San Francisco Wrongful Death Attorneys
When someone is killed by the wrongful conduct, or gross negligence of another, it is called a “wrongful death.” These are the most tragic of cases, and happen all too often as a result of motorcycle accidents.
The Dolan Law Firm’s lawyers understand your suffering and grief having experienced the tragedy of an accidental death first hand. Some of our lawyers have lost family members and loved ones in serious personal injuries, including motorcycle and bicycle accidents. We have been on both sides, as clients and attorneys, and we want to help you through the legal aspects of life’s greatest loss.
When someone dies as a result of the negligence of another the law provides that their next of kin and their estate may act as plaintiffs to bring a civil action to recover economic and non-economic damages. This is true even if the deceased was partially at fault ( comparatively at fault) in the events leading to the fatality. If death is the result of a drunk driver, then punitive damages may be awarded.
Who Is Considered “Next of Kin”?
The people who are considered next of kin include family members such as a husband, wife, domestic partner, children, parents, or siblings, in order of priority to a claim. If a parent dies, the surviving spouse / partner and children may all be plaintiffs, as well as any one else who was likely to receive support if the decedent had lived. A wrongful death plaintiff may recover:
- funeral and burial expenses
- loss of income from the decedent
- medical expenses prior to death
- loss of household support
- loss of child rearing support
- loss of medical and retirement benefits and
- other economic losses sustained by the accidental death of a loved one
- non-economic damages such as the loss of support, companionship and affection
A surviving spouse or partner, having lost their life companion, also has a separate right to recover damages for the terrible injury to the couple’s relationship. This is called a loss of consortium. The surviving spouse / partner’s loss is recognized as a separate civil action and provides separate damages.
You must act promptly after someone dies if you believe that they have died because of someone’s negligence. There are time limits for you to act, called statutes of limitations, which require you to bring a lawsuit within a limited period or risk losing the right to seek a recovery.
Statutes of limitations balance the competing interests of plaintiffs and defendants so as to provide the plaintiff time to investigate and find an attorney while giving a defendant some assurance that after a period of time, if no action has been brought, they will not be sued. Statutes of limitations in cases of accidental death can be as short as six months (if a governmental agency caused the harm). The time you have to act depends on who caused the accidental death, how it occurred, and where it took place (different states have different statutes of limitations).
Contact Our Experienced Lawyers
At the Dolan Law Firm, our attorneys seek to help you pick up the pieces and to minimize the impact that such a tragedy has on a family. We know that you cannot pay attorneys’ fees at such a difficult time, so we do all work on contingency, receiving no payment until you win compensation. The wrongful death attorneys and staff of the Dolan Law Firm care for your legal needs so you can begin the healing process and take care of those left behind. Contact our lawyers today for knowledgeable representation.