In California, when someone’s death is the result of wrongful behavior or negligence by another person or entity, surviving family members can file what is known as a “wrongful death” lawsuit in civil court. An experienced California personal injury lawyer can explain your rights and help you and your family seek justice for the pain you are experiencing.
What is a “Wrongful Death” Case?
The term “wrongful death” has legal significance in California. A wrongful death lawsuit is a type of civil legal action that can be brought by the survivors of a deceased person who died as a result of a wrongful act or negligence. Some wrongful death cases are filed based on behavior that is also the subject of criminal charges. In such a scenario, the two cases will proceed independently of one another. However, there does not need to be a crime or criminal conviction in order to bring a wrongful death case. Certain types of reckless or negligent conduct can be a sufficient basis for such a lawsuit irrespective of any alleged or proven criminal liability.
Some wrongful death cases are filed based on behavior that is also the subject of criminal charges. In such a scenario, the two cases will proceed independently of one another. However, there does not need to be a crime or criminal conviction in order to bring a wrongful death case. Certain types of reckless or negligent conduct can be a sufficient basis for such a lawsuit irrespective of any alleged or proven criminal liability.
Unlike a criminal lawsuit involving homicide charges like manslaughter or murder, which can result in a defendant being convicted and receiving a criminal sentence, fault in a wrongful death lawsuit leads solely to the award of money damages. If you succeed in a wrongful death lawsuit, the court will order the responsible party to pay a sum of money to you and your family members. This sum of money can include damages for medical bills, funeral costs, lost income, and loss of emotional support.
The litigation process can be time-consuming and stressful, involving many different rules and procedures. The following are only a few things an attorney will do during litigation:
What Bowen Law Firm helps with:
Gathering evidence — Evidence in your favor is gathered in many different ways, including through investigators, depositions, document requests, and more.
Filing the lawsuit — A wrongful death lawsuit has many requirements and must be persuasive enough to successfully present your case and stand up to challenges by the other party.
Challenging the other side’s defenses — The other party will certainly raise legal defenses to avoid liability. You attorney will answer back to challenge those defenses and protect your rights to a recovery.
Negotiating a favorable settlement — The majority of wrongful death lawsuits are settled out of court but this does not mean you should accept a settlement that is too low just to avoid trial. Your attorney will effectively use new arguments and evidence to negotiate until you receive the settlement offer you deserve.
Representing you at a jury trial — If the liable party refuses to make an adequate settlement offer, your attorney will present your case at a trial, which involves strict rules of evidence and procedural requirements.
WHAT KINDS OF ACCIDENTS OR INTENTIONAL ACTS CAUSE A WRONGFUL DEATH?
There are several different kinds of accidents that can lead to a wrongful death. These include:
Commercial Truck Accidents
The Use or Consumption of Dangerous or Defective Products
Prolonged Exposure to Toxic Chemicals
Medical Malpractice By a Doctor or Healthcare Facility
and other types of accidents
A wrongful death action may also be based on intentional acts such as:
Call Bowen Law Firm at our Roseville office at (916) 742-2220 or contact us online if you have questions about a loved one resulting in wrongful death.