Wrongful Death

When a death occurs because of a negligent or intentional act it can be referred to as a “wrongful death.” Various circumstances can cause these deaths. Nearly 40,000 people are fatally injured in car accidents each year. Sadly, many of these accidents are caused by negligent drivers. Medical errors are now the third-leading cause of death in the U.S., causing more than 250,000 deaths annually. Workplace injuries cause many fatal injuries, as does elder abuse in nursing homes.

No matter who or what caused the death, grieving families want the at-fault party to be held accountable for their negligent, reckless, or intentional actions. The family of the decedent also deserves monetary compensation to help with their financial burdens and emotional losses. A compassionate Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer can help them seek this compensation.

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Causes of Wrongful Deaths

Every death is a unique tragedy; however, the most frequent reasons for a wrongful death lawsuit include:

Motor vehicle accidents including car, motorcycle, and truck crashes

ATVs and off-road vehicles that cause more than 600 deaths annually

Slips and fall accidents are a leading cause of accidental death for senior citizens

Medical errors including the thousands of surgical, medical, and medication mistakes that happen every day

Defective products and machinery don’t discriminate when it comes to causing fatal injuries, and wrongful death claims are included in product liability lawsuits

Defective products and machinery don’t discriminate when it comes to causing fatal injuries, and wrongful death claims are included in product liability lawsuits

Workplace accidents are usually covered under the employer’s worker’s compensation insurance and include death benefits for the employee’s family, although, depending on the circumstances, the family may have grounds to pursue wrongful death claim against certain parties

Intentional violent acts which include assault and battery, rape, and other criminal attacks that result in death can be prosecuted by the state in criminal court give rise to a wrongful death civil lawsuit brought by the family

If your loved one suffered fatal injuries in any of these circumstances, reach out to a Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer who can help you determine if you have a legal claim. If so, they can help you take the necessary steps in filing a lawsuit.

California’s Wrongful Death Laws

California’s wrongful death statute details the requirements to file a wrongful death lawsuit, who can file the lawsuit, what types of damages they can seek, and other essential matters.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

A Los Angeles wrongful death attorney can help the following parties file a lawsuit after the death of a loved one:

A personal representative who was chosen before the death

Surviving spouses

Domestic partners

Children

Grandchildren (if the decedent’s children are also deceased)

Minor children (such as stepchildren) who were dependent on the deceased for a minimum of 50 percent of their financial support

Any other parties who could be entitled to the deceased’s property under California’s laws on intestate succession

If you aren’t sure if you have the right to file the lawsuit or want to find out who can on behalf of your loved one, contact a Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible for help.

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What Types of Damages are Available in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Damages refer to the losses or inconveniences the plaintiff has suffered as a result of the wrongful death. By claiming specific damages, the plaintiff can help ensure fair compensation in their claim. There are compensatory damages that are meant to provide for economic and non-economic losses.
Economic damages are typically easier to calculate, as verifiable numbers can be used. No limits are placed on economic damages, and they can include:

The financial provisions the decedent would have contributed to the family over their lifetimes

The loss of benefits or gifts the heirs could have expected to receive from the deceased

Funeral and burial expenses

The reasonable value of household services the deceased would have provided such as childcare, housekeeping, laundry, shopping, or cooking

Non-economic damages are also without limits, but they can be more complicated to calculate. These types of damages don’t come with a predetermined value. A jury can award any amount that is reasonable based on the evidence and common sense. These damages include:

Society and companionship

Training and guidance

Protection

Moral support

Affection

Sexual relations

In a wrongful death action, plaintiffs cannot claim pain and suffering or punitive damages. However, they can be claimed if a survival action is filed. The only exception is that punitive damages can be sought if the decedent is a homicide victim. Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages don’t serve the purpose of compensating. Instead, they are meant to punish the defendant for intentional or reckless acts.

What is a Survival Action?

Wrongful death lawsuits are often coupled with survival actions per California Code of Civil Procedure 377.30. Plaintiffs can bring a lawsuit for the loss of the deceased party’s income and companionship and one for the action that caused the death to include damages like pain and suffering and medical bills.

A survival action allows the deceased party’s heirs to file a lawsuit on behalf of their estate. A Los Angeles wrongful death attorney can assist in filing a survival lawsuit along with the wrongful death claim.

The deceased person’s estate can be compensated for one or both types of losses in a legal survival action:

Those unrelated to the death for which the deceased had the right to sue as of the date of death

Those for the injury that resulted in the death provided the decedent survived those injuries for at least a short period of time

Turn to a Compassionate Los Angeles Wrongful Death Attorney Today

If you recently lost a family member due to the negligent, reckless, or intentional actions of another person or party, you need to speak to a compassionate Los Angeles wrongful death attorney. Your attorney will review the circumstances of their death, determine who might be liable, and help you file a wrongful death claim. To get started, call our law firm today for a case review.

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