Fatal Truck Accidents
Due to their weight and size, commercial trucks like big rigs and 18-wheelers have the potential to cause devastating harm. For families, a death due to a truck driver's negligence is not only a source of extreme grief but also a source of anxiety. Families who relied on two incomes for hefty mortgage bills, living expenses, and more may be left wondering how to make ends meet after an untimely death. If your loved one is killed in a fatal truck accident in the Los Angeles area, the experienced lawyers at the Sharifi Firm may be able to help you seek compensation.Pursuing Compensation through a Wrongful Death Claim
In California, you can bring a wrongful death claim if a family member dies as the result of another person's wrongful or negligent act. For example, someone might be driving a passenger car that gets caught in a squeeze play when a big rig makes a careless turn. When this happens, and the driver of the car tragically dies as a result, the victim’s spouse and children may be able to take legal action against the trucker and possibly the trucker’s employer as well.
Unlike a criminal suit, a wrongful death claim is brought in civil court, and liability is expressed in terms of monetary damages. Also unlike a criminal case, in a civil suit, you will only need to prove the elements of your case by a preponderance of the evidence. This means that they are more likely than not to be true, which is not an overwhelming burden to meet. A criminal case and a civil suit can proceed simultaneously, and different results may be reached in each proceeding.
Generally, a wrongful death lawsuit is brought by the decedent's survivors or a personal representative of the decedent's estate. In California, a decedent's surviving spouse, domestic partner, or children may sue for wrongful death. People who are financially dependent on the decedent, such as elderly parents or stepchildren, can also potentially sue. When there are no survivors, the suit may be brought by anyone who would be entitled to the decedent's estate through the rules of intestate succession. This might include the decedent's parents or siblings.
Among the damages that may be recovered through a wrongful death lawsuit are medical expenses, funeral expenses, and lost income that the decedent would have reasonably been expected to earn in the future. These are typically assigned to the estate. The damages assigned to family members often include damages based on the value of loss of love and community, lost financial support, and household services.
The less tangible damages in a wrongful death action can vary significantly based on a family member's testimony about his or her closeness to the decedent. In some cases, insurers try to paint a relationship as being less close than it was in order to protect their bottom lines. It is important, therefore, to retain an attorney with a significant understanding of both the trucking industry and wrongful death cases.Seek Legal Guidance in Los Angeles after a Fatal Truck Accident
If your loved one has been killed by a careless truck driver in Los Angeles or the surrounding cities, the motor vehicle collision attorneys at Sharifi Firm may be able to advise you. We are not afraid to bring a case to trial against both a truck driver and his or her employer. Our firm also represents victims and their families in Temecula, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Rancho Cucamonga, among other Southern California communities. Contact us at 1-866-422-7222 or via our online form for a free, no-obligation consultation.