How to Prove a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in California
If you have recently lost a loved one, the last thing you may be considering is filing a wrongful death lawsuit. While wrongful death lawsuits do little to repair the damage left behind by the unexpected death of a loved one, they do help bring the family some level of justice. With the financial compensation received from a successful case, the deceased’s family can stop worrying about the expenses resulting from the passing and focus on their grieving. The following information will help you understand what you may need to file a wrongful death lawsuit in California.
How to Determine If You Have a Case for Wrongful Death in California
The State of California’s wrongful death statutes require that several elements must be present in order for a person to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Necessary elements include the following:
- The Passing of the Victim – If a victim is left in a vegetative state, the family will not be able to seek compensation by filing a claim for a wrongful death.
- Intent to Harm or Negligence – The passing of the victim must be the result of a negligent act or inaction, or the intent to cause harm. The accused in the case must therefore have some form of responsibility in causing the death of the victim.
- Eligibility – In order for a case to be valid, the claimant must be a survivor of the deceased and was dependent on him or her through physical, emotional, or financial forms.
- Representation of the Estate – A designated party must lawfully represent the deceased’s estate.
Proving a Wrongful Death Case in California
Wrongful death cases are essentially personal injury claims that are filed on behalf of the victim’s survivors. The process of proving negligence in wrongful death lawsuits mirror that of negligence needed to prove a personal injury claim. There are four elements that a plaintiff must demonstrate in order to have a successful case. These include the following:
- Duty of Care – The accused owed the victim a duty of care. Different cases may include a driver’s duty to obey posted street signs or a doctor’s duty to prescribe the proper medications.
- Breach of Duty – The claimant will need to demonstrate that the accused violated the duty of care. As in the previously used examples, the breach can occur when a driver fails to stop at a stop sign or a doctor who has ignored medical protocol and has given the patient an incorrect dosage of medication.
- Damages – The claimants will need to demonstrate that the victim’s passing has harmed them.
- Causation – Ultimately, the claimants will need to demonstrate that their loved one’s passing was caused by the accused.
Hire the Support of a Skilled Wrongful Death Attorney in California
Proving negligence in a wrongful death lawsuit is a difficult matter that may require legal support. Because the State of California follows the pure comparative negligence rule, this can make any case complex. If you have lost a loved one because of the careless actions or inactions of another party, speak to a skilled wrongful death attorney today.
Attorney Scot T. Moga has many years of dedicated experience helping grieving families obtain the compensation they deserve following the death of a loved one. Wrongful death cases in California are notoriously complicated; seek the legal support of a proficient and dedicated attorney today.