Losing someone you love is a tragedy. It’s even worse when the cause of death is negligence. If you lost someone close to you because of someone else’s actions or failure to act, then you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. You can recover financial compensation if you can prove that the other party’s negligence caused the death of your loved one. Our experienced attorneys at Beliz Law Firm can explain what constitutes wrongful death in California. Contact us today and schedule a free case evaluation. What Qualifies As Wrongful Death? California law defines wrongful death as a “cause of action for the death of a person caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another.” A wrongful death lawsuit can come about as a result of various situations. You must prove that someone either committed an intentional act or acted negligently. Intentional Act An intentional act is an act committed purposefully. It is a wrongful act if it endangers others. If the intentional act causes the death of another, a wrongful death claim may be pursued. For example, suppose someone engages in a physical altercation with another person. The attacker has committed the wrongful and intentional act of battery. If the victim later dies of the injuries they sustained in the fight, then the victim’s family may be able to file a wrongful death action against the attacker. Note, if your loved one was murdered you might be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit even if the murder suspect is acquitted. Negligence Most wrongful death lawsuits arise from incidents of negligence. Negligence occurs when someone acts carelessly doing something or not doing something. A wrongful death claim may be initiated when negligence results in someone’s death. Negligence wrongful death claims can arise from the following incidents: To prove negligence, you must prove the following four elements. Duty of Care You must prove that the person you are suing had a duty of care to the deceased. Determining the duty of care is fact-intensive. Examples include: The lawyers at Beliz Law Firm will help investigate to see if the person you are suing had a duty of care to your deceased loved one. Breach of Duty Next, there must be a breach of duty to the deceased. You must prove that the party you are suing did something or failed to do something. This action or inaction caused them to breach their duty. For example, when motorists fail to stop at a red light, they breach their duty to drive safely. Or, when a doctor diagnoses a heart attack as heartburn without performing proper tests, then they breach their duty to provide an appropriate level of care. Causation To be successful in your negligence claim, it is not enough that you prove a breach of duty. You must connect the breach to the death of your loved one. Your California wrongful death attorney will help you gather the evidence necessary to hold the parties responsible for your loved one’s death accountable. Damages No amount of compensation can reverse time and bring your loved one back to life. But a wrongful death claim allows you to recover losses that resulted from your loved one’s death, including the following: Calculating damages can be complex. Let the experienced attorneys at Beliz Law Firm handle the work while you and your family recover from your tragic loss. Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim? California law outlines who can bring a wrongful death claim. They include the following: The putative spouse of the decedent and any children they have may also be able to file a wrongful death claim. A minor who does not fit any of these categories may also file a wrongful death claim if they lived with the decedent for 180 days before the decedent’s death and were dependent on the decedent for at least one-half of their support. How Long Do You Have to Bring a Wrongful Death Claim in California? There is a specified time frame to bring civil and criminal claims in California. This time frame is called the statute of limitations. Once this deadline has passed, a plaintiff can no longer pursue a claim. In California, a party has two years to bring a wrongful death claim. Even if you can prove all the elements of what constitutes a wrongful death lawsuit, you cannot hold the negligent party accountable if you fail to bring the claim within two years. Be aware that the statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim starts on the date your loved one passed away, which may not be the same date as the incident or accident. Contact Beliz Law Firm for a Free Case Consultation California wrongful death cases can get complicated. It may be hard to determine what is considered a wrongful death. That’s why you must talk to the experienced attorneys at Beliz Law Firm. With almost two decades of legal experience, founder Michael A. Beliz has recovered millions of dollars for his clients. Michael understands the difficult time you are going through. At Beliz Law Firm, you don’t have to deal with the aftermath of this tragedy alone. Contact us today and find out how we can help you.Keep Reading
Helping Clients Navigate Injury Claims
We’re ready to help with a variety of case-types, here’s just a small example of how we can help:
Large Firm Results & Representation with Small Firm Personalized Attention & Care
Michael is determined to provide each of his clients with personal, one-on-one legal attention. With the Beliz Law Firm, you’re not a number. Each case is important to us, and we promise to treat our clients with respect. We firmly believe in providing you with a voice in your time of need. At the same time, our Long Beach Injury Lawyers focus on maximizing the value of your case - we’re ready to handle tough negotiations with the insurance company. Finally, we won’t hesitate to take your case to trial if that’s what’s needed.
I would highly recommend The Beliz Law Firm and should I need legal counsel or a personal injury lawyer in the future, Michael Beliz has become my new go-to guy.- M.M.
Long Beach Personal Injury Lawyer Michael Beliz
Small Firm Attention, Big Firm Results
Michael A. Beliz, Esq., established The Beliz Law Firm in the spring of 2011. Michael has been a practicing attorney since 2006 and worked for two of the most prominent plaintiff’s personal injury law firms in Southern California. He has extensive experience with personal injury claims and has worked on and handled hundreds of cases as an attorney in all types of accident and injury cases, including car accidents, pedestrian accidents and dog bites, and successfully recovered millions of dollars for his clients.
At the University of San Diego School of Law, Michael was a multiple-year recipient of the Delroy Richardson Endowed Law Scholarship and attained the high pass in Negotiation. In addition, he was a semi-finalist in the ATLA Intramural Mock Trial Competition. Prior to graduating from law school, Michael earned a master’s degree in economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his undergraduate degree from California State University, Long Beach where he was a member of the Omicron Delta Epsilon, the International Honor Society for Economics. Michael A. Beliz is admitted to the State Bar of California and United States District Court, Central District of California.
What to Expect from Our Long Beach Personal Injury Lawyer
At the Beliz Law Firm, we understand the wide range of emotions you experience after suffering injuries in an accident. It can be a scary time fueled by emotions of stress, anxiety, and anger. You may have many questions but no answers. Long Beach injury attorney Michael Beliz provides you with personal, one-on-one attention so you get the answers you need during the most difficult time in your life. At the Beliz Law Firm, each case is important to us, and we treat every client with the compassion and respect they deserve.
"I was referred to the Beliz Law Firm by a family friend and was not disappointed. I was a passenger in a vehicle that was hit by a drunk driver and when I needed the services of an attorney, Michael Beliz came to my work to discuss my options. He is very friendly and explains everything in effectively and in detail. He recommended a great chiropractor whom I then sought treatment from and who helped me recover from my injuries. Michael created an excellent report used in my case which allowed me to receive the maximum return in my settlement. I have already referred a family friend and recommended another long time friend to seek his services. God forbid I ever get in another serious accident, but if I do I will for sure contact Michael again to seek his help. He’s a great guy who does great work!"Y.R.
Long beach personal injury lawyer Michael Beliz represented my personal injury case this year and I’m glad I found them. In summation Michael Beliz came across as intelligent, effective, friendly, and genuine. An excellent people person and well versed attorney is a hard combination to find. Michael walked us through everything; spoke to me like a person and not a case number. He just pretty much made the whole ordeal so much easier. Michael was extremely helpful, patient and responsive with my family and me the entire time. Michael regularly checked in on me during my recovery and kept me up to date on the status of the case and conversations with the other parties’ insurance company. My case wasn’t large but he treated me as if I was one of his only cases. I would highly recommend the Beliz firm to family and friends as the highest recommendation I could offer.”M.G.
"No one wants to involve an attorney in an auto claim, but sometimes you have no choice. Michael made an unpleasant situation so much easier. He really took the time to understand everything that was going on and always gave me prompt and personal attention. He was involved immediately and took over all the interactions with the insurance companies. He became the only one I had to deal with and there were never any games with him, only sound advice. My only mistake was not calling Michael sooner. I now recommend an attorney anytime an injury is involved in an auto accident, if only so they can deal with the insurance companies’ games, and you would be hard pressed to find someone better than Michael Beliz."T.V.
Recent Results & Settlements
Michael has a long history of getting his clients the compensation they deserve. Here are a few of his recent results:
Personal Injury Frequently Asked Questions
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Recent Blog Posts
Even though, as a whole, people drove less in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, auto accidents were unfortunately widespread. Distracted driving accounted for approximately 14% of all car accidents resulting in injuries in 2020, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration (NHTSA). Also in 2020, over 1,100 people lost their lives due to alcohol-related car accidents in California. NHTSA estimates that in 2021, over 4,000 lost their lives in a traffic accident. Car insurance serves to help make sure that a crash victim receives a minimum amount of compensation for their injuries and damages. But what if the damages are more than the insurance policy limit? Can an auto accident settlement exceed the policy limit in California? California Insurance Policies and Limits California has special laws when it comes to car insurance. By law, individuals can carry traditional motor vehicle insurance or provide proof of financial responsibility in lieu of insurance. This allows individuals flexibility to choose how they would like to cover car accident liability. Additionally, it protects the public by requiring individuals to secure a method to compensate car accident victims for losses. Types of California Insurance Policies California allows drivers to carry the following types of liability policies: Some individuals may qualify for a low-cost insurance program. This program improves access to insurance coverage to individuals who can’t afford traditional car insurance. In return, however, the policy limits and coverage are less than those of traditional insurance. California Insurance Policy Limits California’s drivers must provide evidence of the following minimum amounts of financial responsibility in case of an accident: If the individual carries a low-cost automobile insurance policy, the following limits apply: These are the minimum amounts of coverage that California’s drivers must carry or bear responsibility for. But drivers can opt to take out policies with higher coverage amounts. Can an Auto Accident Settlement Exceed the Policy Limit in California? It depends. Part of the insurance contract is that the driver agrees to pay the insurance company X amount in exchange for the insurance covering losses totaling X amount or less. Typically, insurance policies and limits represent the highest amounts that the insurance company may agree to pay if there’s an accident. In California, you have to give the at-fault insurance company one opportunity to resolve the claim within their limits by sending over enough information to show the limit amount should be tendered. If the insurance company disagrees and does not pay, then the insurance policy limit is open. You can still negotiate with the insurance company and at-fault parties to reach a settlement agreement that works for everyone. Additionally, if you have underinsured motorist coverage, your insurance company may cover some of your damages. Having an experienced auto accident lawyer to help you increases your chances of recovering. The Beliz Law Firm helps people like you negotiate with the insurance company. We’re not afraid to go to court to help victims and their families get the compensation they need and deserve. What Are My Options If My Damages Exceed the Insurance Policy Limits? Some car accident injuries like traumatic brain injury can incur a lifetime cost for medical treatment of thousands to over $1 million dollars. Aside from medical costs, you or your loved one may be missing out on wages, enduring pain and suffering, and going through other hardships because of the accident. Do you have options? If you’re unable to negotiate a suitable settlement outside of court, filing a lawsuit may be your best option. If you go to court, the money award you receive isn’t limited by the insurance policy limits. California’s personal injury damages laws set how much you can receive from the at-fault party or parties. Under California law, you may be entitled to full, fair, and reasonable compensation for the damages that the at-fault party caused. This includes direct damages, like to your car and your body during the accident. Additionally, you may receive compensation for the harm to you, your life, and your family because of the accident. In other words, compensation for your pain and suffering and lost wages. Unfortunately, just because a court may award you damages does not mean you will be able to collect them. Underinsured drivers often lack the resources to pay a judgment. Your attorney can investigate to help you determine whether filing a lawsuit will be worthwhile. If you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on your own insurance policy, you can make a claim with your own insurance company up to the limits of that policy. A lawyer can help you navigate claims with both the at-fault driver’s insurance company and your own insurance company. Hiring a knowledgeable and trustworthy auto accident lawyer helps you maximize the recovery you receive. The Beliz Law Firm—Trusted By Southern California Since 2011 Car accident victims need someone they can trust on their side. After all, insurance companies want to save money and at-fault parties aim to pay as little as possible. Meanwhile, car accident victims and their families must pay the price of an accident that wasn’t their fault. Without an attorney in their corner fighting for them, victims may unknowingly sign away their rights to compensation and accept a car accident settlement that’s far less than what their claim is worth. For nearly 20 years, Attorney Michael Beliz has helped numerous victims recover for their losses. We take on faceless insurance companies and hold at-fault parties responsible. We offer free case reviews and don’t charge you a dime in upfront legal fees. Contact us today.Keep Reading
Dog Attack Compensation in California Navigating through the complexities of dog attack compensation in California requires a thorough understanding of legal and medical processes following the incident. The average dog bite settlement can vary significantly from case to case. If the dog caused severe injuries, the person might have incurred more expenses, possibly meriting a higher settlement. In contrast, if the victim suffers minor bruises or no physical injuries at all, the damage award may be lower. An attorney can help you understand and assert your legal rights to help maximize your settlement. Michael Beliz has successfully helped numerous clients recover compensation in many personal injury cases, including claims involving dog bites. He understands the trauma and risks that his clients experience when they suffer a dog attack. He and his team provide aggressive yet compassionate legal representation to clients throughout California to help them reclaim their lives and recover compensation. What Is the Average Settlement for a Dog Bite Case? Every situation leading to a dog bite is unique. For that reason, there is no average settlement for a dog bite case in California. Your chance of recovering compensation depends on a host of factors, such as: The best way to determine if you have a claim against a dog owner and how much that might be is to talk to a legal professional who regularly practices in this area of law. An attorney understands the nuances of California’s dog bite and personal injury laws and may give you some information on what to expect if you pursue damages. What Might Affect the Average Dog Bite Settlement Amounts? While no one can reasonably guarantee a particular outcome, there are common types of damages that may arise in a given case. Three common sources of compensation include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The specific amount of these (or whether the victim receives these at all) depends on the surrounding circumstances. Medical Expenses Dog bites can cause puncture wounds, broken bones, lacerations, bruises, and infections. These can result in the victim paying hospital bills, co-pays, prescription drug fees, and rehabilitation costs. Medical expenses are a common source of damages in a dog bite case. To recover these damages, you’ll need to show that they resulted from the dog bite. In addition, there may be future medical expenses like plastic surgery once the dog bite heals. Lost Wages Many dog bite victims may have to miss work while they quarantine, receive treatment for their injuries, or recover after an attack. You may be entitled to reimbursement from the dog’s owner to cover the time you could not work because you had to attend attack-related medical treatments or stay home and recover. Pain and Suffering Pain and suffering is another type of compensation dog bite victims may receive. This type of damage award compensates you for the pain and trauma involved in suffering a dog bite. It can include the trauma of the event and the effects you experience later on. How Can I Maximize the Average Payout for a Dog Bite? There are steps you can take to help maximize the payout you may receive for a dog bite. These steps include seeking medical attention, taking swift action, and hiring an attorney. While none of these guarantee a particular outcome, they help set you up for possible success. Take Photos Take photos of the dog and your injuries. Keep taking photos of your injuries to show the healing process. Documenting your injuries from the very beginning will show the defendant how your life was affected from the attack. Call Animal Control Call the local animal control. They will go out and gather information about the dog and the dog owner, in addition to getting statements from all interested parties and taking photos of the dog and any injuries. This information will all be put into a report that will be useful for your dog bite claim. Seek Medical Attention Seeking medical attention after a dog bite is imperative to protect your health. Because dogs use their mouths so frequently and owners do not sanitize their pets’ mouths every day, dogs tend to have a lot of potentially dangerous bacteria in their saliva. The best practice is to go to the doctor even before you show signs of an infection. This helps protect your health and sets a strong foundation for your legal claim. Take Swift Action California imposes a strict deadline on when injury victims can file a claim against an at-fault party for a personal injury. In most cases, this deadline is two years, but there are exceptions. Some claims may merit a longer or shorter time limit. An attorney can help you identify and meet this deadline. Hire an Attorney Hiring an attorney can help you prepare, present, and effectively negotiate your settlement. Further, at-fault parties are more likely to take you and your dog bite claim seriously if you have an attorney to help you. A lawyer serves as your advocate to help ensure that your best interests are respected during the case. The Beliz Law Firm Can Help Dog bites can be terrifying experiences, causing trauma and physical injuries. If you suffered an injury during a dog attack, acting quickly and effectively to protect your physical health and legal rights is essential. Michael Beliz understands the pain and challenges experienced by California dog bite victims. He can help you understand the applicable laws in your situation and will listen to your dog attack story. He has over 15 years of experience fighting for injury victims throughout California. If you experienced a dog bite in California, contact Michael today to schedule a no-obligation consultation.Keep Reading