The heartache that ensues after the loss of a loved one can plunge survivors into deep grief. While losing your loved one hurts, a loss due to a sudden accident — especially when the accident is due to the negligence or actions of another person — can hurt so much more.
During this difficult time, those grieving may not think to contact an attorney about the possibility of filing a wrongful death action. But seeking the advice of an attorney at this time can protect the rights of the surviving family of the victim of a wrongful death.
Many people have misconceptions about wrongful death actions that cause them to delay filing a suit or remain uncertain whether the option of filing a suit exists at all. Some of the most common misconceptions about wrongful death claims are that:
- There is no time limit for bringing my claim. Wrongful death actions must be brought in a timely fashion so California’s statute of limitations does not run out and bar you from filing your claim for damages. By contacting an attorney sooner after your loved one has passed, you can stay within the limits of the statute of limitations. Prompt action on your part also increases the likelihood vital evidence is preserved and gives the lawyer you speak to time to perform an investigation to determine if it is in your interests to bring a lawsuit.
- A wrongful death action will force me to go through a lengthy trial. In all likelihood your case will settle before going to court becomes necessary.
- Bringing a wrongful death action is too expensive for me to do. Attorneys take wrongful death cases on a contingency basis, which means that you do not pay any attorney fees until you receive a settlement or judgment at trial. Attorney fees are even paid for by at-fault parties under certain circumstances.