No one should experience the unexpected loss of a loved one due to wrongful death. These deaths occur daily throughout California and across the country. Wrongful death refers to the negligence of another that leads to the death of someone. The surviving relatives of a wrongful death victim can file a lawsuit for damages. So, what are the aspects of a wrongful death lawsuit?
First, let's discuss who is allowed to sue for wrongful death. The surviving spouse of a wrongful death victim is the most common plaintiff in such a case. Other plaintiffs can include the children of the victim and the parents of a deceased fetus, baby or child. In some instances the parents of an adult child can sue for wrongful death, as can the siblings of the victim. It all depends on the circumstances.
Many wrongful death lawsuits are filed after the conclusion of a criminal trial. They typically use the same evidence presented in the trial but require a much lower standard of proof.
A plaintiff seeking to win a wrongful death case will need to prove the following:
- A death occurred.
- The death was caused by the negligent actions of another person or the other person's intent to harm.
- The surviving relatives are now suffering financial injury due to the victim's death.
- A personal representative has been appointed for the estate of the decedent.
As the surviving relative of a wrongful death victim, you have the right to file a lawsuit for damages. Be sure you know the statute of limitations following the death so you do not miss the deadline to file.
Source: Findlaw, "What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?," accessed Feb. 16, 2018