Two Killed in Lodi Car Accident

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August 05, 2019
Edward Smith

Two Killed in Lodi Car Accident

Two people were killed in a Lodi car accident on the morning of August 2, 2019. The car wreck occurred shortly before 7:30 a.m. along the southbound lanes of Highway 99 near Kettleman Lane. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) reported that a woman was driving a 1970 Chevy Nova in the area. For unknown reasons, the Chevrolet veered off the west side of the highway and collided with a light pole. The vehicle continued on and came to a rest after crashing into a tree. Sadly, the woman and a man who was riding in the passenger seat were pronounced deceased at the scene. Officials have identified the decedents as 74-year-old Deanne Harris Smuck of Lodi and 64-year-old Wendall Scott Smuck of Galt. Their relationship was not immediately known, according to CHP. We would like to take the time to send our heartfelt thoughts and sympathies to the family of Mr. and Ms. Smuck during this difficult time.

Losing a Family Member in a Lodi Car Accident

Few things are more devastating than the unexpected and sudden loss of a family member. The situation may be compounded when the death was caused by the wrongdoing of another driver or entity. Surviving family members are not only emotionally devastated, but they may also face significant financial hardships. In such situations, the assistance of an experienced attorney can prove invaluable. An attorney can handle the legal complexities of your claim while you and your family focus on grieving and recovering from your loss.

What Are the Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim?

In a wrongful death claim, four elements of negligence must be proven to recover compensation. These include:

  • Duty of Care: In a wrongful death case, the family must prove that the negligent person owed the decedent a duty of care
  • Breach of Duty: The liable individual breached their duty of care through negligence
  • Causation: Survivors must show that the violation of the duty of care was the direct cause of the loved one’s wrongful death
  • Damages: The loved one’s unexpected death resulted in quantifiable losses

Wrongful Death Damages in a Lodi Car Accident

The law in California for wrongful death allows surviving family members to recover compensation for their loved one’s unexpected death. This may include economic and noneconomic damages, such as:

  • Expenses for a loved one’s funeral and burial services
  • Loss of affection, companionship, love, and moral support
  • Loss of future income, including benefits such as pension and health insurance to family members
  • Loss of parental guidance and training to surviving children
  • Medical expenses from the time of the accident to death may be claimed through a survival action
  • Punitive damages, which are allowed in California if the conduct of the negligent party was egregious

To learn more about wrongful death cases, watch the below video.

Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim?

Damages in a wrongful death case are generally awarded to the surviving spouse, domestic partner or children of the deceased. This is by California Code of Civil Procedure Section 377.60. Others who may be eligible to file include those who were financially dependent on the decedent. This may include the decedent’s parents, stepchildren, putative spouse, and children of the putative spouse. Such parties have to meet strict criteria and filing deadlines for these cases.

Is There a Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death?

A statute of limitations applies to wrongful death lawsuits. This means a case must be filed within a specific amount of time. Under California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1, there is a two-year window to file a wrongful death action. However, claims involving government entities have different filing requirements. They must be filed with the appropriate agency within six months or 180 days from the time of death. Failing to file a claim within the deadline may prohibit survivors from recovering damages for their loved one’s passing.

Wrongful Death Attorneys in Lodi

I’m Ed Smith, a Lodi wrongful death attorney. Losing a loved one in an accident is devastating and life-changing. That pain may be compounded when the loss is unexpected and caused by the carelessness of someone else. If a member in your family has suffered fatal injuries in an accident due to the negligence of another driver or entity, please call me at (209) 227-1931 or toll-free at (800) 404-5400 to receive my free, friendly case advice.

Our former clients have written detailed reviews about our law firm on the following sites:

I am proud to be listed as a member of the Million Dollar Advocates and the National Association of Distinguished Counsel. Lawyers in the first forum have won $1 million or more for a client through a case verdict or settlement. Attorneys who provide their clients with high standards of legal excellence are invited to be members of the other group.

As a Lodi wrongful death lawyer, I have dedicated my time to helping families who have lost loved ones in car accidents across California since 1982. To see how our law office has resolved prior cases for our clients, go to our Verdicts and Settlements page.

Picture Source: By “Kat Jayne” via Pexels / Two Killed in Lodi Car Accident

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