Losing a loved one is devastating, especially when their death was caused by the negligence, intentional harm, or careless actions of another person. In such heartbreaking situations, it’s crucial to understand that you have the right to seek justice and compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. With the guidance of an experienced attorney, you can navigate this challenging legal process and secure the support you and your family deserve.
Compassionate Legal Support During Times of Grief
At Garrity Traina, we understand that the thought of pursuing a lawsuit may be the last thing on your mind as you grieve your loved one’s loss. We recognize the emotional toll of discussing their death and reliving the details of the accident. Rest assured, our team of empathetic San Diego personal injury attorneys has assisted numerous clients through similar hardships, and we are committed to handling your case with the utmost respect and care.
We offer free consultations for those who have lost loved ones due to someone else’s negligence or reckless behavior. During this initial meeting, we will lend an empathetic ear, answer any questions you may have, and provide you with a preliminary case evaluation. We genuinely understand the pain you are going through, and our goal is to alleviate your burden by offering our support.
Seeking Justice and Closure through Wrongful Death Litigation
Families pursue wrongful death claims for various reasons, but above all, they seek justice for their lost loved ones and the closure that comes with it. While we understand that no monetary award can replace your loss, it can provide a sense of closure and financial security for you and your family.
Furthermore, holding the responsible parties accountable for their negligent or reckless actions can deter them from repeating such behavior, thereby preventing harm to innocent individuals in the future. It is our mission to ensure that justice is served and that you and your family receive the compensation you need to plan for your future.
Trials, Settlements, and Working with Insurance Companies
At Garrity Traina, we recognize that most clients prefer to settle their claims out of court rather than go through a trial. Defendants and their insurance companies often share this preference, especially in emotionally charged cases like wrongful death. Defendants are aware that sympathetic juries can award substantial trial awards to grieving families who have suffered immeasurable losses due to the defendant’s misconduct.
During negotiations with insurance companies, it is crucial to remember that their main objective is to pay you as little as possible for your losses. They may pretend to be on your side while offering a settlement far below the true value of your claim. By working with a knowledgeable attorney, you can ensure that your damages are accurately calculated, and any settlement offer you accept is fair.
At Garrity Traina, we have the necessary expertise to calculate your losses and employ critical expert resources, if needed, to determine the full extent of your damages. With our attorneys by your side, you can rest assured that you have a strong advocate fighting for your rights.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death in San Diego
As the oldest personal injury law firm in San Diego, we have represented clients in a wide range of wrongful death cases. Here are a few examples of the types of cases our attorneys handle:
Automobile accidents are a leading cause of death not just in California but across the nation. Fatal car accidents often stem from factors such as driver intoxication, distraction, drowsy driving, inexperience, and excessive speed. Accidents involving large trucks and buses are particularly prone to result in fatal injuries.
When automobile drivers fail to exercise caution and obey the rules of the road around motorcycles, accidents occur, often leading to catastrophic injuries. Due to the size difference and lack of protection, motorcyclists often suffer fatal injuries in these accidents.
Exposure to Hazardous Materials
Exposure to toxic chemicals and materials, such as asbestos, can result from corporate negligence and cover-ups. Big companies knew about the dangers of asbestos for years but failed to inform those who were exposed. It is crucial to hold accountable those responsible for fatal injuries due to toxic exposure.
Slip, Trip, and Fall Accidents
Slip, trip, and fall accidents, particularly those involving falls from heights, can lead to fatal injuries. These cases fall under the category of premises liability, where property owners and managers have an obligation to maintain safe conditions. Fatalities often occur due to brain and spinal cord injuries sustained in these accidents.
Dog owners are responsible for the actions of their pets and any harm they cause to others. In California, plaintiffs in wrongful death cases need only prove that their family member was on public property or legally on private property during the dog attack.
Bicycle and Pedestrian Accidents
Bicyclists and pedestrians frequently find themselves at risk while navigating through traffic. Despite clear laws outlining their rights in California, drivers often fail to recognize the right of way for bicycles and pedestrians. Aggressive driving, carelessness, distraction, intoxication, and speeding are common factors in fatal bicycle and pedestrian accidents.
While large commercial aviation accidents often make headlines, smaller aviation accidents, including those involving small planes, helicopters, gliders, and even parachutes, are more common than people realize. These accidents can result in severe injuries and fatalities.
Defective and Dangerous Products
Sellers and manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure that their products are safe for consumers and to warn of any potential dangers. When these parties prioritize profits over consumer safety and defective products lead to fatal injuries, they must be held accountable.
While these causes represent common scenarios, it is essential to remember that you can file a wrongful death claim regardless of the specific circumstances. If you are unsure about the eligibility of your case, we encourage you to reach out to an experienced lawyer as soon as possible for expert guidance.
Proving a San Diego Wrongful Death Claim
To successfully pursue a wrongful death claim, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant’s negligent, reckless, or intentional conduct caused their loved one’s fatal injuries. Generally, your attorney will present evidence showing that, if not for the defendant’s wrongful conduct, your family member would not have been injured.
Additionally, surviving family members must establish the damages they have suffered due to the loss of their loved one. While compensation for sorrow and grief is not recoverable in wrongful death claims, you may be entitled to compensation for various losses, including:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of financial support your family member would have provided
- Loss of expected gifts or benefits from your loved one
- The value of household services the deceased would have rendered
- Loss of love, companionship, care, affection, society, and moral support
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of your family member’s training and guidance
Survival Actions: Seeking Compensation for the Deceased
Wrongful death claims primarily support surviving family members. However, in cases where fatal injury victims survive for a time after an accident, they may experience losses before their eventual death. Survival actions allow the personal representative of the estate to step into the victim’s shoes and seek compensation for these losses.
Although survival actions do not provide compensation for the deceased’s pain and suffering, they may cover other damages, including:
- Medical expenses, such as ambulance, hospital, and doctors’ bills
- Medicine and pain management costs
- Lost income due to missed work
- Punitive damages aimed at punishing the defendant for egregious conduct and deterring similar actions in the future
For more information on survivorship actions, visit our website here.
Comparative Fault in San Diego Wrongful Death Cases
In an attempt to reduce their liability, defendants in wrongful death cases often argue that the deceased was partially at fault for the accident. However, even if your family member bears some responsibility, you may still be entitled to compensation. In cases involving comparative fault, the plaintiff’s award is proportionately reduced by the decedent’s level of fault after damages have been calculated in both wrongful death and survival actions.
For instance, suppose a wrongful death trial determines that the plaintiffs suffered $1M in damages, with the decedent found 10% at fault and the defendant 90% at fault. In that case, the defendant would be responsible for paying $900,000 (90%) of the damages to the plaintiffs.
Decades of Experience with San Diego Wrongful Death Claims
With over 70 years of experience, Garrity Traina has successfully represented families who have lost loved ones in preventable and tragic incidents nationwide. Our clients range from individuals to multinational corporations, and each case is unique. While nothing can change what you’ve been through, we are here to use our expertise, skills, and knowledge to seek the compensation you deserve.
We are proud to have represented the family of San Diego baseball legend Tony Gwynn in a wrongful death action against the tobacco industry. Our relentless advocacy resulted in a confidential settlement that satisfied all parties involved. Additionally, we have represented victims affected by the 9/11 terrorist attack.
Get the Legal Support You Need from California’s Premier Wrongful Death Attorneys
If you have lost a loved one due to another person’s negligence, intentional harm, or carelessness, our legal team at Garrity Traina is here to provide powerful assistance. We invite you to schedule a confidential consultation with us to learn about the next steps and what you can expect. Contact our office at (619) 238-1811 for compassionate legal guidance during this difficult time.