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Wrongful Death

Can You Recover Punitive Damages In A Wrongful Death Claim

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There is nothing more shocking than losing a loved one in an accident caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another. Not only is death a very emotional occurrence to process, but it can also lead to a number of questions with elusive answers, including: What happens next?

While nothing can restore a loved one to you once they have passed, filing a wrongful death claim for damages can help your family recover the financial compensation that they need. One type of damages that may be recoverable in a wrongful death action are punitive damages, with certain exceptions.

Punitive Damages Are Not Typically Allowed in Wrongful Death Actions

Punitive damages, also called exemplary damages, are a type of damages in a civil suit that is intended to punish the defendant rather than compensate the plaintiff. In a standard personal injury action, these types of damages are permitted when the defendant committed the wrongful act out of malice, oppression, or fraud. However, in wrongful death actions, punitive damages are almost never recoverable. There are two exceptions to this:

  • Homicide based on a felony. The first exception to this rule is in the event that the death of the decedent was the result of a homicide for which the defendant has been convicted of a felony charge. For example, if a person was driving their vehicle while intoxicated and killed the decedent (on whose behalf the wrongful death action has been filed), and then pled guilty to a felony charge, the plaintiff could recover punitive damages. This is found in section 3294 of California Civil Code.
  • If the injured person did not die immediately. The second exception to the law which bars the recovery of punitive damages in a wrongful death action is in the case that a wrongful death survivorship action has been filed and the decedent did not die instantly after sustaining their fatal injuries. A survival action can only be brought when the decedent did not die immediately and allows for exemplary damages. Case law supports this – see Ford Motor Co. v. Superior Court (1981) 120 Cal.App.3d 748, 751.

Our Law Firm Is Here for You

Understanding what punitive damages are and when they are recoverable in a wrongful death action can be overwhelming, and when you are coping with the loss of your family member, the technicalities of the law are the last thing you need to worry about. When you hire our Ventura, California wrongful death and injury case attorneys at the Quirk Law Firm, we will support you and guide you through the entire civil process. Injury attorney Trevor Quirk will work hard for you and your family and improve your chances of recovering your maximum compensation amount in a wrongful death claim, including punitive damages when allowable.

To schedule your free consultation with Ventura wrongful death attorney Trevor Quirk today, call our law offices now: 805-650-7778. Our job is to provide you with the legal support you need during this difficult time.

This Blog Was Provided By:

Quirk Law Firm, LLP

4222 Market Street, Suite C
Ventura, California 93003

Phone: 805-650-7778

Top 3 FAQs We Hear About Wrongful Death Accidents

By | Wrongful Death | No Comments

When a person dies due to the wrongful act of another, their surviving family members have the right to pursue compensation by filing a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death claims are similar to personal injury claims in that plaintiffs must prove negligence, causation, and damages in order to recover compensation. However, there are some stark differences between wrongful death and personal injury claims, too. If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of another, here are some answers to frequently asked questions about wrongful death accidents that may be helpful to you–

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Only certain parties are allowed to file a wrongful death claim after losing a loved one in California. Per Section 377.60 of California Code of Civil Procedure, these parties include the decedent’s:

  • Spouse or Domestic partner;
  • Children;
  • Parents of the Decedent;
  • Stepchildren;
  • Relatives who would be entitled to the property of the decedent per the state’s intestate succession laws; and
  • Dependents who relied upon the decedent at the time of their death;
  • Any minor who resided with the Decedent for 180 days prior to Decedent’s death;

What Damages Are Recoverable in a Wrongful Death Claim?

The specific amount of damages that an individual can recover in a wrongful death claim in Ventura is dependent upon the amount of losses beneficiaries have suffered. That being said, the types of damages that are recoverable include burial expenses, funeral expenses, medical bills prior to death, the value of the decedent’s lost wages and benefits, loss of love and community, loss of guidance and moral support, and loss of household services and punitive damages.

How Much Does a Wrongful Death Law Firm Cost to Hire?

Most people want to know how much a wrongful death claim will cost them to pursue before they take action. At the Quirk Law Firm, LLP, our Ventura accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means you never have to pay for services upfront. Instead, if your case is successful, we will be paid based on a percentage of your winnings. We also handle all upfront fees, like the costs of hiring experts, so that you never have to worry about whether or not you can afford a wrongful death claim.

If you have more questions, contact our Ventura accident attorney, Trevor Quirk, today. Our personal injury and trial attorneys at our wrongful death law firm care about you and will work hard on your behalf.

This Blog Was Provided By:

Quirk Law Firm, LLP

4222 Market Street, Suite C
Ventura, California 93003

Phone: 805-650-7778

$2 Million Wrongful Death Settlement

By | News, Wrongful Death | No Comments

A Los Angeles County Judge approved a $2 Million settlement negotiated by Trevor Quirk of Quirk Law Firm yesterday.  Trevor Quirk represented Edward Myricks’ family in a wrongful death suit arising out of Edward Myrick’s fatal collision with a big rig.  Evidence developed by Quirk Law Firm revealed that in the early morning of October 7, 2011, the big rig driver made an illegal u turn in front of Mr. Myricks as he was riding his motorcycle on his way to work.  Mr. Myricks never had time to avoid the big rig and sadly lost his life collided into the side of the truck and lost his life.  The $ 2 Million settlement, while substantial, will not replace the Myricks’ family’s loss, but will end the litigation and will allow them to move forward with their lives.

 

http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2011/10/08/motorcyclist-39-killed-in-wilmington-big-rig-crash-identified/

This Blog Was Provided By:

Quirk Law Firm, LLP

4222 Market Street, Suite C
Ventura, California 93003

Phone: 805-650-7778