Top Errors You Don't Want to Make If a Loved One Died in a Southern California Personal Injury Accident

Losing a loved one is never easy. The pain and grief can be even more excruciating if your family member died in a San Diego or Southern California personal injury accident. Fortunately, you may be able to hold the negligent party responsible and seek the compensation you need and deserve to help you go on with your life. 

The last thing you want to do is make mistakes that weaken your personal injury accident claim and force you to accept less money in a settlement offer from insurance. San Diego personal injury lawyer Mark Blane and his legal team at The Law Offices of Mark C. Blane, APC, are here to help you avoid making errors in your case and will aggressively fight for the damages you deserve under California law.

Losing a family member in a San Diego or Southern California personal injury accident is a devastating experience. Amidst the grief and emotional turmoil, you also face the daunting task of seeking justice for your loved one's wrongful death. 

Navigating this challenging process with care is crucial, as even minor missteps can significantly weaken your claim. At The Law Offices of Mark C. Blane, APC, we understand the pain you're going through, and we're here to guide you through every step of your legal journey. We’ll work to ensure that you avoid making common mistakes that could hurt your case so you can receive the damages and justice you deserve.

Understanding Wrongful Death Actions in California

A wrongful death action arises when a victim dies as a result of the negligence or misconduct of another individual, business, or other entity. Under California's civil procedure laws, certain family members or the deceased's estate can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit seeking damages for the financial and emotional losses they have suffered. A surviving spouse or partner and surviving children and grandchildren would have the first priority for filing a personal injury accident claim. If there is no surviving spouse, partner, children, orwrongful death suit grandchildren, then the parents of the deceased or someone that the victim financially supported may have a right to sue the negligent party.

Seeking damages after a personal injury accident will not bring your loved one back or stop you from experiencing the devasting grief of losing your family member. However, obtaining the compensation you are entitled to will help you pick up the pieces of your life. Types of compensation that you can recover in a San Diego wrongful death case include:

  • Medical expenses. You are entitled to reimbursement of the medical costs to treat the injuries your loved one suffered in the personal injury accident.
  • Funeral expenses. Funeral and burial expenses can also be recovered in a wrongful death action.
  • Loss of financial support. If your family member provided you with financial support, you can seek these damages, which include future losses you will suffer, when you file your personal injury accident claim.
  • Non-economic damages. Non-economic damages help compensate you for the pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and emotional distress that you are enduring after the death of your family member.

Leading Causes of Fatal Southern California Personal Injury Accidents 

The negligence of an individual, business, or other entity causes many fatal personal injury accidents. I am an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help you determine the cause of your family member's fatal accident and hold the negligent party responsible. Here are some common causes of these tragic and preventable accidents:

  • Car accidents. Rear-end collisions, head-on accidents, and multi-vehicle wrecks are a few types of car accidents that negligent drivers cause. I understand the complexities of car accident wrongful death cases and work tirelessly to hold responsible parties accountable.
  • Truck accidents. With their sheer size and weight, truck accidents can result in catastrophic injuries and fatalities. These fatal crashes are often caused by the truck driver's negligent driving and violations of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) safety regulations by trucking companies and truckers.
  • Bicycle accidents. Cyclists are particularly vulnerable on the road. When accidents occur due to motorist negligence, such as speeding or not yielding the right of way, we fight vigorously to protect the rights of surviving family members.
  • Pedestrian accidents. Pedestrians face significant risks of death in a pedestrian accident, especially in busy urban areas, when drivers speed, engage in distracted driving, or drive while intoxicated. If your loved one was killed in a pedestrian accident, we can help you pursue justice.
  • Motorcycle accidents. Motorcycle riders are much more likely to suffer fatal injuries in a motorcycle accident caused by a negligent motorist because they only have their clothes and helmets to protect them. Unfortunately, the rider is often unfairly blamed for these crashes, but we know how to challenge biased narratives and advocate for fair compensation for the families of motorcycle accident victims.
  • Dog bite injuries. Fatal dog attacks can have devastating consequences for families. I have the knowledge and skill to pursue claims against negligent dog owners and seek compensation for your loss under California's dog bite laws.
  • Child injuries. When children are involved in accidents resulting in wrongful death, the emotional toll is particularly heavy. You need the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer who will handle your cases with sensitivity and dedication and will fight for the justice your family deserves.

Common Mistakes That Can Hurt Your San Diego Personal Injury Accident Case

Navigating a personal injury accident case can be challenging, especially when you are grieving the loss of a loved one. However, the actions you take can have a direct impact on the strength of your wrongful death action and how much compensation you can realistically expect to recover. 

Making these mistakes can significantly weaken your claim and give the insurance company arguments to deny your claim or to try to pay you less money in your settlement. 

Not Collecting Evidence

You carry the burden of proving that the negligence of another party caused your loved one's death and that they owe the compensation you are seeking. You need evidence to prove your case. 

Failing to gather crucial evidence, including witness statements, accident reports, and medical records, can weaken your case. Some evidence, such as business surveillance video recordings, can be lost if it is not obtained soon after the accident. I will work diligently to determine the cause of your personal injury accident and gather and preserve evidence to support your claim.

Fighting With Family Members

Disputes among family members can complicate matters and delay the resolution of your case. It can also weaken an otherwise solid case. If your family cannot avoid arguing about pursuing a personal injury accident claim, you should leave communications with your family members to your experienced personal injury attorney.

Talking to the Insurance Company

You should not be surprised if the insurance company contacts you in the days after your family member's death. However, talking to them about your claim would be a big mistake. 

While the insurance adjuster may seem sympathetic, you must remember that they are not on your side. Their goal is to obtain information from you that they can use to try to minimize your claim or shift blame onto your loved one. 

Even if you are careful, you could say something that could be misconstrued or twisted by the insurance adjuster. It is best to let your knowledgeable personal injury lawyer handle the communications with insurance companies, protecting your interests and ensuring that you're not taken advantage of.

Discussing Your Personal Injury Case Online

Posting about your claim on social media or discussing it publicly can harm your claim. The insurance company could search your social media sites multiple times for damaging information they can use against you during settlement negotiations. I advise my clients to refrain from sharing details about their cases online to avoid jeopardizing their legal rights.

Accepting a Low Settlement Offer 

Insurance companies often offer settlements that are too low in hopes of convincing vulnerable individuals to accept less compensation than they deserve to get the settlement process over quickly. You should not agree to accept a settlement offer without first discussing it with a skilled personal injury lawyer. I will negotiate aggressively on your behalf and refuse to accept inadequate offers that fail to compensate you fully for your losses.

Missing the Deadline to Sue

California has a time period, referred to as the statute of limitations, for filing a wrongful death lawsuit, which is typically two years from the date of your family member's death—not the date of the accident. Missing this deadline can have catastrophic consequences for your case, barring you from seeking any compensation from the negligent party and their insurance company.

Not Hiring a Lawyer

Attempting to handle a wrongful death case by yourself can be overwhelming and lead to costly mistakes. At The Law Offices of Mark C. Blane, APC, my San Diego wrongful death attorney team and I are dedicated to helping you seek justice and recover the compensation you deserve. We will help you avoid making mistakes that hurt your case and build strategies to strengthen your case if you made an inadvertent error before retaining me. Contact us today.

Mark Blane
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San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer | California Car Accident Attorney
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