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A wrongful death is a civil action that claims that someone’s action resulted in the death of another. The purpose of filing a wrongful death claim is to get compensated for the losses you now have to endure because of losing your loved one. In addition, there are times when the court can add punitive damages to punish the wrongdoer and discourage the behavior from happening again.

An experienced wrongful death attorney can tell you if filing a wrongful death claim is suitable for your situation. They will be able to advise you on what you can be compensated for and if punitive damages could be awarded because of the wrongful act that caused the death of your loved one.

Wrongful Death by Negligence

Negligence is a legal standard of action measured by the level of care and caution reasonable people may take if in the same situation. For example, a reasonable person might always follow speed limit laws. Another might disregard speed limit laws and cause a car accident. The driver that caused the accident didn’t exercise the level of care and caution of following the speed limit laws and executed an act of negligence when they ignored the speed limit.

The consequences of negligence can come in many forms and can wreak destruction on many lives. But the results are not something someone sets out to intentionally achieve when acting negligently. Some examples of incidents that can cause injuries and deaths because of negligent acts include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Accidental firearms discharge
  • Dangerous premises
  • Animal attacks

Punitive damages would be less likely to be awarded for deaths in these situations if the negligent acts were not malicious, fraudulent, intentional, or reckless. For example, if a dog owner did not know their dog escaped from their premises and the dog then caused the death of a child, it would be an unfortunate accident. The dog owners may have been negligent in preventing the dog from escaping, but they didn’t intentionally or maliciously encourage the dog to attack the child.

The Difference Between Negligence and an Intentional Act

Usually, intentional acts that lead to someone’s death are committed during unlawful activity. These acts differ from negligence because the person committing the act intends the harm they cause. Examples of intentional conduct that can lead to wrongful deaths include:

  • Drunk driving
  • Arson
  • Robbery
  • Kidnapping
  • Sexual battery
  • Murder

In these cases, you don’t have to wait for a person to be convicted of these crimes before you file your wrongful death claim. The standard of proof is different in civil actions than in criminal proceedings. Your attorney only has to prove that it is more likely than not that a person is responsible for the death of your loved one. And punitive damages are more likely to be awarded in a wrongful death caused by intentional acts.

Who Can Initiate a Wrongful Death Claim in California

In California, surviving spouses, domestic partners, or children can file a wrongful death claim. If any of the children are deceased, their children are entitled to file a lawsuit. If you are considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit, you have two years from the date of death to file it, or you may lose any claim to compensation after the statute of limitations runs out. 

The goal of filing a wrongful death claim is not necessarily to punish the liable party but to get back what you lost or are going to lose as a result of the death. Some examples of compensatory expenses you can ask for when filing a wrongful death claim include:

  • Burial and funeral expenses
  • Lost wages and loss of financial support over their life expectancy
  • A loss of companionship and consortium
  • The deprivation of household services help

These awards don’t make up for the fact that your loved one is gone. But imagine continuing life without the financial support with which your loved one took care of the family. It would also be difficult to handle emotional burdens when worrying about financial ones.

Consult the California Wrongful Death Attorneys at Kash Legal

There is much loss when a loved one has died because of someone else’s careless or intentional acts. Financial losses and emotional voids are put upon families when a loved one is no longer there. The wrongful death attorneys at Kash Legal empathize with you and your family and want to make sure that you are adequately compensated for your losses. 

The Kash Legal attorneys have handled many wrongful death cases compassionately and competently. They ensure their clients and their families get the maximum compensation when their loved one is taken away too soon. If someone has caused the death of a loved one, call Kash Legal at (888) 527-4128 or complete our contact form today.

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