Losing a loved one to a car accident is horrible and unbearable; you are undoubtedly suffering from significant emotional pain and financial loss. If your loved one was not at fault, you might be considering filing a claim or a lawsuit for wrongful death. There are many different circumstances under which a family might sue for wrongful death. If a loved one was the victim of a crime that took place at a business and the family believes it was due to a lack of security, they may file a suit against the business. If a suspect was shot by police without a valid reason, the family might sue the police department. If someone was killed in a car accident, a family may sue the driver or the company for which the driver worked.
As with all civil cases, a wrongful death suit does not require that you prove the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, but rather that there is a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant is at fault. Three primary components should be considered in a wrongful death case.
1 Was There Intentional Harm?
This is a question that is often asked in cases of death from homicide or intentional violence. If a person murders someone in your family, you may sue them for wrongful death, but you may want to make sure it is financially worth your time to do so. Even if someone is found not guilty of a murder, they can still be sued for wrongful death. The most famous example of this is the OJ Simpson case, in which the ex-football star was acquitted of murdering Nicole Brown Simpson, his ex-wife, but was successfully sued by, Ms. Brown’s family for wrongful death.
2 Was There Negligence Involved?
If you believe your loved one was killed to the negligence of another person, you must prove that the party you are suing neglected duty of care and that their negligence caused your loved one’s death. Duty of care is defined as the responsibility of an individual or entity to avoid actions which may cause harm to others. When an individual gets a driver’s license, obeying the rules of the road is part of their duty of care. When a business sets up its operations in a town and neglects its duty of care, by not taking appropriate safety measures, they may be sued for negligence.
Recently, utility giant PG&E was sued for wrongful death in the case of the Paradise California forest fire. The suit says the company failed to maintain power lines that were hanging right above trees. Sparks flew out of unprotected wires, the trees caught fire and that started a forest fire which caused 85 deaths.
3 Putting a Price on the Damages
Once you have established wrongful death, you must go about the difficult task of adding up the costs of the damages. You will want to include funeral expenses and lost income. You are also allowed to sue for intangible damages such as the loss of companionship and love.
Finding a Good Lawyer
Wrongful death is a complex issue. If you are suing someone for the loss of a loved one, you will want to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer in Orange County. A lawyer who understands California liability law will be able to get you the money you deserve, so you can move on with your life.