Losing a loved one suddenly and unexpectedly can be devastating not only emotionally, but also financially, for a family. In addition to paying medical bills and worrying about funeral costs, family members are also left grappling with issues such as lost income especially if the deceased victim was a primary wage earner for his or her family. If the individual's death was caused by an act of negligence, then, the victim's family can file what is known as a wrongful death seeking damages. A skilled Long Beach wrongful death lawyer can advise families in such cases about their legal rights and options. Here are some questions families may have in the aftermath of such a tragedy.
What is Wrongful Death?
Not all fatal accidents result in wrongful death cases. When an individual dies due to the fault of another person or entity, the survivors may be able to bring what is known as a wrongful death lawsuit. Wrongful death claims may involve any type of fatal accident from auto accidents to medical malpractice and product liability cases. Individuals, corporations and even government entities can be held at fault for acting negligently.
Examples of Negligence
A few common forms of negligence that can lead to a wrongful death include:
- Careless and reckless driving: Examples of driver negligence include exceeding the speed limit, driving while using a cell phone or texting, driving while fatigued, making unsafe lane changes, street racing, running a red light and driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
- Negligent property management: Under certain circumstances, the property owner or manager of the property where the accident occurred may be held liable for the victim's wrongful death. In these types of cases, it must be clear that the accident resulted from a hazardous condition that the property owner was aware of and failed to fix.
- Defective Products: Dangerous drugs, contaminated foods, hazardous children's products and defective auto parts – all have the potential to cause serious injuries and fatalities. Whenever use of a product results in fatal injuries, it must be determined if the product was defective. In such cases, there may be a few liable parties including the manufacturer, designer and distributor of the defective products.
- Medical malpractice: When we enter a hospital or an operating room, we put our lives in the hands of a physician or a surgeon. When a death occurs during surgery or treatment or as the result of the physician's or hospital staff's negligence, the doctor and/or the hospital can be held liable.
Contacting a Long Beach Wrongful Death Attorney
If you have lost a loved one as the result of someone else's negligence or wrongdoing, an experienced Long Beach wrongful death lawyer can help you better understand your legal rights and options. It may be useful to take the following documents with you to your consultation with the attorney:
- An original death certificate
- A list of all immediate family members
- Any details regarding whether or not an autopsy was performed
- A list of doctors that have treated the victim
- A copy of the will
- Medical records and bills related to the incident that caused the death
- Medical insurance cards and death benefit materials
- Copy of tax returns and W-2 forms if the deceased was a wage earner
The knowledgeable Long Beach wrongful death lawyers at our law firm have a long and successful track record of pursuing individuals and entities such as corporations and governmental agencies on behalf of victims' families. Please contact us for a free, comprehensive and confidential consultation.