Wrongful death is a legal name for one person causing the death of another. Any death leaves tragedy and trauma in its wake, and if the actions of another have caused that death, the pain is only compounded. That is why seeking the counsel of an experienced Los Angeles wrongful death attorney can be extremely helpful. The death could result from the action or inaction (negligence) of the other person. Wrongful death is classified as a civil action (one citizen suing another), rather than a criminal action (the state or government prosecuting a citizens or citizens). The decedent – the person who was killed – is unable to take legal action to seek damages, so the existing family members or representatives of the estate do. A wrongful death suit is intended to compensate family members for the suffering caused by the death. Damages can be estimated by calculating lost wages, benefits, loss of companionship, and emotional pain and suffering caused by the trauma.
The defendant in a wrongful death case can only be held responsible if the defendant’s actions (or inactions) can be proven to be the cause, rather than only a contributing factor, in the death, regardless of the amount of time between the actions and the death. It is imperative that the plaintiff proves the death would not have occurred if it weren’t for the defendant’s act (or lack thereof).
A civil court will also, depending on its state laws, decide comparative or contributory negligence. In Los Angeles, California, this means that the decedent may be found to have contributed to his/her own death, perhaps through neglecting medical care or taking unnecessary risks. These factors can affect damages awarded, but a Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer knows how to best receive the full damages owed.
Wrongful death damages are assessed for family members, as a compensation for their loss. These damages can be calculated in many ways, using a number of criteria including, perhaps most immediately, the medical and death expenses incurred by the decedent. Additionally factors include future earnings and benefits as well as less easily quantified factors, such as loss of companionship. Though calculating the emotional pain and suffering of survivors is extremely difficult and subjective, it cannot be overlooked when considering a wrongful death.
Finally, punitive damages may be awarded in a wrongful death suit. Punitive damages are intended to punish the person who caused the death, rather than to compensate for a loss. Punitive damages are usually only awarded in cases of intentional or grossly negligent action.
If you or someone you love is in need of legal assistance, call Sheridan & Rund at 310-640-1200, toll free at 888-640-6789, or contact us online. Our initial wrongful death consultation is absolutely free, and if our law firm agrees to handle your case, our Los Angeles wrongful death attorneys will work on a contingency fee basis, meaning we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary recovery of funds. You pay nothing out of pocket until our firm retrieves the compensation you deserve. It is imperative you contact our firm today because a lawsuit must be filed before the legal expiration date known as the statute of limitations. Please call Los Angeles attorneys Sheridan & Rund immediately to ensure you are rightfully compensated the money you deserve.