A “wrongful death” occurs when an individual loses his or her life as a result of someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing. The loss of a loved one is hard enough on a family. It is true that families not only suffer emotionally, but also financially after the loss of their loved one. For example, when the family’s breadwinner is killed in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, the family can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault driver claiming damages. Wrongful death claims could involve any type of fatal accident from a car accident to medical malpractice, product liability, workplace accidents and nursing home abuse or neglect. In addition to individuals, corporations and governmental agencies can also be held liable for acting negligently or intentionally. To pursue these types of cases, contacting an experienced Lake Forest wrongful death attorney should be your first step.
Wrongful death is a civil action as opposed to a criminal proceeding. While the Orange County District Attorney may prosecute a drunk or distracted driver criminally for causing a fatal accident, such a proceeding will not offer much in terms of monetary compensation for the victim’s family other than restitution. If the driver is found guilty, he or she may be sentenced to jail time and/or probation. To seek compensation, victims’ families must file a civil wrongful death claim.
Who May File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Not everyone may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim. The following parties may be eligible to file such as claim:
- Immediate family members: These include spouses, children and parents of unmarried children.
- Life partners and putative spouses.
- Minors and others who were financially dependent on the victim
- Distant family members such as grandparents, cousins, siblings, nieces or nephews.
Potential Defendants in a Wrongful Death Case
Wrongful death lawsuits may be brought against individuals or entities. A wrongful death action may include defendants such as:
- Negligent drivers
- Government agency that failed to fix a dangerous condition on a roadway
- Manufacturer of a dangerous and defective product
- Property owner who allowed a dangerous condition to exist on the premises
- Negligent or abusive nursing home
- Hospital or doctor that committed an error
Damages in a Wrongful Death Case
Monetary damages may be sought for medical and funeral costs, lost earnings, loss of benefits such as insurance or pension and loss of an inheritance caused by an untimely death. The non-economic damages that may be claimed in a wrongful death lawsuit include mental anguish, pain and suffering, loss of care, protection and nurturing, loss of love and companionship and loss of consortium from a deceased spouse. In some wrongful death cases such as product liability or nursing home abuse cases, punitive damages may be awarded, especially in the more egregious cases.
Contacting a Wrongful Death Attorney
Do you really need a lawyer to represent you in a wrongful death case? The answer is “yes.” Wrongful death cases are seldom straightforward. They involve complex calculations. How would you put a price tag on what your loved one’s nurturing and support is worth? A knowledgeable and skilled lawyer will be able to make a comprehensive assessment and list of damages that can be claimed in a wrongful death case.
The experienced Lake Forest wrongful death lawyers at Bisnar Chase have a long and successful track record of protecting the rights of victims’ families and holding wrongdoers accountable. We will remain on your side, fight for your rights and ensure that you are fairly compensated for your tremendous losses. If you have lost a loved one as a result of someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing in Lake Forest, please call us at 949-203-3814 for a free, comprehensive and confidential consultation.
Call an experienced and reputable Orange County Personal Injury Lawyer for a free consultation at 949-203-3814 or visit the Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys Newport Beach personal injury attorneys.