Abramson Labor Group – Wrongful Death
When a loved one dies, it’s emotionally distressing. The grief can last years and requires strength to move past. When that death is unexpected and the fault of someone’s negligence or actions, it can be even harder to process. You don’t kiss a spouse, child, or parent goodbye expecting to get that call that your loved one died due to someone else’s irresponsible actions.
The California Code of Civil Procedure defines wrongful death as “a cause of action for the death of a person caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another.” If you’re a surviving family spouse or domestic partner or child, you can sue. If the victim did not have children or a spouse/domestic partner, the case can then be filed by parents, siblings, or another close distant relative. Any damages that are awarded will go to a spouse, child, or parent first.
Examples of Wrongful Death
There are several situations where you might file a wrongful death lawsuit. If your husband is on a train that crashes because the engineer was impaired and driving at too fast a speed, that is one example. If your child is on a school bus and the driver is texting and runs off the road causing the bus to flip, that’s another. If a store is being robbed and the robber assaults and kills your loved one, that person is responsible for the wrongful death.
School shootings, terrorist acts, improper care in a nursing home, drunk drivers, abuse at a child’s daycare, assault and battery, medical malpractice, and workplace shootings are others. There are several situations that apply to wrongful death charges, so you should always talk to a law firm that specializes in wrongful death cases to get assistance and expert advice.
Wrongful death damages cover a lot of range, but the key areas people focus on are the cost of embalming/cremation, funeral, memorial service, and burial expenses. Money that victim would have earned in his/her lifetime is usually added. The loss of companionship and support are also typical aspects of a claim. Money received from a wrongful death claim goes to the family member/s. Lawsuits for wrongful deaths must be filed within 2 years of the victim’s death.
Wrongful death cases may have economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those that have some financial value – lost wages and bonuses, funeral/cremation/burial expenses, or the loss of inheritance/gifts the deceased would have brought in during his/her lifetime. Non-economic damages include things that are harder to calculate a specific financial value. They include things like the loss of affection and moral support, the value to society, a loss of guidance, and the loss of a household protector.
Survival of Cause
Many wrongful death lawsuits are paired with a survival of cause lawsuit. This helps cover financial losses that resulted because of the accident but were accrued prior to the victim’s death. Survival of cause lawsuits often cover the medical bills prior to the death, property damages, and lost wages. The money goes to the estate. A survival of cause lawsuit must be brought within 6 months after the victim’s death or 2 years from the act that led to the grievous injuries.
With either type of lawsuit, the estate may also qualify for punitive damages if the person who caused your loved one’s death did so with malice, recklessness, or intent to harm. Punitive damages would be additional to other damages. For example, if your loved one was killed during an armed robbery, punitive damages could be awarded.
You should seek expert advice from a wrongful death attorney. When you make that call you will want to have proof of the victim’s income at the time of the death, bonuses that were typically received each year, the cost of the funeral and related expenses, and contributions the victim made to the household. You’ll also want to talk about the reason your loved one died. It can be an emotionally painful trial, but that’s not a reason to forgo filing a wrongful death complaint.
Receive Legal Advice in This Trying Time
Emotions run high after any death. When it’s a wrongful death, it’s even more shocking and tragic. Wading through the laws regarding wrongful death cases may not seem possible. Don’t worry. Abramson, Levin & Gindi are experts in personal injury cases involving wrongful death. We are here to advocate for your family. You don’t need more stress, let us help you. Call for a free consultation.