Wrongful Death Cases Are Among The Most Emotional
When you lose a loved one caused by someone else’s fault, you and your family are likely feeling a mix of emotions all at once, which may include anger, sadness and despair. Montebello wrongful death attorneys know that wrongful death lawsuits are very challenging and emotional for families who have lost a loved one, but they can also help to bring some relief and a sense of peace to the family as well. If you have lost a loved one, our attorneys are available to answer questions and discuss your options.
Reasons People File Wrongful Death Claims
Sometimes filing a wrongful death claim feels like too big of a burden to take on when you and your family are grieving. You may feel like there is no point in filing a claim because it will not bring your loved one back. That is true that it cannot bring your loved one back, but there are some very good reasons for bringing a claim, including holding the responsible person accountable for his or her actions that caused your loved one’s death and possibly preventing this type of accident from happening again.
Most likely your loved one would want to see your family recover for what you have been through, and financial compensation may help to ease some financial burdens and help your family begin to heal.
Common Causes Of Wrongful Death
Wrongful death claims have nothing to do with criminal charges such as homicide or manslaughter. In some cases, there are criminal charges, whereas in other cases, there are not, but criminal cases are completely separate from the civil claim of wrongful death. Wrongful death claims simply mean that someone’s wrongful conduct caused another person’s death. Common types of wrongful death claims include the following:
- Car accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Commercial truck and bus accidents
- Workplace accidents caused by a third party’s negligence
- Construction accidents
- Nursing home and child care abuse and neglect
- Medical malpractice
- Defective products
- Dangerous property conditions
Your Family May Be Eligible For Compensation
Close family members who bring a wrongful death claim in California, depending on the circumstances, may be able to receive compensation for the following:
- Loss of the decedent’s financial support
- Loss of benefits and gifts the decedent would have provided had he or she lived
- Loss of the value of decedent’s household services
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of the decedent’s emotional support such as love, care and companionship
- Loss of sexual relations
- Loss of training and guidance
In some cases, a survival action may be appropriate when the decedent had a cause of action against the defendant and the cause of action survives his or her death. When appropriate, a survival action may be brought on behalf of the decedent’s estate for the injuries and damages the decedent suffered prior to his or her death.
Our Firm Is Here To Help You Move Forward
The death of a loved one is arguably the most traumatizing and mind-boggling experience in life, regardless of what caused your family member’s death. However, when your spouse, parent or child dies as a result of another person’s or entity’s negligence, a careless act, or reckless behavior, the cocktail of emotions that you are experiencing can get quite unpredictable.
Some surviving family members feel hatred, disgust and anger at the person or entity that was responsible for their loved one’s death. Others, meanwhile, want to seek revenge for their family member’s death.
Unlike a criminal case where the defendant gets a jail or prison sentence, wrongful death lawsuits in California are all about recovering financial damages to help the decedent’s survivors cope with the tragic loss and pursue compensation for their pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of income, and a plethora of other damages and losses.
What If My Loved One Lived For A Period Of Time After The Accident And Then Died?
Many surviving family members are wondering if it qualifies as a wrongful death case if their loved one lived for a period of time after the accident or incident and then died. Our Montebello wrongful death attorney at The Hayes Law Firm explains that this scenario may qualify as a “survival action.”
In California, surviving family members or a personal representative of the decedent’s estate is entitled to bring a survival action after the death of their loved one to pursue compensation for the loss of income and medical bills associated with the deceased’s economic expenses after the accident and before the death.
Typically, surviving family members cannot seek compensation for the deceased’s pain and suffering and any emotional or psychological distress in a survival action. However, the only exception to this rule in California is if your loved one was a victim of elder abuse. Punitive damages are also recoverable through a survival action claim but not recoverable in a wrongful death case.
Who Is Eligible To Pursue A Wrongful Death Claim In California?
In California, only close family members of the deceased have a right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. California law recognizes the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit of the victim’s:
- Surviving spouse or domestic partner
- Parents and siblings, if the deceased did not have children
- The personal representative of the deceased’s estate on behalf of the spouse, children, parents, siblings or other heirs
Other heirs may have the right to pursue a wrongful death action if they can prove that they depended financially on the decedent. Therefore, a putative spouse and their children, as well as stepchildren, may be entitled to compensation under wrongful death law.
You may want to talk to a Montebello wrongful death lawyer from The Hayes Law Firm if you do not know whether you have the right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit.
What If Some Of The Heirs Decide That They Do Not Want To Sue?
Under California’s wrongful death law, all of the eligible beneficiaries must be named as plaintiffs in a wrongful death lawsuit. However, there is an exception for surviving family members who do not wish to pursue a wrongful death case. Thus, they can sign away their rights to allow the remaining eligible family members to take their share.
We Will Listen; Call Today
If you wish to find out more about how California’s wrongful death law works, schedule a free consultation with our Montebello wrongful death attorney from The Hayes Law Firm. Call at 323-693-1052 or email us for a free consultation.