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What to Do When Another Family Member Challenges a Wrongful Death Claim?

Thursday, March 23, 2017

If a loved one is killed in a work-related accident, that fatality classifies as wrongful death. While many don’t want to think of the financial aspect of it all, a common reality is that they depended on the deceased for a large portion of their income. In most states, a number of family members can file a wrongful death suit and get compensation to help make the financial transition of their loss a little easier. However, that family member must have been financially dependent on them.

However, what happens when there is more than one person in the family that was financially dependent on the deceased? Typically the settlement is awarded to the primary family member like the spouse or the surviving children. However, what happens if there was a secondary, like a parent, that was dependant on a portion of the income?

There is normally not more than one settlement. In most cases, the family members will split it to help with expenses, but the decision to do so is by choice rather than any responsibility to do so by the courts. However, if non-primary family members are part of the family that can be entitled to wrongful death settlements in your state, such as parents opposed to extended family like aunts or uncles, and can prove that they were financially dependent on the deceased, they do have some options.

If those two qualifications are met, they do have the right to challenge a settlement and the courts can force the primary family member to split it.

If you have suffered a wrongful death in the family and found a family member challenging your settlement or are looking to challenge the settlement of another, contact us. Wrongful death cases are hard enough as it is, we can help make getting your compensation a little easier.

What Damages Can You Seek for Wrongful Death?

Thursday, March 16, 2017

If someone you love has been killed in a fatal accident that is the fault of another person or entity, it can be a devastating time. Not only were they taken from you suddenly, but you likely don’t want to think of the financial vacuum that their loss has created in your life. However, if someone you loved was the victim of wrongful death, you can seek damages against them.

The damages available for wrongful death vary from state to state, but in California, the available recourse is quite liberal. When filing for wrongful death, you can seek monetary compensation to cover:

  • Funeral expenses

  • Medical bill coverage for the final injury

  • Lost income including lost potential income

One major factor that is missing is the ability to seek damages for grief and emotional distress. In wrongful death cases, typically this is not something you can go after.

Who Can Seek Wrongful Death Damages?

While the damages you can seek are a little more negotiable, there is a wide array of different family members that can file wrongful death lawsuits. However, while surviving spouses, child, parents, stepchildren, and putative spouses can bring about a wrongful death claim, they must first have had some monetary dependency on the deceased if they want to get full damages aside from the coverage of medical bills and funeral expenses.

If, for example, a parent sought wrongful death damages and did not have any financial help from the deceased, they would not be able to pursue loss of potential income. However, if they needed support from the deceased, like if they paid for a nursing home, then that would open up the path for loss of income damages.

Unfortunately, wrongful death cases are often long and stressful. If you are in the Los Angeles area and need representation, contact us today so that the Law Office of Freeman and Freeman can help take some of that stress away.


California Dog Bite Laws Are Strict On The Owner

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Dog bite personal injury cases are a lose-lose situation. Even if the person who was injured gets money, the other person loses their dog. This is especially true due to the strict nature of California dog bite laws and the ways they put the liability on the owner.

California Is A “Strict Liability” State

When a state bases their personal injury lawsuits on “strict liability,” the dog owner is liable for any bite that occurs by their dog when the person who was bitten was in a public place or lawfully visiting the owners home or another private place.

This is a very strict type of liability that makes it hard to defend against these cases. The statute of limitations is typically two years on this case – meaning the bitten person has those two years to bring the case to court.

Defenses Against These Claims

The only ways to really defend against this type of claim includes illustrating that the injures were not caused by a dog bite. For example, a medical examiner could state that the injury is not congruent with that caused by a bite and was caused by another injury. Typically this is hard if the dog clearly bit the person and there were witnesses.

Another defense is to claim that the person was trespassing unlawfully on the property. Again this is hard if the person who was bitten was a friend or family member who was visiting. But robbers bitten by a dog cannot sue, nor can anyone who was being thrown off of property or whom the owner did not want on the property.

The strict rules that dictate dog bite cases in California make it important to hire a professional attorney to defend you. Please contact us if you are involved in one of these cases and feel you are being unfairly persecuted.



Cycling Accidents at Intersections: Who is at Fault?

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Accidents at intersections are the most common cycling accidents throughout the world. As many cars don’t know how to share the road with a cyclist, they often neglect to pay attention to them, leading to a number of tragic accidents. However, who is at fault? In most states, cyclists have to follow the same rules of the road as a car does. So if a cyclist doesn’t follow the rules, could they be at just as much fault as the car that wasn’t paying attention?

Right of Way When There Are No Traffic Signals

When two people approach an intersection and there are no traffic signals, the vehicle (including a bicycle) that arrives first has the right of way. If two vehicles somehow end up there at the same time, the vehicle to the right has the right of way. This also counts for intersections with stop signs. So if you were riding your bicycle and were clearly the first to arrive, you still have the right of way, because you do count as a vehicle.

Right of Way When There Are Traffic Signals

Unlike other intersections, crossing an intersection with traffic lights safely can be pretty tricky. Sometimes a bicycle is not able to trigger the signal sensors so the light may effectively stay red until a car comes along. If you are trying to cross at one of these intersections, you are given two options: try to trigger the sensors or wait until it is safe to cross against a light. To be clear, if you are unable to set the sensors off and choose to cross, if you get hit, it will still be the fault of the cyclist in most common cases.

If you have been in a cycling accident and aren’t sure who was at fault for it, contact us today. We can help you sort out the legal details and make sure you get the justice that cyclists deserve.

Mistakes to Avoid After an Auto Accident

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Car accidents are one of the top personal injury accidents in the world, but even if the accident is a minor one, the costs can be major. However, it is not always the accident that can cause those involved to have to shell out tons of money, but the costly mistakes they make afterwards.

Failing to Gather Information

After an auto accident, we are not always in the right frame of mind or physically able to gather information from the scene. Luckily, that is what police on the scene are for. After an accident, especially if you are looking to file a legal or insurance claim, be sure to contact the police to get copies of their documentation.

Missing the Statute of Limitations

Most incidents, from accidents all the way to sexual assault, have a statute of limitations. However, when it comes to auto accidents, the statute of limitations is strict and with a short window. You only have two years to file a suit against the liable party before the statute runs out. That seems plenty long, but it can take awhile to prepare for filing, heal from injuries, and actually decide if you want to go to court.

Not Following Up with Medical Care

After an accident, many injuries require immediate care, but other injuries are not always so noticeable. If you don’t cite injuries when you file suit, you will not get any compensation for them. This is why it is important to go to your follow-up exams before filing a claim, so you actually get an amount that can cover all your injuries.

If you have been hurt in an auto accident and want to avoid any detrimental mistakes, contact us today.


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From our offices in Woodland Hills, California, Freeman & Freeman, LLP, provides legal advice and representation for clients in communities throughout the state, including those in Burbank, Glendale, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, Tarzana, Santa Clarita, Agoura Hills, Reseda, Canoga Park, Chatsworth, Northridge, Granada Hills, Pacoima, Panorama City, North Hollywood, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Lancaster, Palmdale and Alhambra.