A 23-year-old father was recently killed in a tragic Pasadena car accident. The man, who was riding in a vehicle with his wife and young daughter, was struck in the chest when a 30-35 pound boulder came crashing through his windshield. According to reports, the large volleyball-sized rock was dropped onto the 134 Freeway as the victim’s car passed under the Orange Grove Boulevard overpass. The victim’s wife drove him to the nearest hospital, but he died from his injuries shortly after arrival. The young man leaves behind a 21-year-old wife and a 4-year-old daughter, both of whom were unharmed in the freak accident. His family is likely considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit against whoever is responsible for his death.
Pasadena Wrongful Death Lawsuits
When car accidents are fatal, family members can be left with little more than the memories they once shared with their loved one. These individuals may be forced to not only deal with the emotional trauma of an unexpected death, but also the financial repercussions that it may have. This is especially true when the victim of a car accident was primarily responsible for taking care of his or her family. In California, victims of accident victims have the right to pursue financial compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. These lawsuits are filed against the person who is responsible for causing the fatal accident.
A successful wrongful death lawsuit must prove:
- A loved one was killed,
- As the result of negligence or willful misconduct, and
- The family suffered emotional and/or financial harms as a result.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Pasadena?
Not just anyone can file a wrongful death lawsuit in California. California law restricts the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit to immediate family members and those who have a proven dependency on the victim.
Spouses, domestic partners, and children have the first right to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. If none of these parties survive the victim, others who may be allowed to file a wrongful death claim include:
- Minor children who were financially dependent on the victim, or
- Anyone entitled by state law to recover the victim’s property.
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Cases
In California, family members who wish to file a wrongful death lawsuit must act quickly. The state imposes a statute of limitations that only provides a short period of time in which a claim can be filed. If you do not file a wrongful death action within two years of your loved one’s death you will likely be prevented from getting the compensation you deserve.
Tolling the Statute of Limitations When the Defendant Cannot be Found
What happens if the person who caused a fatal accident cannot be found before the statute of limitations expires? Police are still searching for the man responsible for the Pasadena man’s death, and there are no signs that they have any leads. Will the man’s family simply be out of luck if the defendant can evade arrest for at least two years? No. The statute of limitations can be tolled (or extended) when certain extenuating circumstances exist. If the defendant in a case cannot be located or happens to be incarcerated, family members can file a claim after the statute of limitations would have initially expired. Once the tolling factor is no longer an issue (the man is located or released from prison), the statute of limitations will begin to run again. The family must then take the proper steps to file a legal claim.
Damages Available in Wrongful Death Lawsuits
What kind of compensation can the Pasadena man’s family recover from a wrongful death lawsuit? California law explicitly allows family members to recover damages for:
- Lost financial support
- Loss of gifts or benefits the victim would have provided
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Value of household services provided by the victim
- Loss of the victim’s love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, and moral support
- Loss of consortium, and
- Loss of the victim’s training and guidance.
Pasadena Wrongful Death Attorneys
Have you lost a loved one in a tragic Pasadena accident? If another person’s negligent or wrongful conduct caused their fatal accident, you may be entitled to recover monetary compensation. Call the Pasadena personal injury attorneys at Andrew W. Glotzer, APC to learn about the benefits of filing a wrongful death claim. We offer a free consultation, so do not hesitate to call us today. We will review your case, explain your legal rights, and answer the questions you have.