For some, death is the closing chapter to a full life. For others, death is a premature occurrence caused by the negligence of another person. When this happens, those who get left behind have to call a Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer. Lawyers at the Los Angeles law offices of TorkLaw understand what pain a wrongful death can bring upon a family. Our offices are here to consult on your wrongful death case 24 hours a day and seven days a week for your convenience.
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
When someone dies due to the negligence of someone else, that death can be classified as wrongful death. In the legal system, it is the family or survivors of the deceased that bring a lawsuit against the party that was negligent. The term wrongful death is used as the basis of the lawsuit. In most circumstances, it is the executor of the estate or family of the deceased that reach out to wrongful death lawyers.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Los Angeles?
According to CCP § 377.60, if a person dies by a negligent or wrongful act, there are only specific people who may file a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf. These people include the surviving spouse, domestic partner, children, or any personal representative of the decedent.
Even if a person does not fall under those stipulations, they may still be entitled to file the wrongful death claim. A dependent of the deceased, a putative spouse, the children of a putative spouse, stepchildren, or parents are all able to file a claim if the court allows.
Common Types of Wrongful Death Claims Filed by Los Angeles Lawyers
Like most areas of personal injury, there is an overlap in the wrongful death claims that get filed. The difference is that there is a fatality involved in these cases, whereas the personal injury component deals with someone who is still alive. Wrongful death claims can come from:
- Car accident fatalities due to a negligent driver or a drunk driver
- Reckless driving that results in a motorcycle accident fatality
- Death from medical malpractice
- Nursing home abuse or neglect leading to patient fatality
- Product liability or malfunction leading to death
- Unsafe property posing enough of a threat it caused death
Damages That Can Be Requested
Every wrongful death claim is unique. There are different factors to be taken into account based on the negligent act that caused the death of the person the claim is filed for. Different considerations have to be made when calculating the amount sought in the claim. A Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer will help take care of that step using the information gathered about the case.
Funeral Costs and Medical Bills
One of the most common damages sought in a wrongful death claim is funeral costs and medical bills. In most cases, the decedent likely received a significant amount of medical treatment before they died. Even if it was only an ambulance bill, it could still run in the thousands of dollars.
Funerals cost thousands of dollars, and if the decedent did not have their final plans made, it leaves the family or next of kin in charge of planning and arranging the entire thing. If there was no life insurance policy for the decedent, there might not be anything to go toward the funeral expenses. The decedent’s family would then add those costs into their wrongful death claim against the negligent party.
Income and Benefit Loss
In some instances, the decedent was the only income or the primary wage-earner for the family. The courts might bring in economists who will calculate the amount that the deceased would have earned if they lived to life expectancy. These economists take into account inflation, cost of living, and other factors that might have affected the income of the decedent if they were still alive. A Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer will help to create the scenario and will likely bring in their own experts to help corroborate the economist’s amounts.
After a wrongful death, dependents often lose out on benefits that they were entitled to before the death occurred. Things like medical benefits, retirement benefits, social security, pension, and other benefits, are often lost. The court may also extend these amounts into the compensation for the wrongful death claim.
Homemaker and Child Care
The Los Angeles court system recognizes the stay-at-home parents and the amount that they are worth to their families. With that said, the court assigns various monetary values to things like child care, housekeeping, and other dominant roles the homemaker may have taken on if they are the decedent. In a wrongful death lawsuit, an expert Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer can help procure compensation for the surviving party.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering damages are not always awarded for wrongful death lawsuits. The award given by the courts is intended to compensate the surviving family members for their distress and emotional pain from losing someone they love. The pain and suffering damages are considered to be non-economic and are typically awarded when there is extreme trauma or shock sustained by the surviving party.
Punitive damages are another set of non-economic damages that are often sought in a wrongful death case. Much like a criminal case has fees as a means of deterring the offender from committing the same crime again, punitive damage is the “fee” for the negligent party. These damages are also to help bring some closure to the family, even though no amount of money can help them through their time of grief.
Your Los Angeles Wrongful Death Lawyer
When you are looking for help in bringing a wrongful death lawsuit to the courts, the Los Angeles wrongful death lawyers at TorkLaw can handle your case. To begin, call 888.845.9696 for your free case consultation. After your case consultation, TorkLaw’s expert wrongful death lawyers in our Los Angeles office will begin working on your case to get it brought to court, and your case heard.