Wrongful Death Lawsuits: Everything You Need To Know

Candles lit for a wrongful death lawsuit

Wrongful death lawsuits occur when a member of your family passes away because of another person or organization’s unintentional or intentional actions. While no amount of money can bring back your loved one, you may be entitled to receive compensation to ease your financial and emotional burden as a survivor.

What Counts as a Wrongful Death?

The passing away of your spouse, child, or other relative is considered a wrongful death if it directly results from another individual or organization’s negligence or harmful intention. These are some examples of what qualifies as wrongful death:

  • Car Accident Death: Your loved one passed away because of a vehicular accident caused by negligence while driving, such as driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, reckless driving, or disobedience of traffic rules and regulations.
  • Medical Malpractice Death: The person close to you dies because the physician failed to diagnose a serious medical condition or neglected to provide proper healthcare treatments to the patient.
  • Death by Intentional Killing: Your loved one perished because another person deliberately killed them. While the defendant may be charged with a criminal case, the suspect may also be charged with a separate civil lawsuit.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Family members file wrongful death lawsuits if someone dies because of another person or entity’s negligence or intentional actions. You may be qualified to make a wrongful death claim if you are related to the deceased person in the following ways:

  • Spouse or domestic partner
  • Children (biological and legally adopted sons and daughters)
  • Parents of a deceased fetus
  • Parents of unmarried children
  • Other immediate family members

Take note that the laws regarding wrongful death may vary from state to state. Check the wrongful death statute in the state where you are currently based. For example, here’s the wrongful death statute code section for California.

How Do You Prove a Wrongful Death Claim?

You can prove a wrongful death action with the legal assistance of a personal injury lawyer. You must present the following during an intentional or accidental death lawsuit:

  • Proof of death of your loved one
  • Evidence that the death of your family member was directly caused by the negligence or harmful intentions of the suspect
  • Proof that you and the other family members are experiencing financial problems because of the death of your loved one
  • Evidence that the deceased individual appointed a personal representative

What Is the Average Payout in a Wrongful Death Suit?

The payout for your wrongful death suit may vary based on different factors. One of these factors includes the age of your loved one. Your emotional pain and grief will also be estimated based on the per diem method.

Financial injury is one of the most critical factors determining the total damages of a wrongful death action. It involves the total medical bills you paid and the funeral and burial costs you incurred. It also includes the loss of financial support and the lost prospect of future inheritance and income for you and your family.

What Is the Statute of Limitations?

The statute of limitations sets certain time limits that require you to file a wrongful death claim within a certain period after your loved one has died. Nevertheless, there is a provision for you to file a claim even beyond this timeframe if the case investigation does not reveal the actual cause of death until much later.

Considerations When Hiring a Wrongful Death Lawyer

There are several factors that you need to consider when hiring a wrongful death lawyer for your case:

Lawyer Specialization

Different attorneys focus on various legal matters. Hire a personal injury lawyer who specializes in wrongful death cases like yours. A legal professional experienced in wrongful death claims has a deeper knowledge and understanding of wrongful death actions and how to handle such cases to achieve the desired outcome.

Professional Track Record

Theoretical knowledge is crucial, but the real-life application is even more important. You must find an attorney who has a reasonable, if not exceptional, track record when it comes to winning wrongful death cases. A high success rate proves that the lawyer can apply legal expertise to increase your chances of winning your wrongful death claim.

Payment Arrangement

The death of your loved one may have set you back in financial terms, so it is understandable if you do not currently have the funds to pay legal fees. However, it may be a more practical choice for you to work with a lawyer who offers a no recovery, no fee arrangement than someone who requires upfront fees. This payment arrangement frees you from worrying about legal fees until after you successfully receive a settlement offer or are awarded money from a court judgment.

What to Do Next

Wrongful death lawsuits may not bring back your beloved family member, but they can lighten your financial woes as a survivor even as you continue to grieve for your untimely loss. Contact us if you’re looking for a no recovery, no fee basis for your convenience.

Call us at (213) 252-1070 or book your free consultation on our website to discuss your case with a wrongful death lawyer. We are prepared to provide you with the legal assistance you need for your wrongful death case in Los Angeles, Orange County, Beverly Hills, and other surrounding areas in Southern California.