That Can Be Recoverable?

  • Medical bills incurred by the deceased from the time of the injury to his or her death;
    Burial and funeral costs;
  • Financial support the deceased person would have contributed to his or her family;
    The loss of benefits or gifts that would have been given by the deceased to his or her heirs; and
  • Compensation for household services the deceased provided.
  • You may also receive compensation for intangible losses such as loss of support, love, companionship, etc.

What Are The Common Causes Of Wrongful Deaths?

Common causes of wrongful deaths include:

  • Car Accidents: Negligent driving, speeding, drunk driving, distracted driving, and other reckless behaviors on the road can lead to fatal accidents.
  • Medical Malpractice: Errors by healthcare professionals, such as misdiagnosis, surgical mistakes, medication errors, or inadequate treatment, can result in fatal consequences.
  • Workplace Accidents: Unsafe working conditions, lack of proper training, and employer negligence can lead to fatal accidents in various industries.
  • Product Defects: Defective products, including machinery, vehicles, or pharmaceuticals, can cause fatal injuries to consumers.
  • Premises Liability: Hazardous conditions on someone else’s property, such as slip and fall accidents, can lead to wrongful deaths.
  • Nursing Home Negligence: Neglect, abuse, or inadequate care in nursing homes can result in fatal injuries to elderly residents.
  • Intentional Harm: Wrongful deaths can occur due to intentional acts, such as assaults, homicides, or acts of violence.
  • Construction Accidents: The construction industry carries inherent risks, and accidents at construction sites can result in fatal injuries.
  • Dangerous Drugs: Prescription drugs with undisclosed side effects or defective medications can cause fatalities.
  • Defective Medical Devices: Faulty medical devices or implants can lead to severe complications and wrongful deaths.

How to prove a Wrongful Death Claim in Bakersfield?

To prove a wrongful death claim in Bakersfield, the plaintiff (the party bringing the lawsuit) must establish certain elements to demonstrate that the death was indeed caused by the negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions of the defendant. 

Here are the key factors that need to be proven in a wrongful death claim in Bakersfield:

  • Duty of Care: The plaintiff must show that the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased person. Duty of care is a legal obligation to act responsibly and reasonably to avoid causing harm to others. The specific duty of care may vary depending on the circumstances, such as the duty of a doctor to provide competent medical treatment or the duty of a driver to follow traffic laws.
  • Breach of Duty: The plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant breached their duty of care. This means that the defendant failed to act reasonably or responsibly, and their actions or inactions directly contributed to the death.
  • Causation: The plaintiff must establish a causal connection between the defendant’s breach of duty and the death of the deceased. In other words, it must be shown that the defendant’s actions were a significant factor that led to the fatal outcome.
  • Damages: The plaintiff must provide evidence of the damages suffered by the surviving family members as a result of the death. Damages may include economic losses (such as medical expenses, funeral costs, and lost financial support) and non-economic losses (such as emotional pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and the impact on the family’s quality of life).
  • Statute of Limitations: It is essential to file the wrongful death claim within the applicable statute of limitations in Bakersfield. In most cases, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the deceased person’s death, but there may be exceptions depending on the circumstances.

To support a wrongful death claim, gathering evidence is crucial. This may involve obtaining accident reports, medical records, witness testimonies, expert opinions, and other relevant documentation to establish the defendant’s liability and the damages suffered by the surviving family members.

How Much Is A Wrongful Death Worth In Bakersfield?

The value of a wrongful death claim in Bakersfield can vary significantly depending on several factors that are considered when determining compensation. Some of the key factors that may affect the worth of a wrongful death claim include:

  1. Economic Damages: This includes quantifiable financial losses such as medical expenses related to the deceased person’s final injury or illness, funeral and burial costs, and the loss of financial support the deceased would have provided to the surviving family members.
  2. Non-Economic Damages: These are more subjective and intangible losses, such as the emotional pain and suffering endured by the surviving family members, loss of companionship, and the impact on the family’s quality of life due to the death.
  3. Age and Earning Capacity of the Deceased: A younger person with a higher earning capacity may result in a larger claim compared to an elderly individual with limited earning potential.
  4. Number of Dependents: If the deceased was the primary breadwinner and supported several dependents, the potential value of the wrongful death claim may increase.
  5. Liability and Negligence: The degree of negligence or recklessness by the responsible party can significantly impact the worth of the claim. If the defendant’s actions were particularly egregious or intentional, it may open the possibility of seeking punitive damages.
  6. Future Losses: Consideration of the financial support and contributions the deceased would have made to the family in the future can affect the claim’s value.
  7. Circumstances of Death: The specific circumstances of the death, such as whether it occurred due to medical malpractice, a car accident, a workplace accident, or another cause, will influence the damages sought.
  8. Evidence and Documentation: The strength and quality of evidence presented, such as witness testimonies, expert opinions, and medical records, can impact the amount of compensation awarded.

Who Gets The Money In A Wrongful Death Lawsuit In Bakersfield? 

In a wrongful death lawsuit in Bakersfield, the compensation awarded, also known as damages, is typically distributed to the surviving family members or beneficiaries who are considered “real parties in interest.” The distribution of the damages is governed by the California Code of Civil Procedure Section 377.60.

The following individuals are generally eligible to receive the compensation from a wrongful death lawsuit in Bakersfield, listed in order of priority:

  1. Surviving Spouse: The deceased person’s spouse has the first right to receive the damages in a wrongful death claim.
  2. Domestic Partner: If the deceased person had a registered domestic partner, the domestic partner has the same right as a surviving spouse to receive the damages.
  3. Children: If there is no surviving spouse or domestic partner, the deceased person’s children are next in line to receive the damages.
  4. Children of Deceased Children: If the deceased person’s child is deceased, their children (the grandchildren of the deceased) can receive the damages.
  5. Dependent Minors: If there are dependent minors who were living with the deceased person and relying on their financial support at the time of death, they may be eligible to receive the damages.
  6. Putative Spouse and Children: In some cases, a putative spouse (someone who had a good faith belief they were legally married to the deceased) and their children may also have the right to receive the damages.

If none of the above-mentioned individuals exist, the right to receive the damages extends to individuals who would be entitled to the deceased person’s property under Bakersfield intestate succession laws (laws that govern the distribution of property when there is no will).

It’s important to note that the court will determine the allocation of damages if there are disputes among the eligible parties. Additionally, the actual distribution of the damages may be affected by any existing debts or liens against the deceased person’s estate.

How Long Do You Have To File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit In Bakersfield? 

In Bakersfield, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit is generally two years from the date of the deceased person’s death. This means that the lawsuit must be initiated within two years of the death, or the right to pursue a claim may be lost. There are some exceptions and circumstances that may affect the statute of limitations:

Discovery Rule: In certain cases, the statute of limitations may begin from the date the cause of death was discovered or reasonably should have been discovered, rather than the actual date of death. This rule is applicable when the cause of death is not immediately apparent.

Government Entity Involvement: If the wrongful death claim involves a government entity, such as a city or county, the process may be subject to special rules and shorter time frames for filing a claim. It is essential to be aware of these specific requirements when dealing with government-related claims.

Tolling of Statute: Under specific circumstances, the statute of limitations may be “tolled” or temporarily suspended, extending the time frame to file a lawsuit. Tolling may occur if the defendant is absent from the state or in certain cases involving minors or individuals with disabilities.

Given the strict time constraints involved in filing a wrongful death lawsuit, it is crucial to act promptly and consult with an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can assess the details of the case, determine the applicable statute of limitations, and guide you through the legal process to ensure your rights are protected and that you have sufficient time to pursue your claim. Waiting beyond the statute of limitations could result in the forfeiture of your right to seek compensation for the wrongful death of your loved one.

Can I Seek Punitive Damages In A Wrongful Death Case?

Yes, in Bakersfield, you can seek punitive damages in a wrongful death case under certain circumstances. Punitive damages are different from compensatory damages, which are meant to compensate the surviving family members for the losses resulting from the death. Instead, punitive damages are intended to punish the at-fault party for their egregious behavior and to deter similar conduct in the future.

To seek punitive damages in a wrongful death case in Bakersfield, you must demonstrate that the defendant’s actions leading to the death involved either:

  1. Oppression, fraud, or malice: This means that the defendant acted with a conscious disregard for the safety and rights of others, intentionally intending to cause harm or acted in a despicable manner with a willful and knowing disregard for the potential consequences of their actions.
  2. Gross negligence: Proving gross negligence requires showing that the defendant’s conduct was substantially more reckless or careless than ordinary negligence, indicating a complete lack of care for the safety of others.

While punitive damages can significantly increase the potential value of a wrongful death claim, they are not awarded in all cases. The decision to award punitive damages is at the discretion of the court or jury based on the evidence and arguments presented during the trial.

How Can a Bakersfield Wrongful Death Attorney Help?

A Bakersfield wrongful death attorney can provide essential assistance and support in navigating the legal complexities of a wrongful death claim. They can:

  • Conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances of the death to determine liability and gather evidence to support the claim.
  • Advocate for the rights and interests of the surviving family members, ensuring they understand their legal options and potential compensation.
  • Calculate the value of economic and non-economic damages to seek fair and just compensation.
  • Negotiate with insurance companies and the responsible parties to reach a favorable settlement.
  • Represent the family in court and present a compelling case, if the claim proceeds to trial.
  • Provide emotional support to the grieving family during the challenging legal process.

Having a skilled wrongful death attorney by your side can alleviate the burden of legal matters, allowing you and your family to focus on healing and coping with the loss.

Contact Razavi Law Group

If you have a wrongful death case in Bakersfield , reach out to Razavi Law Group today. With our extensive experience and dedicated team, we stand ready to guide you through every step of the process, fight for your rights, and help you seek the compensation you deserve. Contact us now for a free, no-obligation consultation. We’re here for you, ready to make a difference in your case.

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