A sudden death in the family is a shocking event that many people never fully recover from, particularly when the death was caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness. You may find it helpful to stay busy in the aftermath of the funeral. One of the tasks on your to-do list might be to visit an accident attorney in Riverside to determine whether you can file a wrongful death lawsuit . A legal claim won’t fix your heartache, but it can help you find closure and recover financially from your loved one’s passing.
You are eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Your accident injury lawyer will ask you about your relationship with the decedent to determine if you’re eligible to bring a legal claim. California laws state that a wrongful death claim may be filed by the decedent’s:
- Surviving spouse
- Domestic partner
- Grandchildren if the children of the deceased are also deceased
- Dependent minors
You suffered economic and non-economic losses.
A wrongful death lawsuit is a means of seeking justice on behalf of the deceased family member. You might also decide to file a wrongful death lawsuit because your family has sustained financial losses from the death. If your claim is successful, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your loved one’s medical bills and related expenses, if the death did not occur immediately after the incident. You can request compensation for funeral and burial or cremation costs. You might also be entitled to seek damages for your loved one’s anticipated future earnings, and for your loss of financial support and companionship.
Your accident attorney can prove certain elements.
The lawyer reviewing your case will discuss its merits with you. The law requires wrongful death plaintiffs or their legal counsel to prove that certain elements exist. They are the following facts:
- The individual died.
- The death was directly caused by someone else’s intentional act to inflict harm, or by an act of negligence.
- The death caused financial injury to the surviving family.
- The decedent’s estate is represented by an appointed personal representative.
You are mentally prepared for the discovery and trial processes.
Assuming your lawyer does determine that your case has merit, you’ll need to decide whether you do want to move forward with an accident lawsuit. Many cases are settled out of court, but you need to be prepared for the possibility that your case will go to trial and you may give testimony. Your lawyer can help you understand what to expect and how to prepare.
Driver distraction, impairment, and recklessness are all common causes of car accident lawsuits in Riverside, California, but sometimes, the fault lies with the vehicle’s manufacturer. The state’s lemon law—officially called the Tanner Consumer Protection Act or the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act—protects car owners from financial damages caused by a manufacturing defect. An accident attorney can help you sort through the legalese to figure out your options.
Is my car covered under the lemon law?
The lemon law covers purchased new and used vehicles, as well as leased vehicles, that have a manufacturer’s warranty. These vehicles include:
- Vehicles leased or purchased for company use
- Vehicles leased or purchased for personal use
- Dealer-owned vehicles and demonstrators
- Sedans, SUVs, pick-up trucks, and vans
- Drivetrain, chassis, and chassis cab of motorhomes
Your vehicle is covered if it falls into one of those categories. Vehicles are only covered if they are still within the original warranty period.
How can I prove that my car is a lemon?
California’s lemon law presumes that your vehicle is a lemon if any specified criteria are met within 18,000 miles or within 18 months of the buyer taking possession of the car. These criteria are:
- Four-plus attempts have been made to fix the same warranty problem.
- Two-plus attempts have been made to fix a warranty problem that could result in serious injury or death if the car is driven.
- The defects are not caused by the consumer’s abuse of the vehicle.
- The defects substantially affect the vehicle’s safety or value, or the consumer’s use of the vehicle.
- Mechanics have held the vehicle for 30 days to fix the problems. The days do not necessarily have to be consecutive.
Can I return a lemon?
If your situation meets certain criteria, yes. The manufacturer must provide a replacement or do a buyback. A replacement of the car will only occur if both the owner and the manufacturer agree to it. The replacement option requires the manufacturer to provide you with a substantially identical vehicle. Your new vehicle will have a new warranty. In a buyback, the manufacturer must pay you the amount the car cost, minus an offset for mileage.
Statutes of limitations apply to both criminal cases and civil accident lawsuits . A statute of limitations is a deadline. Once it expires, an injured party no longer has the right to file an accident lawsuit. This is one crucial reason why it’s important to speak with an accident attorney in Riverside as soon as possible after an incident occurs. If you wait too long to speak with a lawyer about your options, legal recourse may no longer be available to you.
Statutes of limitations vary from state to state. There are different deadlines for different types of claims. For example, a claim for property damage carries a statute of limitations of three years. Any type of personal injury claim usually has a two-year statute of limitations. The clock starts ticking from the date of the injury. However, it is possible for a patient to not detect the injury right away. If this is the case, then patients have one year to file the accident lawsuit from the date that they discovered the injury, even if two or more years have passed.
After a car accident, survivors are likely to feel stressed, overwhelmed, and possibly in physical pain. Because of this, many survivors make crucial errors when speaking with the insurance adjuster. These mistakes can be costly, potentially jeopardizing a future accident lawsuit . It’s always a good idea to speak with an accident lawyer serving Riverside about your case before you speak to the insurance adjuster. An attorney can caution you about the tricks insurance adjusters often use to minimize the compensation the company pays.
Obtain important information for your records.
An insurance adjuster will contact you soon after you file the insurance claim. Before the conversation gets started, ask the individual to provide his or her full name, employee ID number if applicable, and phone number at work. Write this information down, along with the name of the insurance company and its address. Keep this information for your own records, and provide a copy to your accident attorney. Once the call is over, it’s a good idea to make a few notes about what was said.
Keep your temper in check.
Dealing with red tape while you’re recovering from a crash is never pleasant, but it’s important to stay calm and be polite. Insurance adjusters are human, after all, and they may respond poorly to verbal aggression. On the other hand, an insurance adjuster who remembers having polite interactions with you may make an effort to ease the claims process.
Provide personal information.
During this initial phone call, the only information you need to provide to the insurance adjuster is your full name, number, and home address. Assuming that you’re speaking with the other party’s insurance carrier, you do not and should not provide any more information than you must. If you’re speaking with an adjuster from your own insurance company, you must abide by any rules specified in your policy. Your accident attorney can give you personalized guidance about your policy.
Avoid discussing the details.
Expect the insurance adjuster to ask you lots of questions about the accident and your injuries. You might also get some casual questions about your work schedule and income, and whether there were any witnesses to the crash. Do not answer these questions, even if they seem harmless. Instead, simply tell the individual that you’re still investigating the incident, there may be witnesses, and you’ll provide this information when it’s appropriate.
The loss of a loved one is never easy. But when the death occurs as the result of someone else’s negligence or reckless conduct, families may need to seek justice in court before finding a sense of closure. Contact an accident attorney in Riverside immediately if you suspect your loved one’s death may have been caused by someone else. In the meantime, you can watch this featured video for a quick introduction to the legal concept of wrongful death .
This professional explains that, in this type of accident lawsuit, it’s necessary to launch an investigation quickly to prevent evidence from disappearing. As an accident attorney investigates a wrongful death case, he or she will assess liability. Liability refers to which party may have been at fault for the accident. For example, if the death was caused by a defective product, the accident lawsuit may list the manufacturer as the defendant.
Driver distraction often forms the basis of car accident lawsuits filed in Riverside. Your car accident lawyer may uncover evidence that shows the other driver was texting or talking on a cellphone just before the crash. In addition to unlawful and dangerous cellphone use, there are many other causes of distracted driving. If surveillance footage of the crash scene is available, your car accident attorney can review it to determine if other distractions may have played a role. An accident lawyer can also interview passengers and other eyewitnesses.
During the course of this investigation, the accident lawyer may find that the other driver was reading a map or using a GPS device before the crash. Other forms of distraction include gawking at billboards, rubbernecking at roadside accidents, and talking with passengers. It’s not unheard of for some negligent drivers to apply makeup or eat while trying to drive. Adjusting the radio or CD player, and disciplining unruly children in the backseat are other common causes of driver distraction.
Police misconduct is a loaded subject that often triggers strong emotions. If you or a loved one has been a victim of police misconduct, you’ll need the legal advocacy of an experienced personal injury lawyer serving Riverside. There are some legal obstacles concerning police misconduct, as the concept of government immunity applies to the actions taken by police officers while on the job. However, as your personal injury lawyer can advise you, the state of California has recently passed a couple of laws that extend greater rights to citizens involved in these cases.
California Police Misconduct Laws
Your personal injury lawyer will need access to all available evidence to protect your legal rights. Fortunately, thanks to the signing of SB411, Californians can no longer be charged with obstruction of justice simply for photographing or recording police officers in public areas. Another recently signed bill, SB277, eliminates the role of grand juries in police misconduct trials. This is significant because some recent, notable police misconduct cases resulted in a grand jury’s decision not to issue an indictment. It’s commonly thought that grand juries do not offer sufficient transparency.
Government immunity means that a government entity cannot be sued, except in cases where permission is granted to do so. However, this legal doctrine does have its limits. It is possible for your personal injury lawyer to take legal action if the police officer has acted outside the scope of his or her reasonable duties, and/or violated a person’s constitutional rights.
Police Misconduct Cases
There are several types of police misconduct. A case might involve claims of false arrest, which occurs when a police officer arrests a suspect without having probable cause or a warrant. Excessive force means that a police officer used force that was unreasonable for the situation.
Police Misconduct Claims
There are strict deadlines to file police misconduct claims, which is one reason why you must consult a personal injury lawyer promptly. Your lawyer must file a notice of claim within six months for cases involving false arrest or false imprisonment. The notice of claim is essentially an official announcement of your intention to file a lawsuit. After filing the notice of claim, you’ll have up to a year from the date of the incident to file the lawsuit.
When your personal injury lawyer files a lawsuit on your behalf, it’s quite likely that it will be resolved with a settlement. Many plaintiffs never see the inside of a courtroom because they decide to accept a sum of money in exchange for dropping the lawsuit. However, you do have the right to decline a settlement offer and take the defendant to court. A personal injury lawyer serving Riverside will ensure you are fully prepared for your day in court.
Do plan to arrive early.
It isn’t acceptable to arrive late to a court appearance or even to arrive on time. Instead, plan to arrive at least half an hour before you are scheduled to appear in court . Leaving your home with plenty of time to spare gives you some leeway in case you have car problems or encounter traffic delays on your route. When you arrive early, your personal injury lawyer will have time to give you some last-minute advice.
Do dress appropriately for court.
As a general rule of thumb, dress for court in the same way you would dress for a funeral. Men should wear a suit and dress shoes, and ladies should wear a pantsuit, skirt suit, or other conservative outfit that doesn’t reveal much skin and doesn’t draw unnecessary attention. If you have tattoos, make sure your clothing covers them up.
Don’t leave your cellphone on.
Leaving your cellphone on vibrate mode isn’t enough to prevent embarrassing disruptions in the courtroom. Turn it off instead or leave it in your car. You shouldn’t have any other electronic devices on, either.
Don’t interrupt anyone.
Your personal injury lawyer has probably instructed you not to speak in court unless you are directly questioned. You may respond to the judge, whom you should address as “Your Honor.” If you’re on the witness stand, you’ll respond to the questions. But otherwise, it’s best to stay silent—and never try to talk to a member of the jury.
Do control your reactions.
Hearings and trials can be incredibly stressful, even if you’ve been in court before. But it’s important not to let your temper get the best of you. Even if the opposing counsel asks you questions that seem insulting, you’ll need to take the high road and maintain a calm demeanor.
Elder abuse is an unspeakable tragedy, and it often goes unreported. Nearly 10% of all seniors in the U.S. become victims of elder abuse. This is a tragedy that you can help put an end to. Be alert to the signs of elder abuse , and contact the police and a personal injury lawyer in Riverside if you notice them. If you believe a senior is in imminent danger, call 911 immediately. Otherwise, a personal injury lawyer can walk you through the process of seeking legal recourse.
To learn about the types of elder abuse, watch this featured video and consult your personal injury lawyer about your own observations. Your personal injury lawyer may ask you about suspicious physical problems, such as unexplained bruises, lacerations, or broken bones. Some seniors are medically neglected. Their caregivers may fail to give them prescribed medications, neglect to take appropriate actions to prevent bedsores, and fail to call a doctor when needed.
Catastrophic injuries, including amputations, may form the basis for an accident lawsuit filed in Riverside. An accident lawsuit can involve either traumatic amputations or surgical amputations. A traumatic amputation occurs during the course of the accident. For example, a car crash might result in the violent loss of an arm or leg. A surgical amputation is performed by a surgeon. These intentional amputations are done for the purpose of saving the life of the patient when a hand, foot, or limb has been compromised by a serious medical problem, such as an infection.
It is still possible to file a catastrophic injury lawsuit with the help of an accident lawyer after undergoing a surgical amputation, as long as the surgery directly resulted from someone else’s negligent or reckless actions. For instance, a car accident lawsuit might claim that the crash crushed the victim’s leg, which later needed to be amputated. In addition to motor vehicle accidents, other possible causes of amputation injuries include medical malpractice and defective products. Defective power tools or home exercise equipment, for instance, might cause a traumatic amputation.
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