Death is always a tragedy, but in some cases a death happens because of negligence or wrongdoing. When a preventable accident occurs and someone is killed, those responsible for the accident can be held accountable.
A wrongful death lawsuit is the legal process used in California to hold a person or company legally responsible for causing a fatality. A wrongful death lawsuit may be filed in situations where the accident victim would have had a personal injury claim, if he or she had not been killed.
Under California law, a death is considered wrongful when the victim’s survivors can show the defendant did something wrong, caused a death, and is required to provide compensation for the resulting damages.
California Wrongful Death Law
Under California law, a wrongful death occurs whenever an individual, a company, or a government agency causes a death because of a failure to live up to some legal obligation. Examples of instances which give rise to a wrongful death claim are as follows:
- A driver causes a fatal motor vehicle collision
- A medical professional makes an error that leads to the death of a patient
- A defective drug causes a fatal heart attack or other deadly side effect
- A dog attack leads to the death of an adult or a child
- A property owner is negligent about security or about maintaining property, and a deadly assault or a fatal slip and fall happens
If someone you love was killed and you believe the death was due to negligence, you may have a wrongful death case. To be successful in filing a personal injury lawsuit and recovering compensation for the death, you must show the fatality was the direct result of the defendant’s negligence. The death is considered wrongful in the eyes of the law if it should not have happened, but it did because of a failure to fulfill a basic safety obligation.
Damages for Wrongful Death
Determining when a death is considered wrongful is important because a wrongful death lawsuit can result in significant compensation for surviving family members. Damages in a wrongful death claim may include payment for:
- Loss of the deceased’s wages
- Loss of the deceased’s companionship
- Medical bills incurred to treat the patient for the injuries that led to the death
- Burial expenditures
- Loss of the services the deceased was providing to family members
Wrongful death cases can be resolved through a negotiated settlement. If the person or company that caused the death accepts responsibility, a settlement offer may be made. Generally, it is the responsible party’s insurer who decides whether to offer monetary payments to settle wrongful death cases. If an offer to settle is not made, or the offer is simply inadequate, a civil case may also proceed to trial and a jury will decide if a wrongful death occurred and what damages are appropriate.
Contact an Experienced Long Beach Wrongful Death Attorney to Assist with Your Claim
“Your Injuries are Personal to Me”
When you call the Law Office of Michael D. Waks, you will be represented by a Long Beach attorney with extensive experience in proving wrongful death cases. I will work hard to help you show that your loved one was killed in a preventable accident and that you deserve compensation.
My law practice exclusively represents personal injury victims and does so with a deep understanding of their suffering and an absolute commitment to their recovery. I take your injuries personally, and that is why I directly handle all aspects of every case to ensure that you receive maximum compensation.
Call the Law Office of Michael D. Waks at 888-394-1174 or use the convenient online contact form to schedule a free consultation. You are under no obligation and you will never pay any money unless you recover damages for your injuries. I offer bilingual services as part of my comprehensive approach to legal representation and I am available 24/7 to talk to you about your case.
Image source: Don LaVange
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