The death of a loved one is an incredibly difficult process to endure.
In the event that the death was caused by the negligence of another party,
financial worries and legal action prosecuting those responsible can intensify
feelings of loss and stress. When it comes to recovering the damages suffered
after a family member's death, it is vital to retain legal counsel
to learn your rights and help file a timely wrongful death claim.
Help for Victims' Families
When a person dies due to the fault of another person, that person's
living relatives may be able to file a wrongful death claim. A death may
occur as a result of a car-accident, trucking accident, motorcycle accident,
or a fall on someone's property (premises liability accident). Sometimes
a person incurs hospital or medical bills because of the accident and
then dies of those injuries. All of these situations are wrongful death
claims. Wrongful death claims were created to protect the rights and well-being
of a victim's family and filing them correctly is crucial to being
Who can file a wrongful death claim?
Wrongful death claims are filed on behalf of the survivors who suffer any
damages, expenses and extenuating circumstances as a result of the decedent's
death. According to California Civil Procedure section 377.60, the following
people, or a representative on their behalf, may file wrongful death claims:
- Immediate family members (spouses, children and parents of unmarried children)
- Life partners or domestic partners
- Putative spouses (a domestic partnership entered into in good faith)
- Minors residing with and dependent on the decedent 6 months prior to the death
What are the elements of wrongful death compensation?
Compensation for family members or individuals filing claims typically
involves three general types of damages. These damages include economic
damages, non-economic damages and punitive damages.
Economic damages consist of any financial support or monetary income the victim would have
provided to the survivors if he or she did not die. These include the
medical expenses and funeral costs associated with the death. In addition,
families can be compensated for the loss of the victim's expected
financial support (future income, the loss of benefits such as medical
coverage and pension plans), loss of any gifts or benefits, and for the
value of goods and services that the victim would have contributed to
Non-economic damages are considered less tangible, though not less valuable, forms of support
the deceased victim would have provided. For example, the surviving family's
loss of love, companionship and loss of care, protection, guidance and
advice of a loved one are all forms of non-economic damages for which
a responsible party is required to provide compensation. These forms of
suffering are inexplicable and extremely difficult to equate to dollars.
Punitive damages can be given to the families of victims in order to punish those responsible
for the wrongful death and can vary considerably from case to case. If
there is a criminal proceeding involving the defendant, misconduct and
larger punitive damages can be assessed.
Providing Victims with Legal Help
Calculating damages can be a very complicated, frustrating and altogether
unwanted experience. In addition to proving negligence or carelessness
on behalf of the other party, wrongful death actions can become increasingly
complex. These cases can involve complicated areas of law, intricacies
in financial matters and an uncompassionate legal atmosphere, making wrongful
death procedures easily misunderstood without experienced legal advice.
Our firm takes pride in the fact that we establish a close and genuine
relationship with our clients, competently assess their particular case
and do everything in our power to reach a successful result. We understand
that wrongful death claims create additional burdens to an already difficult
situation and do our best to alleviate your worries and pain by getting
the justice and compensation you deserve.
Contact us to discuss your situation and how we can help.