What is Wrongful death?

Wrongful death is when an individual dies due to another entity or person’s misconduct or negligence. While there may also be a criminal prosecution portion of the incident, a wrongful death claim is a civil action that is completely distinct and separate from any associated criminal charges. For instance, civil cases have a lower standard of proof than criminal cases do for manslaughter and murder.

Many circumstances can result in a wrongful death lawsuit, including:

  • Criminal activity.
  • Manufacturing defects.
  • Medical malpractice.
  • Motor vehicle accidents.
  • Toxic torts.
  • Work injuries.

Wrongful death claims arise when an individual dies as the direct result of another’s negligence or wrongful act. Wrongful death lawsuits are civil claims brought to a court directly by the deceased individual’s family or the personal representative of their estate. Fault in wrongful death lawsuits is expressed in monetary damages paid to the decedent’s survivors by the defendant.



Examples of Wrongful death

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, deaths by unintentional injury are the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, with more than 160,000 happening each year due to unintentional injuries. Examples of devastating accidents can include:

  • Fatal auto accidents
  • Commercial truck accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Premises liability accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Accidental overdoses and poisoning
  • Boating or drowning accidents
  • Workplace illnesses and accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Bicycle accidents



Car accident & Truck collision

When commercial or passenger vehicles collide, people often sustain catastrophic injuries. A devastating car accident that occurs due to faulty products, reckless driving, a drunk driver, fatigued drivers, negligent drivers, or aggressive drivers can also result in serious injuries.



Bicycle and Pedestrian accidents

These deaths usually happen when a vehicle hits a person either on a bicycle or on their feet walking or running. These accidents often occur around school zones, but they can happen anywhere and at any time.



Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcyclists are very vulnerable on the road, wearing very little protection. When a motorcyclist is involved in an auto accident with a passenger vehicle that was traveling at a high speed, they may sustain fatal injuries.



Premises liability Accidents

Premises liability accidents can include an individual being struck by or against an object or a slip and fall. Property owners are legally responsible for keeping their property free of hazards.



Medical malpractice

Medical malpractice occurs when an individual is harmed due to an error or negligence on the part of a medical professional. These incidents can result from medication errors, surgical errors, missed diagnoses, and misdiagnosis.



Accidental Overdoses and Poisoning

Prescription medications and illegal narcotics have both been known to result in death in some instances.



Boating or Drowning Accidents

Drowning can happen in a city pool or in the backyard of a friend or family member. If a swimming pool isn’t properly secured, the owner can be found at fault if someone drowns. Boat operators who fail to provide safety devices or cause an accident can also be held legally responsible in a wrongful death lawsuit.



Workplace illness and accidents

Most people are aware that workplace accidents can result in workers’ compensation claims. What they may not be aware of is that if death occurs as the result of a workplace illness or accident, it can also lead to a wrongful death lawsuit.

Other types of fatal accidents that can result in the untimely loss of a loved one include defective product accidents, bus accidents, and dog bites.

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of all types of wrongful deaths, just some of the most common. Things like criminal acts and animal or dog attacks can also be considered wrongful death. Any time an individual dies as the result of another’s error or negligence, their family or estate may be entitled to recover damages.



Who Can Recover in a Wrongful death claim?

Only certain individuals can file wrongful death lawsuits. The current statute specifically mentions that the following individuals are allowed to file this type of lawsuit:

  • The surviving spouse of a deceased person.
  • The domestic partner of a deceased person.
  • The surviving children of a deceased person.

When there isn’t a surviving individual in the line of descent for a deceased individual, then anyone “who would be entitled to the property of the decedent by intestate succession” could bring a wrongful death claim. This can include parents or siblings of the deceased individual who are still living at the time of their death.

If the following individuals are able to show financial dependency on a deceased individual, then they are also able to file a wrongful death claim:

  • A putative spouse of a deceased person and that putative spouse’s children.
  • Stepchildren of a deceased person.
  • The parents of a deceased person.

Talk with a lawyer like Lem Garcia who’s familiar with the specific laws governing wrongful death lawsuits to learn more about your legal rights.



What Types of Damages Can I Recover After Filing a Wrongful death lawsuit?

Talk to a wrongful death lawyer as soon as you think you may have a claim so that you can preserve valuable evidence and legal rights while building the strongest case possible. It’s important to work with an experienced personal injury attorney when dealing with a wrongful death claim to ensure that you recover the damages you are entitled to. This recovery can include both economic and non-economic damages.



Economic Damages

Economic damages include several kinds of financial losses that the family encountered due to their loved one’s death. These losses can consist of medical bills, funeral expenses, and burial costs associated with the wrongful death.

Complex calculations are often required to determine the financial contribution the victim would have made to their family throughout an average lifespan. Courts consider the decedent’s age, their health before the incident, their earning capacity, the needs of their children, and other details.

A skilled and knowledgeable attorney will help you present the financial loss incurred through expert witnesses and verifiable data.



Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages address the loss of nurturing, companionship, affection, and love, in addition to damages for pain and suffering. It’s incredibly challenging to establish a monetary amount for non-economic damages, as you need to demonstrate how the pain and suffering, desolation, and emotional stress have affected the family due to the wrongful death.



What Should I Do?

When a possible wrongful death claim exists, it is very important that you talk to a skilled attorney to help you recover the financial compensation you deserve for the untimely loss of a loved one. Make sure to speak with an experienced accident attorney as soon as possible so you can save valuable evidence, preserve your legal rights, and build the strongest case possible for your wrongful death claim.



All Aspects of Wrongful death Addressed

Wrongful death cases are complex but are worth pursuing. You only have one opportunity to pursue your wrongful death claim and only one opportunity to pursue it correctly. This is why it is important that you give Lem a call so he can fully evaluate every detail of liability, and every avenue for damages, and work hard to recover as much as possible for you.



Talk to a Wrongful death Attorney for Free

After an accident, feel free to give Lem Garcia Law personal injury lawyers a call. We provide FREE no-obligation consultations to car collision victims. We are committed to giving you and your case the personal attention and respect you expect from your personal injury lawyer.

CALL (626) 777-2424 OR TEXT (626) 252-2168.




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