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California Wrongful Death Attorneys

What Happens When a Loved One Is Taken from You?

Often, the toll of losing a loved one can be both emotionally and financially devastating. Depending on the circumstances, survivors of a wrongful death lawsuit may be able to seek compensation for their losses. The damages secured by such a settlement or verdict can range from a variety of incurred and future expenses. Some of these awarded damages can include the total value of future lost wages, funeral expenses, and the emotional distress of losing your loved one. As experienced wrongful death lawyers in Los Angeles, the team at BD&J aims to bring justice to those whose loved one’s death has occurred because of wrongdoing.

A wrongful death occurs when someone’s life is lost through the negligence or fault of somebody else. While this subject is broad, most wrongful death cases occur by way of car accidentstruck accidents, product liability, and medical malpractice. Because a wrongful death can be the fault of multiple parties, this may include the citation of individuals, companies, and even governmental agencies. Consequently, wrongful death cases are often complex and require the skill sets of highly adept wrongful death attorneys.

Common Wrongful Death Cases

Some common types of wrongful death cases include:

Car Accidents

With the volume of drivers in California and the rest of the United States, fatal car accidents are among the most common causes of wrongful death. Many fatal collisions result from the negligent acts of one or more drivers, such as driving under the influence or speeding. Road issues can also cause serious accidents, in which the municipality may be liable.

Medical Malpractice

Medical professionals, such as doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, and pharmacists, sometimes make mistakes, and in rare instances, these mistakes may result in wrongful death. While misdiagnosis, surgical errors, or procedural mistakes during treatment are common causes, health care facilities, insurance companies, and other parties may be liable for medically-relevant harm.

Premises Liability

Premises liability can apply to people who own or occupy a home, commercial building, or other property and have a duty-of-care obligation to visitors. Depending on their legal status on the property, a visitor may be the victim of wrongful death if a hazard or risk on the property results in fatal injury or harm.

Construction Accidents

While most occupations technically hold some risk, construction and manual labor jobs typically see higher rates of workplace injury. Whether due to employer negligence, worker errors, or other factors, construction settings present serious risks to workers, such as electrocution, explosions or fires, overexertion injuries, slips and falls, and falling debris.

Criminal Acts

If someone’s unlawful acts lead to the death of another, they may be subject to criminal penalties and a wrongful death lawsuit. Defendants can still be liable for wrongful death even if they’re found not guilty of their criminal charges.

Product Liability

Engineers, manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, retailers, and other parties belonging to the manufacturing and sale chain are responsible for the safety of products before they’re delivered to consumers. Any level of the chain can be liable for product design flaws, defects, or other issues that lead to death, whether directly or indirectly.

Who is Eligible for Compensation?

The following parties may be able to pursue compensation following a wrongful death:

  • Immediate family members (including children, siblings, and parents)
  • Life partners or putative spouses
  • Any party financially dependent upon the deceased (both family members and extended family)

Financial loss is not only constrained to family members of the deceased. Anyone who was financially dependent upon the victim may be eligible for compensation, provided they can prove that their livelihood was directly tied to the deceased. You need to protect your rights by having a skilled wrongful death attorney in Los Angeles advocating for your interests.

Parties Potentially Responsible

In the event of a wrongful death, many types of parties and entities may be held responsible. These examples can include a driver who was the cause of a fatal collision, a manufacturer of a faulty vehicle, an individual responsible for serving alcohol to an impaired driver, or even the designer of a faulty roadway.

The defining quality comes down to who was the person or entity responsible for causing the wrongful death. Whether it was by virtue of deliberate malice or pure negligence, anyone who was party to the wrongful death of another person may be held responsible for the life of the deceased.

Types of Wrongful Death Damages

There are 3 different categories that can be collected upon in the event of a prevailing wrongful death suit:

  • Economic Damages: These damages are subjected and limited to the financial contributions of the wrongfully deceased. These economic damages may be inclusive of an inheritance, future earnings, medical expenses, funeral costs, and any other quantitative monetary contributions made by the individual.
  • Non-Economic Damages: These damages are non-quantitative costs that may be incurred in the event of a wrongful death. This may include monetary retributions for pain and suffering, including but not limited to: Emotional and mental anguish, loss of care, loss of relationship, loss of love, and other forms of general pain and suffering.
  • Punitive Damages: These damages exist to punish the defendant for excessively negligent or careless behavior. Punitive damages are intended to financially burden the defendant by means of an overwhelming verdict.

Wrongful Death Versus Survival Claim

Although wrongful death and survival claim lawsuits may be pursued simultaneously, these are separate legal concepts.

A wrongful death suit is filed on behalf of the deceased person’s estate, and it awards compensation to the deceased’s surviving family. The compensation depends on various elements, such as the impact of economic loss and financial insecurity, emotional damages, and the ages of the deceased’s children.

In comparison, a survival claim is a type of lawsuit filed on behalf of the victim, but the compensation includes the victim’s damages should they have survived. These damages can include the deceased person’s pain and suffering, lost earnings and medical expenses. Survival claims are common when the initial incident doesn’t immediately result in fatality. For instance, the victim of a car accident may not have succumbed to their injuries right away. Damages are paid to the deceased person’s estate, which then distributes the amounts as per the will to its beneficiaries.

Get Started with a Free Consultation Today

As wrongful death attorneys in Los Angeles, we are committed to the best results in every case we take on. If your loved one has been the victim of a wrongful death, contact BD&J today. Our team can help reduce the burden and ensure that you get the justice you and your loved ones deserve.