One of the hardest things to endure is the death of a spouse or family member. The loss of life is always tragic, but when that loss is caused by someone’s wrongful or negligent conduct, it’s even more difficult to bear. No amount of money can ease the pain of losing someone close to you. But our legal system affords you the right to seek justice against those whose actions caused your loved one’s death, through a wrongful death claim.
Under California law, a wrongful death is the death of a person caused by the intentional, reckless, or negligent acts of another party. Although the party who caused the victim’s death may be subject to criminal prosecution and penalties, a wrongful death lawsuit is different than a criminal proceeding. First, wrongful death civil claims are governed by a lower standard of proof. In a criminal case, the prosecutor must prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a difficult standard to meet. But in a wrongful death lawsuit, the plaintiff—the party initiating the lawsuit, typically the victim’s spouse, child, or other close relative—needs to prove the defendant’s guilt only by a preponderance of the evidence. This is a lower standard of proof than the standard used in criminal cases. It only requires the plaintiff to demonstrate to the court that there is a greater than 50% chance that the defendant’s negligent conduct caused the victim’s death. Second, whereas the goal of a criminal case is to impose criminal penalties on the defendant, like imprisonment, the purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is to obtain monetary compensation for the victim’s family.
This right to compensation is crucial, because the death of a spouse or close relative can cause unexpected economic hardships. The loss of the victim’s income and exorbitant medical and funeral expenses can prove financially devastating for some families, which may result in even more emotional distress. At Torero Law, we know that nothing case erase the pain and anguish that comes from losing a loved one. But we can still help you seek justice for the victim and hold the wrongdoer accountable for his or her actions in court.
Common Wrongful Death Incidents
While there are many different types of negligent acts or omissions that can result in a wrongful death, here are the most common types of incidents:
- Motor vehicle accidents: A wrongful death claim may arise where a motorist drove negligently or recklessly and thereby collided into a pedestrian or vehicle and caused the victim’s death.
- Unsafe or hazardous conditions in the workplace: A wrongful death claim may be brought where an employee dies because of unsafe conditions at the workplace.
- Defective products: The victim may have died through use of a defective product.
- Intentional acts: Willful or deliberate acts—like shootings, stabbings, or other violent incidents—can lead to death and support a wrongful death action against both the person who committed the violent act and any third-parties who may have had a duty to protect the victim from harm (like a business owner if the death occurred inside a commercial establishment, like a store or bar).
- Harmful medication or medical malpractice: If the physician is careless or negligent in treating a patient, and the patient dies, the patient’s family may be able to bring a wrongful death action. A wrongful death claim may also exist where the patient’s medication caused the patient’s death.
Our legal system is designed to hold wrongdoers accountable for their actions. At Torero Law, our mission is to secure justice and compensation for families who have lost a loved one, protect them from financial peril, and bring them a measure of security and solace during an extremely difficult time.
Compensation in a Wrongful Death Action
In a wrongful death lawsuit, as the victim’s spouse or close relative, you may be entitled to compensation for your loss. This compensation may include reimbursement for medical and funeral expenses, loss of companionship, comfort, and support, loss of the victim’s anticipated future income, and pain and suffering damages. In some cases, the plaintiff may also recover punitive damages against the defendant—money that is designed to punish the defendant and deter him or her from committing future wrongful acts. This compensation can help you and your family avert financial hardship or catastrophe following your loved one’s death.
We Can Seek Justice for You
Torero Law excels at pursuing and obtaining justice for the spouses and relatives of wrongful death victims and ensuring that wrongdoers are held accountable for their actions. If you believe that another party is responsible for your loved one’s death, either through their actions or failure to act, contact our office immediately so that we can vindicate your rights and seek justice on your behalf.
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