Articles Tagged with California wrongful death attorney

weighted blanket death
August 21, 2014 is a date that forever changed the lives of parents whose infant son died while at his daycare center.  This tragic wrongful death that occurred at a daycare does shed light on a practice that some parents and daycare providers practice that can have deadly results.  In Webster Grove, Missouri a 7 month old infant was found dead under a weighted blanket.

A weighted blanked  is a blanket that has items such as flax seed, beans, poly pellets or other items sewn between the fabric. Some blankets are a DIY home project while others are prescribed or obtained from medical equipment vendor.

smokedetectorPersonal injury and/or death can occur due to negligence related to installation and/or maintenance of smoke alarms and sprinkler systems.  We often hear in the news terrible stories of a family living in an apartment suffering injuries or death due to the absence of working smoke detectors.  It can be easily assumed that in all such cases there follows a lawsuit against the landlord, apartment owner, and/or the maintenance staff.

While cases such as the above capture the public’s attention, there are many other ways in which a finding of negligence could attach to a responsible party.  They include, but are not limited to:

You may have heard the descriptive legal term “eggshell plaintiff” and wondered what that meant.  It conjures up a vision of Humpty Dumpty sitting on the witness stand.  But think about the characteristics of an eggshell … as evidenced by Mr. Dumpty’s notorious fall, eggshells are notoriously fragile – and essentially that is what the term refers to, a fragile, or more easily injured, plaintiff.

The eggshell plaintiff is a concept found in civil proceedings, where a person (“the plaintiff”) can sue another (“the defendant”) based on a negligent or intentional act that caused damage.  A simple example is if a person is not paying attention to the road and rear-ends another vehicle, causing injury to the person driving the rear-ended vehicle, the injured driver can sue the negligent driver for monetary damages.

Many employees drive company vehicles either to and from work or for specific company related tasks. Wrongful death claims can be brought against a driver’s employer if the negligent act of the employee occurred in the scope of employment. For this reason, it is vital in every wrongful death case to have only a wrongful death attorney investigate whether the negligent driver was in the scope of employment.

Employer Liability for Employee Actions

Merriam-Webster defines wrongful death as “a death caused by the negligent, willful, or wrongful act, neglect, omission, or default of another.”  It is a legal term and it does include murder – in fact, sometimes a civil trial for monetary damages will occur after the related criminal trial has concluded.  Civil trials have a less stringent standard of proof than criminal, so – such as in the famous O.J. Simpson trials – a person may be found financially liable for the wrongful death of another, even if he or she was not found guilty of murder.

headstone
Other common instances that may result in “wrongful death” are: motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice (the negligence of a physician or other health care provider results in the death of a patient), criminal activities, hazardous recreational activities, and workplace/occupational injury that leads to death.

One of the joys of living in California is hot weather. The California heat encourages us to get in a bathing suit and take a dip at least four of the twelve months of the year.  It’s no wonder that with temperatures soaring to over 100 degrees, California is one of the leading states of the installation of residential swimming pools.

Often, when the heat hits, all we can think of is cooling off. Safety and preventing injuries can be the farthest thing in mind when we jump in the pool.  However, the Centers for Disease and Protection (CDC) states that the leading cause for injury death in children (ages 1-4) is drowning. The grim statistics reveal that every day approximately three children will die from an accidental drowning.

The answer is yes. In California, only certain people have the right to sue for wrongful death when a spouse or other close family member is killed through the wrongful act or negligence of another. In 2002, legislature amended the wrongful death statute to include a decedent’s surviving “domestic partner” to the list of individuals entitled to sue for wrongful death. This hasn’t always been the case though.

One of the landmark cases that help transform the wrongful death statute was decided by San Francisco Judge, A. James Robertson II when he ruled in a fatal dog attack lawsuit filed by the victims partner, that a wrongful death suit could go to trial. Plaintiff, Sharon Smith, filed a wrongful death lawsuit after the death of her life partner, Diane Whipple, was killed by two dogs in the hallway of her apartment after returning home with two bags of groceries. See more info about this case here.

Although the dangers of exposure to asbestos fibers has now been well-known for many years, the several different diseases that may result may not be. In addition to malignant mesothelioma — a cancer that appears in the mesothelial tissues lining the lungs, peritoneum, pericardium, and chest cavity — other cancers of the lungs, kidneys, and gastrointestinal tract have also been connected to asbestos. Asbestos fiber inhalation is also the direct cause of asbestosis, a condition in which the lung tissues become increasingly scarred, seriously reducing lung function.

Malignant mesothelioma is a very devastating diagnosis — most people diagnosed with this cancer die within 12 months of receiving their diagnosis. This is not to say victims of this disease should be without hope. For example, famous scientist Stephen Jay Gould lived for more than 20 years after his mesothelioma diagnosis, eventually succumbing to an unrelated condition. While certainly grim, malignant mesothelioma diagnoses are still relatively rare.

hazmatAnyone who watched an older building being torn down or remodeled in recent years will have become familiar with the sight of workers performing asbestos testing and remediation. Buildings constructed in the middle part of the 20th century very commonly used asbestos in a variety of building materials because of its fireproofing performance. It was also used as fireproofing material in a number of other industries, such as shipbuilding, beginning early in the 20th Century, but becoming increasingly prevalent from the 1940s forward.

Malignant mesothelioma is a relatively rare form of cancer that appears most commonly in the pleural lining between the lungs and the chest wall. Only in recent decades has the strong connection between most pleural mesotheliomas and workplace exposure to asbestos become well-established and recognized.  Although cancer in the pleural lining had occasionally been observed and described by doctors for hundreds of years, it wasn’t until the early 1900s that doctors began to recognize these as “primary” cancers — that is, cancers originating actually in the lungs, rather than spreading as “secondary” tumors from cancers beginning in other locations.

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I’ve been a Sacramento Wrongful Death attorney  since 1982. Since I handle only personal injury cases, I’ve had occasion to see many families who have been suddenly confronted with the sudden death of a parent, a spouse, a child, a partner, a friend.

I  see the deep pain and grief of my clients, but there’s no way that I, an outsider, can really experience it,