What Constitutes Wrongful Death Cases
A “wrongful death” action refers to a legal action initiated by a deceased person's survivors when the person who passed away was killed by the negligence or wrongfulness of another person. While wrongful death actions are civil, sometimes they are also initiated as criminal charges. In these situations, the two cases must be pursued independently of each other. While finding a person at fault in a criminal lawsuit will result in a person facing penalties or imprisonment, fault in a civil lawsuit will frequently result in the deceased person's survivors receiving a financial award.
The Elements of a Wrongful Death Case
To successfully argue a wrongful death, a person is required to establish certain elements in California, which include:
The death of a loved one. Numerous types of accidents can result in the death of a loved one, including bicycle accidents, car accidents, commercial truck accidents, defective product accidents, medical malpractice, and pedestrian accidents. In some cases, arson, deadly assault, manslaughter, and murder can also be the basis for a wrongful death claim.
Caused by negligence of another or with the intent to harm. Establishing the causal element is an essential part of a wrongful death claim. To obtain compensation in a wrongful death case, a person must be able to establish that a loved one's death was caused by either intentional conduct or negligence.
The survivors were harmed such that they can be financially compensated. People pursuing a wrongful death case must be able to establish that losses occurred as a result of a loved one's death.
Parties Able to Pursue a Wrongful Death Claim
California's civil statute on wrongful death states that only a select group of people can pursue a wrongful death claim including the deceased person's surviving spouse, the deceased person's domestic partner, and the deceased person's surviving descendants. If no individuals fall into this category, a wrongful death lawsuit can be initiated by anyone who would be entitled to inherit the deceased person's property.
If someone you know has been the victim of wrongful death, call our office at (818) 740-2122 for a free consultation.