Wrongful death happens when somebody is killed because of another person or entity’s negligence or misconduct. Although there may be a criminal prosecution related to the fatality, a wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action that is separate and distinct from any criminal charges. The standard of proof is lower in a civil case than it is in a criminal case for murder or manslaughter – allowing for family and loved ones of the deceased to pursue civil action when criminal court may fail to obtain a conviction due to a number of possible issues.
A wrongful death claim can be filed by a decedent’s close relatives in the wake of their sudden death. A death is considered “wrongful” if one of the following is true:
- A victim is intentionally killed
- A victim dies due to medical malpractice
- A victim is killed in an accident involving negligence
- A victim who would otherwise have had a valid personal injury claim is killed due to the defendant’s actions
Those close to a victim, such as their spouse, children, or parents, may file a wrongful death claim against the negligent party to recover the following damages:
- The victim’s pain and suffering before their death
- The medical costs that the victim incurred as a result of the injury
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of care and nurturing that the victim would have provided
- Loss of love and companionship
- Loss of consortium (intimate relationship with spouse)
Wrongful Death by Car Crash
Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of unintentional injury and death in the United States, including California and the Inland Empire. Here are a few statistics from the California Office of Traffic Safety:
- In 2018, there were 3,563 fatalities in total
- In 2018, there were 1,069 fatalities involving alcohol impairment
- In 2018, there were 598 fatalities for vehicle passengers without a seat belt
- In 2018, there were 488 fatalities of motorcyclists
- (Source: https://www.ots.ca.gov/ots-and-traffic-safety/score-card/)
Considering a Wrongful Death Lawsuit? Harsh Law Is Here to Help
If someone close to you has passed away suddenly due to another’s negligence, it may feel overwhelming to take the steps necessary to hold responsible parties accountable. At Harsh Law, our California personal injury attorneys are here to do the heavy lifting.
We make it our mission to hold individuals and corporations responsible for their actions that led to an innocent person’s untimely death. Call Mark Harshbarger and the Harsh Law legal team at +1 (909) 793-6261 to discuss the details of your potential case.