When a person suddenly passes away, the incident is always tragic for the victim’s family members and loved ones. The sudden death of the individual can be even more difficult to cope with when the death was caused by another’s negligence. If you or someone you know lost a loved one as a result of another person or company’s carelessness, there could be an opportunity to bring legal action against the negligent party. The following information will help you understand what a wrongful death lawsuit is, what is needed to prove a case, and who is eligible to file a claim.
Grounds to File a Lawsuit
A wrongful death claim is a civil action that can arise when a person suffers a deadly personal injury caused by another’s wrongful action. Wrongful death can happen through a variety of scenarios, which include the following:
A wrongful death claim can be filled in a case regarding the murder of a person. A commonly known example is that of the O.J. Simpson case. When O.J. Simpson faced criminal charges for the deaths of his wife, Nicole Brown, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, he was infamously acquitted from the charges. Shortly thereafter, however, the victim’s families filed a wrongful death lawsuit against O.J. Simpson. The victim’s families ultimately won the case and were awarded $33.5 million in damages.
When a doctor, medical staff, or hospital failed to adequately treat a victim, or if they were careless in the care provided to a patient that ultimately led to the victim’s demise, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed by the victim’s loved ones.
A recent case involves an Ohio doctor who is currently facing criminal charges for the deaths of 25 patients. The charges allege that the doctor gave lethal doses of opioids to patients, which either caused or accelerated their deaths. According to prosecutors, a majority of the patients had a deteriorating health or where not conscious when they were administered the painkillers. Alongside the doctor, his former colleagues, including nurses and pharmacists could face prosecution. About 15 families are currently being represented in a wrongful death lawsuit against the doctor and the hospital.
When a person dies because of the reckless driving of another, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed.
Auto accidents involving negligent actions often include situations such as:
- Driving under the influence of an intoxicating substance,
- Speeding, or
- Driving while fatigued
Proving a Wrongful Death Claim
In order to prove a wrongful death claim, a majority of cases will need to demonstrate negligence. For the most part, this will include demonstrating that the defendant owed the perished person a duty of care, the accused breached the duty of care, and that the breach was the direct, or major contributor to the injuries that lead to the victim’s death.
Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in the State of California
Every state will have its own laws regarding how a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed and who can pursue the claim. Pursuant the California Code of Civil Procedure §377.60, the following parties can file a lawsuit upon the death of a person:
- The victim’s spouse or domestic partner, or
- The victim’s children
When no party is in the victim’s line of descent, other parties that can file a lawsuit include those who are entitled to the victim’s property such as the victim’s parents, stepchildren, or siblings.
Obtain the Support of a Trusted Wrongful Death Lawsuit Attorney
The wrongful death attorneys at Martinez & Schill, LLP. understand that it is difficult to cope with the sudden passing of a loved one. The firm’s proficiency excels in helping mourning families alleviate the stress associated with the sudden death of a loved one. Martinez & Schill, LLP. has helped many victims’ families recover the compensation they need to go through the grieving process. After losing a loved one as a result of another’s negligence, obtain the legal support of a trusted wrongful death attorney.