How to Determine if You Have a Valid Wrongful Death Claim
Although a majority of personal injury claims will involve pain and suffering, the loss sustained in a wrongful death is understandably unbearable for any family. If you have lost a loved one as a result of another’s wrongdoing or negligent actions, there may be an opportunity to recover monetary compensation. Here, we will discuss how to determine if you have a valid claim and how a lawsuit can help.
Determining the Validity of a Wrongful Death Claim
Regrettably, not all grieving parents, children, or spouses will have the right to file a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death claims in California need to abide by several elements in order to have legal standing.
Necessary elements in a claim involve:
- The death of a loved one – In order to file a claim, a person must have passed away. A family who has a loved one who is in a vegetative state will not be eligible to file a wrongful death claim. Moreover, claims cannot be filed in the event of a deceased animal.
- Intent to harm or negligence – The cause of death will need to be the result of the intention to harm the victim or a result of negligence. Consequently, the defendant identified in the claim will be directly liable for the passing of the victim.
- Survivors with need – The person filing the claim will need to be a survivor who was financially dependent on the victim. The claimant could also be emotionally or physically dependent on the victim.
- Estate representation – The property or estate of the victim will need to be lawfully represented by an appointed party.
Proving a Wrongful Death Claim
Wrongful death claims are essentially personal injury claims that are filed on behalf of the victim who was not able to make a recovery from his or her injury. As a result, the process in demonstrating negligence mirrors that of a personal injury claim. The party bringing forward the claim will need to establish four elements in order to demonstrate negligence.
- Duty of Care – The accused party owed the victim a duty of care at the time of the incident.
- Breach of Duty – The claimant will need to demonstrate that the accused party violated the duty of care through a certain action.
- Damages Sustained – The claimant’s losses include the passing of the victim and associated costs, such as the victim’s medical costs prior to his or her passing.
- Cause – The claimant will need to demonstrate that the accused’s actions directly resulted in the victim’s passing.
Consult the Legal Advice of a Highly Experienced Attorney
The sudden passing of a loved one can be one of the most devastating experiences a family can endure. This is particularly true if the death was caused by another’s negligence. If you lost a loved one because of another’s careless actions, there may be an opportunity for compensation. Consult the legal support of a skilled attorney who can help your family’s right to a full restitution.
Scot Thomas Moga, a dedicated attorney in San Bernardino & Riverside Counties who represents clients in the many types of personal injury, workers’ compensation and estate planning cases.