Q: Who can sue for wrongful death?
When somebody mentions a personal injury lawsuit, most people have an idea of what that entails. They know somebody was hurt by someone or something and is suing for financial compensation for their injuries which could include medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering and more. But many people don’t understand the legal doctrine of wrongful death.
The similar in many ways to a personal injury action, a wrongful death lawsuit is somewhat different and more complex in nature. The most obvious difference is that the victim was not merely injured, but died as a result of those injuries. So rather than the victim suing, a wrongful death action is brought by the victim’s closest surviving family members – – those who are suffering financially as a result of the victim’s death. Generally, the victim’s spouse, children, and/or parents most often have standing to bring such a suit.
The death alone is not enough. Financial losses are not enough. Another factor required in a wrongful death lawsuit is a causal link between the defendant’s actions or inactions and the victim’s death. That means that the defendant’s behavior was either negligent, reckless, or intentional towards the victim and that that behavior at least partially if not completely caused the injury and subsequent death of the victim.
Some examples of situations that may give rise to a wrongful death action include:
- automobile accidents, where the at-fault driver may be sued,
- medical malpractice actions where a doctor’s treatment deviated from acceptable medical standards of care,
- workplace accidents,
- defective products or dangerous goods,
- nursing home abuse or neglect,
- slip and fall accidents or other premises liability claims and more.
If a surviving family member depended on the victim for support and is able to establish the victim died as a result of the actions or inactions of the defendant, they may be able to recover compensatory damages including lost income and support, loss of companionship, the victim’s final medical and burial expenses, and more depending on the particular facts of each case. It is important to get a skilled personal injury and wrongful death attorney on board as soon as possible after the accident to preserve evidence and maximize the amount of any compensation the victim’s family may be entitled to recover.
If your loved one was killed as a result of the actions or inactions of somebody else, the wrongful death attorneys at J&Y Law Firm can help you. Call us at 888-806-6722 for a free consultation. While a wrongful death lawsuit will not bring your family member back it may help relieve the often-substantial financial burdens you are suffering as a result of your loved one’s loss. No matter where you live in California, one of our 21 office locations is nearby. With a headquarters in Los Angeles, we represent clients throughout northern and Southern California, as well as those injured while visiting California.