Ventura Wrongful Death Lawyer
Dealing with the loss of a loved one is never easy. When their loss comes at the hands of someone else’s negligence and could have been so easily prevented, the pain and grief can be felt even more keenly. At Zavala Law, we understand the emotional turmoil and financial strain that a wrongful death can place on a family, along with a desire for justice and accountability. Zavala Law is led by Matt Zavala, a seasoned attorney with a background in insurance defense and ample trial experience that makes him well-equipped to deliver strong results. Equally important at Zavala Law is our commitment to offering personal service and ensuring our clients are getting everything they need while we work to resolve their cases. While we take this approach with every case we handle, matters of wrongful death require a special form of compassion and understanding, and you’ll find that here at Zavala Law. Contact our experienced Ventura wrongful death lawyer for immediate assistance.
Leading Causes of Wrongful Death in Ventura County
“Wrongful death” in California means the death of a person caused by the “wrongful act or neglect of another.” This creates a “cause of action,” allowing certain family members to bring an insurance claim or file a lawsuit to recover compensation for their loss.
At Zavala Law, our comprehensive personal injury practice covers a wide range of fatal accidents and liable parties. Some major areas of focus at our firm include:
- Car Accidents – Any car accident can be deadly, but the most common fatal crashes involve head-on collisions, side-impact (T-bone) crashes, and rollover accidents. Often these accidents are caused by drivers who were acting extremely recklessly, such as excessive speed or drunk driving, in which cases punitive damages might be appropriate. We also represent victims of fatal traffic accidents involving cyclists, pedestrians, motorcycle riders, and victims of tractor-trailer accidents.
- Premises Liability – A “slip and fall” might not sound serious, but falls like these become a leading cause of death the older one gets, and they can be deadly for people at any age depending on the circumstances. Other wrongful death matters in the field of premises liability law include deadly assaults where the premises were left unguarded with inadequate security, or fatal dog bites and animal attacks, which take the lives of dozens of people in the U.S. every year, from infants and young children to people of all ages.
- Workplace Accidents – Thousands of people lose their lives every year in workplace accidents, from construction accidents to machinery malfunctions to industrial explosions and chemical spills. When the death was caused by a third party’s negligence, we can help family members hold that party accountable beyond what workers’ compensation provides.
- Product Defects – Malfunctioning or poorly designed products can cause unexpected fatalities when they catch fire, explode, or fail at a critical moment. Potentially deadly defective products are everywhere and can range from children’s toys to power tools, from contaminated food or medicine to defective SUVs.
Who Can Recover Damages After a Wrongful Death in California?
California’s wrongful death statute sets out who can file a claim against the negligent party responsible for causing the death of their loved one. Eligible plaintiffs in a wrongful death case include:
- Spouse or domestic partner
- Grandchildren (if the children are deceased)
- Parents or legal guardians of the deceased
- Other relatives under certain conditions
Types of Damages Recoverable in a Wrongful Death Claim
California law states that wrongful death plaintiffs may recover all damages “that, under all the circumstances of the case, may be just,” except that the plaintiff’s pain and suffering and punitive damages are not recoverable. This basically leaves the following types of damages recoverable:
- Lost wages or income the individual would have earned and contributed to the family
- The value of lost household services or gifts the deceased would have provided
- Hospital bills and other medical costs incurred because of the fatal accident
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of parental guidance
- Loss of spousal intimacy
- Loss of love, companionship, support
Importantly, California law also recognizes another cause of action called a Survival action that allows family members to pursue an individual’s personal injury claim on the victim’s behalf even if they have passed away. A new law in California allows survival actions to include punitive damages in appropriate cases as well as damages for the decedent’s pain and suffering, but only for a limited time. A survival case can be joined with a wrongful death case, allowing family members to maximize their compensation and justice on behalf of their loved one.
Proving a Wrongful Death Claim: The Challenges and the Solution
In California, you’ll need to prove:
- Duty of Care: The defendant owed the deceased a duty of care.
- Breach of Duty: The defendant breached this duty.
- Causation: The breach was the direct cause of death.
- Damages: Financial or emotional loss has occurred as a result.
Unfortunately, wrongful death claims are often difficult to prove. Fatal accidents are often complex, and the details of what happened might be hard to come by, with only the opposing party providing their side of the story. Evidence can be hard to collect, witnesses may be unreliable, and proving a direct cause-and-effect relationship is often complex. But with Matt Zavala’s extensive experience in insurance defense and personal injury litigation, we’re equipped to build a strong case for you.
As we work to resolve your claim with satisfactory results, your experience matters to us as much as the compensation we obtain for you. We make ourselves accessible to you whenever you need us and are committed to making this process as smooth as possible for you.
Contact Zavala Law Today
Thank you for considering Zavala Law for help pursuing your claim. Our aim is to offer you not just effective legal assistance but a supportive hand during these trying times. Feel free to call 805-429-4292 for a no-cost, confidential consultation to discuss your case in detail and find out how we can help.