When a family is faced with the shock and trauma of losing a loved one suddenly, they shouldn’t also have to face the additional hardship of financial problems caused by the unexpected death. If the death was caused by negligence or by the careless or reckless actions of another person, immediate family members may be able to obtain some compensation to help cover their losses by filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
In California, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed by surviving family members in civil court when a person’s death is the result of someone else’s negligence or deliberately wrongful actions. Eligible surviving family members include spouses, children, parents, and dependent stepchildren.
If the wrongful actions were deliberate, the person who intentionally caused harm may also face criminal prosecution. They don’t have to be convicted of the crime for the wrongful death case to proceed in civil court, because they are completely separate cases.
Possible Causes of Wrongful Death
One of the most common causes of wrongful death happens as the result of a car accident caused by a negligent or reckless driver. Drivers are often responsible for passengers traveling in different types of public transportation and if these drivers are inattentive, drowsy or driving under the influence of mind-altering substances, injuries and fatalities can result.
Work-related accidents can result in severe injury or death. Preventable fatalities can occur because of criminal assaults, falls or products that have a faulty design or defective manufacturing. Commercial truck accidents and medical malpractice are other possible causes of wrongful death.
Determining Damages in a Wrongful Death Case
Clearly, no amount of money can truly compensate for the loss of your loved one. Filing a wrongful death claim is done to hold the person who caused the fatality accountable. It’s also done to help take away the burden of financial stress brought about by the death of your loved one and to help secure your family’s financial future.
Factors that the court may consider in determining damages in a wrongful death case include:
- The loss of your loved one’s current income along with their future earning ability and expected earnings
- How many survivors depended on the deceased for financial support and security
- Loss of companionship
- The cost of medical bills or funeral expenses
Consult a California Wrongful Death Attorney
There are many legal factors involved in trying to prove wrongful death, so it’s in the best interest of your family to consult an experienced California wrongful death attorney. At Megeredchian Law, we will offer you compassion and support during this difficult time and we’ll also help you to understand your rights as a survivor of a wrongful death case.
Keep in mind that the statute of limitations requires that you file a claim within two years, or it will be too late. Fill out the form on this page to contact Megeredchian Law to set up a free case evaluation and to answer any questions you may have.