One of the most difficult events in life is losing a loved one. It is especially difficult when the loss is the result of wrongful act of another. We are sensitive to the grieving process that the families are going through and we try to provide as much assistance as possible during this time.
are currently litigating and investigating wrongful death cases arising from auto accidents, nursing home neglect, intentional acts, and medical malpractice.
Type of Damages in Wrongful Death Cases
There are two different types of actions that can be brought as the result of the wrongful death of a loved one: wrongful death action and survival action.
The wrongful death action is intended to compensate the appropriate family members for their personal loss, such as loss of love and companionship, financial support, and funeral expenses.
The survival action that can be brought by the representative of the estate, on behalf of the estate. These damages would include any damages your loved one would have accumulated prior to death.
Limitation on Damages
Pain and suffering damages are not typically recoverable, although if the death involved a form of elder abuse, pain and suffering damages may be available. If your loved one’s death was caused by elder abuse, nursing home abuse, or nursing home neglect, it is important that you hire a nursing home abuse lawyer that can help you navigate the special laws California has enacted to protect elders. Elders are a special class of citizens and the law protects them in a way that it does not provide to others, so the wrongful death of an elder is something that must be handles by a nursing home abuse lawyer.
If the wrongful death was caused by medical malpractice, there may be a cap on the non-economic damages of $250,000. There are very specific laws related to this limitation, and a skilled wrongful death lawyer will investigate all potential causes of action and potential defendants in order to avoid the cap.
Who May Receive Compensation in Wrongful Death Cases
California has very specific laws detailing who may recover damages as the result of a wrongful death. The following individuals are the most common individuals permitted to recover compensation:
– surviving spouse
– Domestic partner
– Grandchildren, if the child is deceased
There are also some situations that will allow for a minor to recover if the following is true:
– The minor lived with the decedent for 180 days or more prior to the death; and
– The minor relied on the decedent for half or more of their support.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
A wrongful death is any death that results from the negligent or intentional act of another person or company. In my experience as a wrongful death lawyer, the most common cause of wrongful death is from auto accidents. In 2012, auto accidents resulted in the 33,561 deaths. And some studies show that nearly 20% of those deaths can be connected to distracted driving.
While auto accidents are the most common cause of wrongful death in my experience, I have also handled wrongful death cases involving residential fires, nursing home abuse (elder abuse), medical malpractice and intentional acts of others, such as a death resulting from a fight.