What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit may be brought to the civil court under California law when a victim dies due to the negligence, recklessness, or otherwise wrongful actions of another party (whether it be a business or another individual). This claim is separate of any criminal charges being pursued against the responsible party and concerns itself only with securing financial compensation for the bereaved. Wrongful death claims can only be filed by survivors of the victim. Those closest to the decedent, such as surviving partners and dependent children, receive the highest entitlement, followed by:
- the victim’s surviving parents or siblings, and their children
- And any other person who may have been dependent on the decedent, such as a putative spouse and/or their children.
- Only these heirs of the victim may file a wrongful death claim, though they may do so either jointly or separately.
What are the Common Causes of Wrongful Death?
There are a variety of different causes of wrongful death that can merit filing a wrongful death claim, but all of them involve a careless and largely preventable mistake. Wrongful deaths can occur on the road, at work, even at a doctor’s office. The most common causes of wrongful death are as follows:
- Motor vehicle accidents—Traffic accidents as a whole, including car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, and pedestrian accidents are the single biggest cause of wrongful death. Motor vehicle accidents caused by speeding, dangerous or reckless driving, distracted driving, and DUI are some of the most common causes.
- Workplace accidents—Whether it’s a slip and fall accident or using defective products or equipment, the workplace is another common place where wrongful deaths occur
- medical malpractice—Another common cause of wrongful death, medical malpractice includes situations such as when a doctor fails to properly diagnose a condition like cancer, or a medical professional commits medical negligence by administering an improper medication or dose.
What Damages Can I Recover in a Wrongful Death Claim?
When a victim dies as a result of the negligence of another party, the survivors of the decedent suffer both economic and non-economic damages. The emotional pain associated with the death of a loved one can be debilitating. The loss of love, companionship, comfort, affection, and guidance that your loved one provided is just one of the damages a wrongful death lawyer from The Law Offices of Jake D. Finkel, APC can help you recover. Survivors of the victim may additionally recover damages based on:
- Loss of future earnings of the victim
- Lost benefits (i.e. medical benefits or a pension) the victim may have had
- Fixed expenses such as medical bills and funeral costs
In order to determine the full extent of the damages to which you are entitled and identify your options, it is best to consult with a wrongful death attorney. We at The Law Offices of Jake D. Finkel, APC will assist the families of wrongful death victims, starting with a no-charge initial legal consultation. We will go over the particulars of your case, estimate the potential award you can recover, and advise you of the next steps to take with your case.
What other resources are available?
One of our initial steps is often connecting families with bereavement resources. While a successful wrongful death lawsuit is important, access to immediate counseling and resources can be just as important—if not more so. A number of grief counseling groups exist to help survivors of all ages grieve, heal, and move forward from their loss. The services offered by each group vary, but they will often allow survivors to meet with grief psychologists, psychotherapists, or other counselors that are trained to help those who have suffered a loss move forward.Support groups for the bereaved include:
- OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center, which provides support groups for people of all ages along with online grief resources;
- Grief Haven, which connects survivors with support groups, grief counselors, and other online grief tools and information;
- Hope Connection, whose mission is to “provide group support, educational programs, and information that helps alleviate the pain of grief and promote healing.”
These are just a few of the bereavement resources (both free and fee-based) that are available throughout Los Angeles County. No matter what organization is best suited to help you, the wrongful death attorneys at The Law Offices of Jake D. Finkel, APC can help guide you to the support you need.
When you need consultation and advice during this difficult time, contact the Law Offices of Jake D. Finkel, APC. If a loved one has recently died due to the negligence of others, we will guide you through each and every step along the way.