Long Beach Drunk Driving Accident Could Lead to a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

In early August, a 21-year-old woman died in a car accident in Long Beach. The report showed that a man named Osvaldo Ramirez-Vasquez was driving on PCH when he lost control of his car and broadsided the victim’s vehicle. She was rushed to the hospital but died from her injuries. The police believe that Mr. Ramirez-Vasquez was drunk when the accident occurred.

Her family is now facing one of the worst things a family can experience. It is true that the money obtained via a wrongful death lawsuit cannot bring her back, but it is also true that this accident has undoubtedly had a financial burden on this family. Not only have they had to come up with funeral and burial expenses, but they likely missed time from work and have other expenses. Filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party can relieve this financial burden from them and put it on the person who should have it.

Only Certain People Can File Wrongful Death Lawsuits

California law states that only certain family members can seek compensation via wrongful death case. This includes spouses and children of the deceased. Certain other family members may also be able to file but only if they were financially dependent on the person who lost their life. In the event that there are no family members, whoever stood to inherit the estate may have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Examples of Damages a Family Member May Receive Compensation For

The purpose of the damages awarded in a wrongful death case are to help family members who survive. They may be awarded compensation for funeral and burial costs, loss of financial support, loss of inheritance, medical bills relating to the death, and loss of companionship, care, support, and assistance.

Criminal Cases Can Impact Civil Lawsuits

In this case, Ramirez-Vazquez will likely be charged with a DUI and perhaps additional charges, such as felony DUI that led to death or even DUI manslaughter. If he is facing both criminal and civil cases at the same time, he can file to have the civil proceedings stayed. This means that they are essentially put on hold so that he can focus on his criminal case.

If the accused is found guilty of criminal charges, then it is much more likely that he will be found at-fault in a civil case as well. However, civil cases have a lesser burden of proof compared to a criminal trial. In a criminal case, the accused must be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In a civil case, they must only be found at fault by a preponderance of evidence. In short, this means the court finds it more likely that they are at fault than that they are not.

If you have lost a family member and believe you may have a case, contact Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas at 909-982-0707 to request a free legal consultation.