Establishing Wrongful Death
Establishing wrongful death is necessary for a family to claim compensation when a loved one is lost through negligence. In most cases, a wrongful death is due to a negligent driver when a motor vehicle accident occurs. However, wrongful death can occur in a number of ways, including negligence by a government entity, a commercial company, a physician or hospital and others who owe the duty of care to another person.
Establishing Wrongful Death Before Filing
The plaintiff, or person(s) filing a claim, must be able to prove the following in order to be awarded compensation for their loss. Once these elements are satisfied, damages can be sought:
- Establishing wrongful death begins with showing that the negligent individual or entity owed a duty of care to the deceased person. For example, drivers who act in a responsible manner do not do things that would endanger others such as running through a red light or texting while driving.
- The second factor in establishing wrongful death deals with whether the individual or entity that caused the death failed in their duty of care. For example, the loved one died because he or she was struck by another vehicle, and the individual driving was intoxicated at the time. Because that person was driving while impaired, it shows that they were not using the care that a responsible person would.
- An important element when establishing wrongful death is that if the negligent person had not failed in their duty, the accident would not have occurred. For instance, despite the fact that driving drunk is a negligent thing to do, if the deceased died due to something unrelated to the drunken operation of a motor vehicle, proof of fault would be lacking.
- Finally, it must be shown that the person/persons who have placed a claim for damages have suffered a financial loss because of the death of their loved one.
Is Establishing Wrongful Death Necessary in All Cases?
While proof of negligence in most wrongful death cases is needed in order to obtain compensation, it isn’t necessary for all claims. Product liability cases are different since they do not require that negligence is proven. Simply put, if the product caused an injury, the plaintiff merely has to prove that there was a problem with its design or manufacture or due to a failure to warn of hazards associated with it. It is also necessary to show that the product was used in the way for which it was intended. This is called the reasonably foreseeable use of a product. By not requiring proof of negligence, the playing field is leveled since this is usually a complex and costly endeavor.
What Is the Time Limit to File?
The statute of limitation for a wrongful death lawsuit in the state of California is two years from the time the individual died. It is important to file before the deadline, or the ability to bring the case to court will be lost. An experienced wrongful death attorney will ensure that all deadlines are met.
How Does a Wrongful Death Occur?
The causation of wrongful death is varied. Although traffic accidents are the primary cause of wrongful deaths, it is not limited to motor vehicle crashes. Other causes of a wrongful death occur in:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Accidents at work due to third-party fault or an egregious error by the employer
- Defective products available to the consumer
- Children’s toys
- Furniture defects
- Auto defects
- Failed medical devices
- Pharmaceutical products
- Failure of a government entity to provide a safe environment
Sacramento Wrongful Death Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento wrongful death lawyer. Losing a loved one is a daunting experience for anyone. Losing them because of another’s negligence is even more trying. Call me at (916) 921-6400 for free and friendly advice. If you are outside the calling area, use my toll-free line at (800) 404-5400 or go to the contact us page on my website.
I’ve helped numerous Sacramento residents, as well as those in the wider Northern California area, obtain the compensation they deserve in all types of auto accidents, motorcycle crashes, and traumatic brain injury cases.
I belong to the Million Dollar Advocates, a group of trial attorneys around the nation who have won more than $1 million for a client.
When you are thinking of retaining a lawyer, you need to know about them. Learn more about me and my practice from comments by my peers and former clients, and see how I resolved previous cases on the following pages:
Photo Attribution: https://pixabay.com/en/death-funeral-coffin-mourning-2421820/
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