Getting Answers to Questions About Wrongful Death Cases in California
If you have lost a loved one in an accident that could have been prevented then you know how difficult the experience can be. When that accident was caused by someone else acting negligently, it can feel impossible to move on from the experience. A wrongful death lawsuit can help you move on with your life. Keep reading to learn more and then contact Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas at 909-982-0707 for a free legal consultation.
What Are Wrongful Death Claims?
A wrongful death claim requires more than the death of a person. It is a civil lawsuit, unlike a criminal case the state brings, and the punishment is not jail time but rather financial. Another big difference between this type of civil claim and a criminal claim is that while a criminal claim must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, a civil claim only has to be proven with a preponderance of evidence.
What Must Be Proven to Substantiate a Wrongful Death Claim?
There are several factors that must be proven in order for a wrongful death claim to stand up. This includes proving that someone died, that their death was caused by another person or their intent to cause harm, and that the surviving members of the family were financially harmed as a result of the death.
What Are Examples of Wrongful Death Cases?
An intentional act that results in the death of a person, such as murder or manslaughter, can be considered wrongful death. However, if the killing was in self-defense or otherwise considered legally justifiable, it is not an example of wrongful death. Negligent driving that results in a fatal car accident, such as speeding or running a red light, can be considered wrongful death.
Medical malpractice, such as bad prescription medication, an error by a surgeon, or a medical professional not accurately diagnosing a condition, can be wrongful death. Product defects including un safe products, tainted food, and poorly designed machinery can all be causes for wrongful death lawsuits. A work-related death – especially if a third-party caused the death – may also qualify as wrongful death.
Can Anyone File a Wrongful Death Claim?
No. While there are a few exceptions, generally speaking California law holds that if a person would be entitled to inherit property from the deceased if there had not been / was no will, or if they were a personal representative of the deceased’s estate, then they can file a claim. For example, this would include the spouse and children of the deceased. It would only include the parents if the parents relied on the deceased for support.
If you have further questions about wrongful death cases, if you want to know if you quality to file one or what the potential compensation would be then we urge you to contact Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas at 909-982-0707 for a free legal consultation. We are standing by to help you through this difficult time.