A wrongful death goes beyond affecting just the person who has passed away. Often, family members of the decedent suffer tremendously. Not only is it emotionally draining for family members of the deceased, but it is also a significant financial strain. Families are faced with arranging for a funeral and burial right away, which could add up to thousands of dollars.
In the long term, they may face the future of moving on without their loved one and not having the financial support of their loved one. In many cases, the decedent is the family's sole breadwinner or primary wage earner. Victims' families need
RECENT ANAHEIM WRONGFUL DEATH LAWSUITS
Recently, a jury awarded $13.2 million to the two children of a 32-year-old man who died from complications of asphyxia after a confrontation with Anaheim police officials in 2016. The calculation came barely two days after the jury also decided that the officers used unreasonable force and were negligent.
According to news reports, during the July 2, 2016 incident, officers used a stun gun and a restraint hold to subdue the man who was under the influence of methamphetamine.
The officers had initially been called to the area over the report of a suspicious man who had followed a woman to her home and then confronted the man at a laundromat. After the confrontation, the man was taken to a hospital where he suffered three heart attacks and died about a week later.
In another recent heartbreaking case, the parents of a toddler who fell to her death at an Anaheim hotel during a Disneyland vacation reached a wrongful death settlement. The lawsuit was filed against the hotel's owners and the property management company alleging that the negligence at the hotel resulted in the death of the 3-year-old girl.
The child fell from a fifth-story walkway in an indoor courtyard. The girl climbed over a balcony railing in an attempt to get to the rest of her family who were sitting downstairs in a courtyard. Her mother was in the shower. In their lawsuit, the family cited "dangerous, defective and unsafe" conditions at the hotel.
UNDERSTANDING WRONGFUL DEATH LAWSUITS
California law allows family members of the decedent or their personal representatives to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. Family members who can file wrongful death lawsuits include spouses, domestic partners, children, grandchildren, other minor children who were dependent on the decedent for at least half of their financial support and anyone who would be entitled to the decedent's property under California laws.
Survivors of victims can bring a wrongful death action for any type of claim based on negligence or wrongdoing. Examples of wrongful acts may include car accidents, pedestrian accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, swimming pool accidents, assault, murder or manslaughter, elder abuse, child abuse, and medical malpractice.
Family members or others may also be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit if their loved one was killed in a dog attack or as the result of defective products. In California, both of these types of incidents are covered under what is known as a "strict liability" statute. In a dog bite case, for example, the dog owner is financially responsible for the injuries, damages, and losses his or her pet causes.
COMPENSATION FOR VICTIMS' FAMILIES
When it comes to damages in wrongful death lawsuits, they are intended to provide monetary compensation to survivors for the value of the support they could have reasonably expected to the decedent had he or she lived. Such compensatory damages may cover both economic and non-economic losses.
Economic damages in wrongful death cases in Anaheim may include medical expenses incurred after the incident and prior to the victim's death; funeral and burial or cremation expenses; lost future income or the financial support the decedent might have contributed to the family during his or her lifetime; loss of benefits such as health insurance, pensions and stock options; reasonable value of household services the decedent might have provided such as childcare.
Noneconomic damages in wrongful death cases may include compensation for the love, companionship, protection, moral support, mentorship and care of the decedent; loss of consortium; and pain and suffering (suffered by the victim). There is no fixed standard for determining the amount of noneconomic damages in a California wrongful death case.
Typically, it is up to the jury to award an amount that is reasonable, based on the evidence that has been presented and common sense. However, non-economic damages may not include compensation for the survivors' grief or pain caused by the death of their loved one.
PROVING WRONGFUL DEATH IN ANAHEIM
In wrongful death cases, the plaintiffs have the burden of proving and to show evidence that the death occurred as a result of negligence or wrongdoing and was, therefore "wrongful." In California, plaintiffs must prove that the death was caused by another party's neglect or wrongful act. Wrongful death is a civil action.
You don't have to prove wrongful death "beyond a reasonable doubt," which the standard in a criminal murder or manslaughter case. Instead, plaintiffs have to show enough evidence that it is at least 51% likely that the death was wrongful. This type of burden of proof is known as "preponderance of the evidence." Wrongful death actions can take a long time, depending on the circumstances.
GET HELP FROM OUR TEAM
For more than three decades, the Anaheim wrongful death attorneys at Timothy J. Ryan & Associates have been devoted to representing the rights of families who have lost loved ones due to carelessness and negligence. Whether your loved one was harmed by a defective product or by the actions of a negligent driver, we are here to help you pursue justice and fair compensation for your losses and to hold the at-fault parties accountable.
Our lawyers are not only knowledgeable and experienced but also compassionate and dedicated to their clients' best interests. If you have lost a loved one due to someone else's negligence or wrongdoing or as the result of a defective product, please call us at 1-800-838-6644 for a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation.