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San Rafael Wrongful Death Lawyer

Accidents happen all the time in San Rafael, and when they do, they are sometimes so severe that it results in death. When this is the case and one person was at fault for the accident, that person may be held liable for his or her negligent actions. By filing a lawsuit, loved ones can claim compensation for the losses they have sustained as a result of the death. These wrongful death claims are some of the most complex to file, however, so it is important that anyone who wishes to file one speaks to a San Rafael wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible.

Civil vs. Criminal Cases

Sometimes a wrongful death involves a civil case and criminal case, but these two are completely separate and have no bearing on each other. During a criminal case, a person is prosecuted for any criminal act that may have led to a wrongful death, such as an assault. The penalties in criminal cases will typically include jail sentences and fines that are paid to the state.

In a civil wrongful death claim, on the other hand, loved ones can file a lawsuit against the negligent party. Negligence is a legal doctrine that refers to carelessness or recklessness. Through a lawsuit, surviving family members can seek compensation for any losses they have sustained such as the income the deceased contributed to the household, and loss of love and support. This compensation is paid directly to the person or people who filed the lawsuit, and criminal charges are not involved.

Who can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

In San Rafael, as throughout the rest of California, only certain individuals are allowed under law to file a wrongful death claim. In California this list ranges from the individuals closest to the deceased, eventually expanding to include more distant relatives. In order, individuals who can file a claim with the help of a wrongful death attorney in San Rafael include:

  • Spouses
  • Children and stepchildren
  • Minors who have lived with the deceased for six months or more
  • Parents

When none of these surviving family members exist, the individuals eligible to file a claim are siblings and their children, and then grandparents of the deceased. When the deceased does not have any of these surviving family members, the deceased’s next of kin may file a wrongful death claim.

Although these individuals may file a claim, they must actually ask the personal representative of the estate to file the wrongful death claim for them. Then, according to the wrongful death statute, compensation will be distributed to the surviving family members.

A San Rafael Wrongful Death Lawyer can Help With Your Claim

If you have lost a loved one and would like to seek compensation, do not file a claim on your own. A wrongful death attorney in San Rafael can help. At Willoughby Brod, LLP, we know how to conduct an investigation to collect evidence and prove your claim, and we hold negligent parties and their insurance companies accountable for paying the settlement you deserve. Call us today at (800) 427-7020 to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help.

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