It really happened. You got the call that your loved one has passed away. This is an extremely emotional time for you. It’s even worse when their death was due to someone else’s negligence. It could have been prevented. Your deceased loved one deserved justice. They didn’t deserve death in that fashion. In order to file for a wrongful death claim in the state of California, you must prove the existence of these elements:
- Someone has died
- The surviving members are suffering financially as a result
- The death was caused by negligence or intent to harm (not necessarily death)
- The deceased estate has a personal representative appointed
It’s essential to know who specifically can bring the lawsuit. You should also know in detail what elements must be proven as well as the damages you may have available.
Who can bring the lawsuit?
The people who can typically bring the wrongful death lawsuit are the spouse/domestic partner, children of the deceased, or even grandchildren (if the departed children are also deceased). Other parties may also sue if there is no surviving person in the deceased person’s “line of descent”. If you were financially dependent on the deceased person then you may be able to bring suit. People who were financially dependent upon the deceased may include the deceased’s parents, stepchildren, or the “putative spouse” and children of the putative spouse. People who may be entitled to the property of the deceased, including parents or siblings, may also be able to bring a lawsuit.
What elements must be proven?
In order to bring suit, you must prove negligence, causation, breach of duty, and damages. You will need to be able to prove that the death of your loved one was caused by the negligence of the other party. An example of this would be if the other party was drinking and driving when they killed your loved one. The surviving members must also show how their negligence caused the death of the deceased. You must also prove that the other party owed the deceased a duty. In the scenario mentioned previously, this would be that the other party owed your loved one a duty of care when driving. You must then show how the duty existed and how the other party breached it. You need to be able to prove how the death of the deceased has brought on damages. These damages are detailed in the next section.
What damages may you have available?
Damages are typically for either the loss suffered by the surviving members or used to compensate the estate for losses they suffered. Surviving family members can receive damages in categories such as the loss of love and affection, the loss of anticipated financial support, moral support, and guidance from the deceased, as well as the value of the household services. Damages that may be awarded to the estate include funeral and burial costs, medical bills, and lost income.
When your loved one dies, it is a very traumatic experience. Their death would not have happened prematurely if it weren’t for someone else’s negligence. It’s not fair. You should be focused on grief. A wrongful death attorney can help lift the weight off your shoulders. Their experience can help you get the compensation you deserve after the wrongful death of your loved one. The Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg will fight for you and help to ease the burden. Schedule a free consultation today using this contact form or call us at 310-997-0904 for a free initial consultation.