After losing a loved one, you may be wondering whether you can file a wrongful death lawsuit against someone you feel is responsible for their death. In California, any person or company whose negligence causes a person’s death can be found liable.
Let’s take a closer look at what this might mean for your situation. Of course, you’ll need to talk to a wrongful death lawyer to discuss specifics, but here are some general guidelines to help you understand California wrongful death law.
Someone Could Be Liable for Your Loved One’s Death
There are many situations where someone might cause or contribute to a person’s death. At Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we primarily handle traffic-related wrongful deaths from vehicle accidents.
Did your loved one die in a Los Angeles freeway accident? Were they killed by a reckless delivery driver on the busy streets of San Francisco? These are the kinds of tragic cases where desperate people come to us hoping to get to the bottom of what happened and secure much-needed compensation for funeral costs, car repairs, and extensive damage to their lives.
A client might come to us feeling suspicious that the driver who hit and killed their spouse was distracted at the time of the crash. But without a personal injury lawyer’s help, it’s a suspicion that can be hard to prove – especially while you’re already dealing with the emotional and financial fallout of losing a loved one.
In a situation like this, we provide essential assistance with digging up evidence of what was happening during and before the accident. There are many paths to accomplishing this, including locating nearby security cameras, finding dashboard cam footage, interviewing witnesses, reviewing public records, talking to experts, and even scanning social media.
For example, perhaps the person was recording a Tik Tok video in their car moments before the crash happened. We might be able to locate a crucial video that shows their attention was on their phone instead of the road, which caused them to hit and kill your loved one.
This could be enormously valuable to your case and may allow you to pursue a high-value settlement from the other person’s insurance company. Or if there’s an issue with the insurance, you may be able to sue them personally and win a valuable judgment.
Could a Company Share Some of the Blame?
It’s also important to look at whether an organization, rather than a person, may hold some or all of the blame for your loved one’s death. Maybe the auto manufacturer installed a defective safety feature or the auto repair shop installed their tires improperly.
Here in California, Uber and Lyft are sometimes responsible for deaths when their drivers cause fatal accidents. So if an Uber driver hit your loved one while driving a passenger, you may be able to sue Uber for wrongful death damages.
Of course, getting a big company like Uber and their insurance company to actually pay the amount you deserve can be extremely challenging. They may use a tactic like questioning your legal standing to make a wrongful death claim or pressuring you to just back down and go away.
Under the California Wrongful Death Statute, legal proceedings can be initiated by the following people, plus others in certain circumstances.
- Surviving spouses
- Surviving domestic partners
- Surviving children
- Surviving dependents
If you’re not the proper person to start the claim, someone else in your family may be able to take action to make the claim on behalf of the deceased. Don’t give up simply because a company is being difficult about paying your claim.
California’s Conditions for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
To succeed in a California wrongful death case, certain circumstances must apply. First, the death must have been directly attributable to a certain individual or company. It doesn’t mean they meant to harm your loved one, but their action or inaction must have directly led to your loved one’s death.
In addition, you have to prove that you have suffered a quantifiable loss from the person’s death. Your loss can be defined in various ways, but be prepared to show proof that you lost things like:
- Financial support from your loved one’s work
- Physical support, like help around the house
- Emotional support, love, affection, and comfort
- Loss of consortium, which involves spousal intimacy
- Additional damages may be recovered in a California survival action, but ask your wrongful death lawyer about whether bringing a survival action makes sense in your situation.
You’ll also need to provide evidence that backs up your claim against the person or company you believe is responsible. That evidence can include things like photos, videos, debris from the accident scene, documentation, public records, medical reports, and eyewitness testimony.
As you can see, there’s a lot involved with filing a wrongful death lawsuit, but a personal injury lawyer can give you a good shot at a high-value outcome. That comes as a relief during a difficult time in your life.
At Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we have a strong reputation for helping California people succeed in wrongful death lawsuits. Contact us for an initial consultation, and you’ll find that we genuinely care about handling your difficult case with skill and care.
We Handle Your Accident Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life
After a wrongful death, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many types of personal injury claims, including wrongful death lawsuits. We believe you should be able to focus on coping with this challenging situation while we handle the legal details.
We truly care about the people of California. Contact us today for a free online case evaluation.
Who can I file a wrongful death case against? Is any person or company whose negligence caused the death of your loved one. So that could be a motorist who was speeding or a drunk driver, or just anyone who caused an accident on the road, and that accident resulted in the death of your loved one. Or if that person was employed at the time and working for a company, that company then can be held liable. So for instance, if an Uber driver hit your loved one and caused them death, then you could sue Uber, and that’s who would be responsible for your wrongful death damages.