The death of a loved one is always difficult, but when their death could have been prevented, it makes the grieving process even harder. If you have lost a loved one in an accident that was not their fault, you may be wondering what your next steps are.
In California, the law allows surviving family members to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the person or company responsible for the death of their loved one. In this article, we will discuss the facts you need to know about wrongful death law in California.
1. Negligence is the number one reason for wrongful death claims
If you’ve lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, you may be wondering if you can file a wrongful death lawsuit in California. The simple answer is yes, but there are a few things to keep in mind.
In some cases it can be difficult to prove that negligence of the defendant was the reason for the wrongful death. In cases where the death was intentional, this is much easier to prove.
Beyond that though, things can get foggy and gray areas appear seemingly out of nowhere. Some cases may become lengthy, and the cost of legal fees may turn a wrongful death claim into a financial burden. That’s why it’s important to ensure you have the best legal representation possible in case you do decide to move forward.
2. Only certain people can file a wrongful death claim
It’s also important to keep in mind that not just anyone can file a wrongful death claim. The decedent’s surviving spouse, domestic partner, children, or other immediate family must bring the lawsuit.
Additionally, if you were a close friend or child of the decedent’s partner, you may also be able to file a wrongful death claim in California.
3. You must prove causation
In order to win a wrongful death claim, you must first prove causation. This can be done in one of two ways: by showing that the death was caused by the negligence of the defendant, or by showing that the death was caused by an intentional act.
For example, a driver who violated traffic laws, whether by speeding, running a red light, or something else, may have resulted in the wrongful death. This is considered negligence.
In a similar way, doctors are held to the highest standards of medical practices, but a breach of duty to uphold these standards may result in a wrongful death, and leave them liable to pay damages in a wrongful death lawsuit.
4. You have to prove damages as well
The loss of a loved one is immeasurable, but in order to win a wrongful death lawsuit, you must be able to prove the damages that have been suffered.
This includes things like medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, loss of future earnings, and more. These damages can be both financial and emotional, and must be proven in order to win a wrongful death claim.
5. Wrongful death lawsuits aren’t always limited to economic losses
Damages in a wrongful death lawsuit are typically limited to economic losses, such as lost income and funeral expenses. However, in some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded if the defendant’s actions were particularly egregious.
If you think you may have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit, it’s important to speak with an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the legal process. To learn more about wrongful death claims in California, visit JT Legal Group.
6. The most common outcome of wrongful death claims is financial compensation
The most common outcome of a wrongful death claim is financial compensation for the damages that have been suffered. This compensation can come from a variety of sources, including the defendant’s insurance company, the decedent’s estate, or even the defendant themselves. In some cases, a criminal case may also be brought against the defendant, which can result in additional penalties.
If you’ve lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit in California. However, there are a few things to keep in mind, including the fact that only certain people can file a claim, and that you must be able to prove both causation and damages. The most common outcome is financial compensation, but in some cases other punitive action may be taken.