Wrongful death is an especially difficult type of tragedy. Not only does the loss create a hole in the hearts of those who knew and loved the victim, but it also can involve legal questions, financial strain, and emotional trauma. While every wrongful death is unique, each one also shares a heavy burden of grief that can be incredibly difficult to bear. If you have lost a loved one due to another party’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation through a wrongful death suit. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a San Luis Obispo wrongful death lawyer.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death is a legal term used to describe the death of an individual as a result of negligent, reckless, or intentional behavior on behalf of another person or entity. The most common causes of wrongful deaths are motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, premises liability (slip and fall accidents), work-related injuries/accidents on construction sites (such as falling debris or machinery malfunctions), and criminal acts.
Family members and representatives can work with an attorney to pursue compensation for damages related to their loved one’s passing. For example, if someone was killed in an auto accident due to another driver’s negligence, a wrongful death suit may be appropriate.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit in California?
In California, only certain individuals may file a claim for damages resulting from wrongful death: The deceased’s spouse, children, or parents—but not siblings—have standing to bring these types of claims to recover losses they have experienced as a result of their loved one’s death.
Additionally, a personal representative can file a wrongful death suit. This is the person who is handling the decedent’s affairs – usually an executor or administrator.
Elements of a Wrongful Death Suit
In order to file a successful wrongful death suit based on negligence, there must be evidence of four key elements: duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages.
Duty refers to whether the accused had an obligation to act in accordance with standards established by law. For example, if the death occurred in a car accident, the duty should be fairly easy to prove. All drivers have an obligation to drive safely and take precautions to not injure others on the road.
Breach of duty requires proof that the defendant failed to fulfill this obligation in some way. This can be shown by providing evidence that the defendant was speeding, drinking while driving, or running a red light.
The causation element establishes that this breach directly led to the death of the victim. Using the car accident example, if a driver runs a red light and crashes into someone, this is pretty clear evidence of causation.
Finally, there must be proof that the plaintiff suffered damages, such as medical bills, funeral expenses, lost earnings that their loved one would have earned, or other losses.
Why You Should Choose Rodriguez & To Help with Your Wrongful Death Claim
Our team of experienced personal injury attorneys provides personalized and compassionate representation to all clients facing a wrongful death claim. Here’s why you should work with us:
- With more than 100 years of combined experience, our staff is well-versed in wrongful death claims and knows what it takes to be successful.
- We have obtained some of the highest verdicts in Kern County history. Our goal is to put as much money in your pocket as possible so you can focus on grieving and recovering without the stress of financial matters.
- We are successful in at least 95% of our cases.
If you need help after losing a loved one, we’re here for you. Contact Rodriguez & Associates today to schedule a free consultation.