Common Causes of Wrongful Deaths in Los Angeles
Before your family can recover compensation for a wrongful death, you are required to prove how the death happened and identify the party responsible for causing it. Any negligent act or illegal misconduct that causes fatal injury can form the foundation of a wrongful death suit. Some commonly cited causes of wrongful deaths in Los Angeles include:
- Motor vehicle accidents. If a driver caused a fatal accident with your loved one, a claim against their auto insurance policy may only cover a fraction of the total damages your family experienced from the death. Our team has represented many car accident claims in Los Angeles, including those pertaining to fatal injuries. We can help build a case against the at-fault driver and secure maximum compensation for the harm they’ve inflicted.
- Premises liability. All property owners are required to ensure their properties do not pose any safety risks to lawful guests and visitors. If your loved one died in a slip-and-fall accident or similar incident on someone else’s property, you could have grounds to file a wrongful death suit under the state’s premises liability laws.
- Product liability. If your loved one died because of a defective or unreasonably dangerous product, the manufacturer could be liable for the wrongful death. Our team can help prove how a specific product caused the death of your family member and guide you through the product liability claim filing process.
- Intentional violence. Unfortunately, Los Angeles has a very high rate of violent crime. If your loved one died from an aggravated assault, armed robbery, or any other intentional act of violence, the party responsible for their death is likely to face felony prosecution and severe criminal penalties if convicted. They will also be liable for civil damages under the state’s wrongful death laws. Easton & Easton will help you understand how the illegal nature of a defendant’s behavior can influence your wrongful death case.
This is not an exhaustive list of all the ways a wrongful death may occur. Ultimately, the determining factor as to whether you could file a wrongful death claim is if a specific party directly caused the death through negligence or intentional misconduct of some kind.
“Negligence” is a legal term to describe a failure to use reasonable care. This can occur in many ways, and if your loved one’s death was the result of another party’s negligence, you must be prepared to show their negligence directly caused the death. You are required to prove the defendant owed the decedent a duty of care, breached that duty somehow, and therefore caused their death as a result.
Alternatively, if your loved one died from someone’s deliberate misconduct, the state is likely to file criminal charges against the defendant. Driving under the influence (DUI) and violent crime are two common examples of illegal misconduct that can cause a wrongful death. If this applies to your case, an experienced Los Angeles wrongful death attorney can be an invaluable resource when it comes to preparing for criminal court proceedings against the defendant that may unfold in tandem with your civil claim. Once your attorney has helped you prove fault for your loved one’s death, they can assist you in proving the full scope of the damages the defendant caused.
Claiming Compensation for a Wrongful Death in Los Angeles
The state requires a wrongful death claim to follow the state’s laws of intestate succession. This means that the right to file a wrongful death claim follows intestate succession and typically falls to the surviving spouse of the deceased, followed by their children, parents, or other close relatives. If the deceased named a personal representative in their estate plan, this individual would be responsible for filing a wrongful death claim on their behalf.
When a wrongful death claim succeeds, the proceeds of the lawsuit will go to the victim’s beneficiaries, again following the intestate succession laws of the state. The damages you could potentially claim in a wrongful death suit include the following:
- Compensation for the damages incurred by the deceased’s estate, such as the cost of the victim’s final medical treatment, lost income that result from the injury, and property losses. Your Los Angeles wrongful death attorney can help gather any documentation needed to prove these economic damages.
- Lost financial support the deceased provided to their family. A Los Angeles wrongful death attorney could help calculate the money the deceased reasonably expected to make during the rest of their life if they had survived. Your attorney can calculate the future income they could have earned until retirement, adjusting for inflation and other financial variables.
- Pain and suffering compensation for the victim’s family. Loss of affection and consortium for the victim’s spouse and loss of care, guidance, and moral support for the children and other relatives of the deceased are all compensable losses in a wrongful death suit. Your attorney can help determine a suitable amount of compensation to reflect the psychological distress and grief inflicted by the unexpected death.
- Compensation for the victim’s pain and suffering. If the deceased did not die immediately from the incident in question, it is possible for the family to secure compensation for their pain and suffering as well.
Ultimately, you could have grounds to secure a significant sum of compensation from the party responsible for the loved one’s wrongful death. If you want to maximize your compensation, you need a Los Angeles wrongful death attorney to help construct your case and guide you through the proceedings. It’s possible to resolve a wrongful death claim through private settlement or litigation. Your attorney can help you discover which options are right for you.
Resolving Your Wrongful Death Claim in Los Angeles
When a defendant is clearly to blame for a wrongful death or personal injury, it behooves them to seek a swift settlement. As long as both parties are willing to negotiate, the settlement process allows them to keep their negotiations private and reach mutually acceptable terms in a much more expedient manner than litigation can offer. However, if the defendant denies liability for the death, caused the death through intentional and illegal misconduct, or if the defendant disputes the range of damages sought by the defendant, the case may need to be resolved at trial.
Your Los Angeles wrongful death attorney can help build your claim and meet all applicable procedural rules and statutory deadlines. If your case must be resolved through litigation, you can count on the team at Easton & Easton to guide you through these proceedings and reach the optimal outcome. Ultimately, your wrongful death claim may take some time to complete, but having an experienced Los Angeles wrongful death attorney on your side can make the process much easier to endure and more likely to generate the results you hope to see.
Wrongful Death Lawyer FAQs
Q: Who Gets the Money From a Successful Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A: California law requires that the proceeds from a successful wrongful death claim be disbursed to the decedent’s beneficiaries. The laws of intestate succession apply to wrongful death claims, dictating who has the right to file this type of claim, what damages can be claimed, and how those damages are awarded at the end of a successful case. Your Los Angeles wrongful death attorney can explain the mechanics of your impending claim and what to expect upon completion of the case.
Q: How Much Time Do You Have to Start a Wrongful Death Claim?
A: There is a two-year time limit for wrongful death suits in the state. You must file your claim within this statute of limitations, or you lose the right to seek compensation for your loved one’s death. There are strict procedural rules that apply to wrongful death claims, so it’s essential to have legal counsel you can trust to guide you through your proceedings. Finding a Los Angeles wrongful death attorney as soon as possible significantly improves your chances of winning your case in a timely fashion.
Q: How Much Compensation Can I Receive for a Wrongful Death Claim?
A: Under the state’s wrongful death statutes, the party responsible for the loved one’s death is responsible for repaying the full amount of economic losses your family sustained due to the death as well as the pain and suffering they caused. It can be difficult for the average person to assign a monetary value to a wrongful death, and money cannot replace a lost family member. However, your Los Angeles wrongful death attorney can help determine a suitable amount of compensation to seek with your claim and explore every avenue of recovery for your family.
Q: How Much Time Does It Take to Resolve a Wrongful Death Suit?
A: The time required to complete your wrongful death claim will depend on if the defendant admits liability for their actions and agrees to settle. The private settlement negotiation process allows all parties involved to avoid protracted litigation, and they have more control over the final outcome. However, a settlement requires both parties to be willing to negotiate. If you must resolve your claim through litigation, this could take several months to complete.
Q: How Much Are Attorneys’ Fees for a Los Angeles Wrongful Death Attorney?
A: The team at Easton & Easton does not wish to add to your family’s financial concerns after experiencing an unexpected death of a loved one. We take wrongful death claims on contingency, meaning our client does not pay upfront or ongoing legal fees and will only part with a portion of their award at the conclusion of their case. If we cannot secure compensation on your behalf, you pay nothing, so there is no financial risk to hiring our firm to represent your wrongful death suit.
Experienced Los Angeles Wrongful Death Lawyers
The attorneys at Easton & Easton have cultivated a strong reputation as a leading choice for personal injury representation in the Los Angeles area, and we know how particularly challenging wrongful death claims can be. When you need compassionate legal counsel from an attorney you can trust in this situation, our team is ready to provide the guidance and support you need to reach a positive outcome in your case. Contact us today and schedule your consultation with a Los Angeles wrongful death attorney.