Wrongful death suits are a type of personal injury that no one wants to be faced with. Losing a loved one is a difficult experience, especially if it happened unexpectedly and was caused by someone else’s negligence. It can leave a family (personal representative) feeling lost, confused, and angry. Aside from the emotional pain, there are financial concerns as well. You might be entitled to compensation if your loved one died due to someone else’s negligence. Neglectful death lawsuits are designed to compensate the surviving deceased family members financially. However, a grieving person will have a difficult time negotiating a settlement agreement due to a wrongful death caused by a reckless or careless defendant.
In this article, our top-rated Los Angeles wrongful death attorneys will discuss the legal process of filing a neglectful death lawsuit, including the elements of a wrongful death claim, how to prove negligence, preserving evidence, the statute of limitations, and the role of a wrongful death attorney and the injured party. We will also cover recovering money for lost income, funeral expenses, loss of consortium, and medical bills in typical wrongful death actions.
Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim
A death is considered wrongful or negligent when it is caused by a breach of contract or warranty, illegal conduct, or some procedural failure on the part of a healthcare professional. However, wrongful death lawsuits for medical malpractice (medical negligence) are among the hardest to prove (even with medical records) or finance. And even if you think you have a potential wrongful death suit, that doesn’t mean an experienced personal injury attorney wants to help with wrongful death settlements. Most lawyers loathe med mal cases and won’t touch them with a ten-foot pole.
The decedent’s estate or surviving family members may file a civil lawsuit over wrongful death claims in certain situations, including:
- Negligence or Breach of Procedure: In wrongful death cases, this can include a car accident caused by a drunk driver, medical malpractice, or a work-related accident like chemical burns causing a victim’s death.
- Breach of Duty of Care occurs when someone fails to take reasonable care in a particular situation. For example, a store owner fails to fix a broken stair, causing someone to fall and die. Personal injury lawsuits are typically brought by a personal injury lawyer on behalf of the surviving spouse affected by the wrongful act.
- Direct or Indirect Causation: This refers to a situation where the defendant’s actions directly or indirectly caused the death of the decedent. For example, a doctor who prescribed the wrong medication to a patient resulted in their death; you may be able to file a wrongful death action.
Many wrongful death claims fail because sometimes expert witness testimony is required to prove the cause of the untimely death. If you fail to hire an expert, you can lose the causation argument, and your case gets dismissed by the civil court. Sometimes a criminal court determines the defendant breached the criminal standard of care. But that typically won’t be enough to prove a civil personal injury claim to the insurance company or a civil jury in a personal injury lawsuit.
As discussed above, regardless of the type of case, you must prove that the defendant’s negligence and conduct led to the death of the decedent. To prove negligence, you must be able to show that the responsible party was acting recklessly. You can prove your wrongful death damages by demonstrating the death was due to lack of preparation in an employee work area, intoxication, or some other cause. In wrongful death claims, you must persuade the court that the evidence and your account of the incident have a greater than 50% chance of accuracy. This is called the preponderance of the evidence standard to prove negligence caused the person’s death.
Preserving Evidence for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
After establishing a link between the defendant’s breach of duty and the your loved one’s death, it is necessary to show that the defendant’s behavior was caused by negligence. This is why the preservation of evidence is so important; the causation of a death can be difficult to prove depending on the facts, which may even cost you your wrongful death claim. A lawyer who is an expert in this area will know how to collect and review all kinds of evidence (including accident records, medical reports, and other documentation) and then link it to the breach of duty that caused the death of your family member, thus proving the defendant’s negligence.
The Role of a Wrongful Death Attorney
Hiring an experienced wrongful death attorney to represent you in a neglectful death lawsuit is crucial. The attorney can help you gather evidence to prove negligence and represent you in court if necessary. An attorney can also ensure all legal deadlines are met in a wrongful death lawsuit. These superior injury lawyers will also make sure your wrongful death case is filed correctly. A wrongful death attorney can provide guidance on the statute of limitations and any potential defenses that the defendant may use to dispute the wrongful death lawsuit claim.
Statute of Limitations For a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
When it comes to statutes of limitation in wrongful death cases, although there is no precise legal definition related to duty of care, the general laws for personal injury claims apply for this type of case, which means a maximum of two years to file your claim if a family member has died due to the negligence of a third party. It is important to note that the statute of limitations to file a wrongful death lawsuit varies from state to state, so it is essential to consult with an attorney knowledgeable about your state’s wrongful death lawsuit laws.
Our wrongful death lawsuit attorneys will investigate to see if you have a justiciable potential wrongful death lawsuit to file and even potential punitive damages due to criminal acts. These wrongful death lawsuit experts will also help you build your claim. We will do so by helping you gather vital evidence of causation and fault.
You will need this as a plaintiff must prove that the reported death was caused by negligence. We will also attempt insurance settlement negotiations. If we cannot win you enough money, we will represent you in a court wrongful death lawsuit if necessary.
Contact a Proven, Tested, Negligent Death Lawyer to Process Your Claims
Do you have witness statements or a police report to show the circumstances surrounding the death? Was it an intentional act? Was it a typical traffic accident? Want to pursue the person responsible? The proven legal team at our law firm will take steps to show the defendant was legally responsible to the victim’s family.
Our legal representatives will help certain family members with the right to sue to obtain financial compensation for lost wages and help file a wrongful death case against anyone who owed the decedent a legal duty. Call us today by dialing (213) 596-9642, or reach out online for a virtual consultation free of charge. Do or die. We make it happen by settlement or by a solid jury verdict in the plaintiff’s favor! Filing a wrongful death lawsuit just got a lot easier for you!