Posted in General on August 23, 2019
Wrongful death cases are complex, and people are often confused as to what wrongful death means. A wrongful death case arises when someone is killed due to the careless, negligent, or intentional actions of another person, company, or entity.
Today, we want to discuss the common ways these cases arise. As we review some examples of wrongful death examples, please keep in mind that this is not a complete list. You should always speak with qualified and experienced California wrongful death attorney when making decisions about your particular case.
Some common ways wrongful death cases arise
- Vehicle accidents – thousands of people die each year in car accidents in California. In many cases, these deaths are due to the negligent actions of other drivers. During the latest reporting year in this state, alcohol-impaired drivers caused 29% of all traffic fatalities. Distracted drivers are also a rising cause of concern. Those who speed still cause more crash deaths than any other negligent driver.
- Pedestrian and bicycle accidents – nearly every pedestrian and bicycle accident results in an injury, and these vulnerable roadway users are much more likely to be killed than anyone else in or around the road.
- Medical mistakes – medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the US, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins. These mistakes occur in various ways, including medication errors, misdiagnosis, failure to treat, missed diagnosis, surgical errors, healthcare-acquired infections, and more.
- Faulty products – there are countless numbers of recalls each year in the US. Faulty products can cause serious injuries and even death. Products become dangerous for consumers due to flawed designs, manufacturing errors, and problems with their labels.
- Premises liability – when property owners fail to ensure their premises are safe for invitees and licensees, they could create hazardous and fatal conditions.
- Nursing home neglect and abuse – it is unfortunate that our elderly or disabled loved ones have to worry about nursing home staff not performing their duties. Neglect and abuse can be fatal in a nursing home.
- Workplace incidents – we know there were 5,147 workplace fatalities during the latest reporting year according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Many of these deaths can be attributed to negligent third-parties in the workplace.
Who can file a wrongful death case?
In California, the following people can file a wrongful death lawsuit after the loss of a loved one:
- The surviving spouse of the deceased
- The domestic partner of the deceased
- The surviving children of the deceased
- Anyone entitled to the property of the decedent if there is no surviving person in the deceased’s line of descent. This could be the deceased’s parents, siblings, or another dependent.
What kind of compensation is available in a wrongful death case?
There are various types of compensation a person may be entitled to in a wrongful death case. This could include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Cost of pre-death medical care
- Loss of future income and benefits of the deceased
- Mental anguish damages
- Loss of consortium or companionship damages
- Punitive damages against those responsible
Please keep in mind that the statute of limitations to file a wrongful death claim in California is two years from the date of the person’s death. Failing to file a claim in this timeline will likely result in a dismissal of the case.