San Diego Wrongful Death Lawyers
The loss of a loved one can be almost too painful to bear, particularly when someone else’s negligence caused death. A wrongful death claim is a legal means to seek justice for your loved one and hold responsible parties accountable. It is also a way to seek compensation for your family’s future.
Wrongful death is a legal term denoting a civil action in which damages are sought against a party for causing a death. This is a special type of lawsuit brought when someone dies because of someone else’s negligent or intentional actions. Wrongful death claims can only arise in situations in which the victim would have had a valid personal injury claim against the defendant had the victim survived.
A wrongful death claim can arise from any accident or incident in which someone’s death was caused by the negligence or wrongdoing of another. Motor vehicle accidents are common causes of wrongful death. A total of 36,560 people lost their lives in U.S. traffic crashes in 2018, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Vehicle-related crashes that commonly cause wrongful death include:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Bus accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
Other causes of wrongful death include airplane accidents, medical malpractice, workplace accidents, dangerous and defective products, and criminal acts of violence.
Only specific individuals can bring a wrongful death claim under California law. These include the surviving spouse or domestic partner, children, and issue of deceased children of the victim and those who would be entitled to the property of the deceased under the laws of intestate (without a will) succession. Minor children, such as stepchildren who were dependent on the deceased victim for at least 50% of their financial support, may file for wrongful death. The personal representative of the estate of the deceased may also bring a wrongful death claim.
Damages in a wrongful death claim are designed to compensate the heirs for the value of the support they could have reasonably expected to receive from the deceased victim if he or she had lived, based on life expectancy at the time of the wrongful act. These damages may include both economic and non-economic losses. Economic damages may include:
- Funeral or burial expenses
- Financial support the deceased would have contributed to the family during his or her lifetime
- Loss of gifts or benefits the heirs could have expected to receive from the deceased
- The reasonable value of household services the deceased would have provided
Non-economic damages may include compensation for the loss of what the deceased would have provided to family members and heirs, including:
- Moral support
- Society and companionship
- Training and guidance
- Sexual relations
To hold a defendant liable for wrongful death, the plaintiff must meet the same burden of proof the victim would have been required to meet had he or she lived. When a wrongful death claim is based on negligence, you must show that:The defendant owed the deceased victim of duty of care. The defendant breached that duty. That breach of duty was the direct and proximate cause of the victim’s death. The death of the victim caused the damages for which you are seeking compensation.
Our San Diego personal injury attorneys at jD LAW, P.C. are here to help you seek justice. We have the knowledge, skills, and resources to focus on the details of your case, while you grieve the loss of your loved one. If you have lost someone dear to you in a wrongful death, call us at (760) 630-2000 to schedule a free consultation with no obligation. We can explain your options under the law.
Don’t Wait A Second Longer
When you have been injured, or a loved one has been killed due to the negligence of another, you need legal help. Contact JD LAW, P.C., today to get the justice you deserve.