Wrongful death means that someone died as a result of another person’s negligence or intentional misconduct. Wrongful death can occur in almost any scenario you can think of, from car accidents to intentional homicides. The top causes of wrongful death claims typically differ depending on which state you are in. No matter what caused your loved one’s wrongful death, our team has the experience necessary to hold the at-fault party responsible for your loved one’s death. Instead of spending your time worrying about your wrongful death claim, you can let us focus on the complexities of the case. That will give you time to properly grieve your loved one and begin to heal.
If you lost your loved one due to someone else’s wrongful or negligent act, reach out to The Larsen Firm as soon as possible. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
California outlines who can bring a wrongful death action, which includes some surviving family members of the deceased, such as:
- Domestic partners, and
- Descendants of any of the decedent’s children who are no longer living.
If none of these parties exist, the laws of intestate succession dictate who can file a wrongful death suit. That can include cousins, siblings, or grandparents of the decedent.
The legislature only wants the parties who suffered financially from the decedent’s death to be able to collect compensation. Typically, the people impacted the most by the loss of a loved one are the family members closest to them, like their spouse and children. That is why the statute limits the parties who are allowed to bring the claim.
How Does a Wrongful Death Claim Arise?
To succeed in a wrongful death case, you must establish each element. The elements of wrongful death include:
- The death of your loved one;
- Caused by the negligent or wrongful act of another party; and
- The surviving family members have suffered financial losses as a result of their loved one’s death.
Many wrongful death cases are based on negligence—which means the plaintiff must prove that the at-fault party was negligent. Proving negligence also requires you to establish multiple elements. The elements of negligence include:
- The at-fault party owed a duty of care to the victim;
- They breached that duty of care by failing to act as a reasonable person would under the same or similar circumstances;
- The breach led to the accident and injuries that caused the death; and
- The death resulted in losses to you and other claimants.
Sometimes these elements are relatively easy to prove. For example, anyone operating a vehicle owes other drivers on the road a duty to operate it in a reasonably safe manner. You can show that they breached this duty with evidence that they disobeyed traffic signals or other traffic regulations.
Even after you show that the at-fault party breached their duty of care, the analysis is not over. You still need to prove that you suffered damages as a result of the loss of your loved one. This can include things like:
- The value of household services like cleaning, childcare, or landscaping;
- Loss of future financial support;
- The estimated amount of income and benefits the decedent would have earned in their lifetime;
- Loss of companionship;
- Funeral expenses;
- Loss of guidance; and
- Loss of love and support.
Some of these calculations require extensive analysis to determine an accurate value. At The Larsen Firm, we consult with occupational and economic experts to help reach an estimate of your losses.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death can happen in almost any situation if a person is acting in a wrongful or negligent manner. Some of the leading causes of wrongful death include:
- Car accidents,
- Boating accidents,
- Truck accidents,
- Workplace accidents,
- Bicycle accidents,
- Pedestrian accidents, or
- Premises liability cases.
The top causes of wrongful death can vary based on where you are. For example, densely populated areas typically record more pedestrian accidents and bicycle accidents than rural areas.
Contact The Larsen Firm Today to Learn About the Common Causes of Wrongful Death in California
Dealing with the loss of a loved one is never easy, especially when their death was the result of the negligent or wrongful actions of another party. While nothing can bring them back or undo the pain you are feeling, a wrongful death settlement can be a great start toward getting your life back on track.
Whether your wrongful death case goes to trial or ends in a settlement, having an experienced wrongful death law firm in your corner is often one of the best things you can do to increase your chances of success. At The Larsen Firm, we have over a 99% success rate and have helped our clients recover over $950 million dollars in valuable compensation. Give us a call for your free consultation and see how we can help fight for you and your rights. We look forward to hearing from you.