If a person is killed because of the wrongful conduct of a person or persons, the decedent’s heirs and other beneficiaries may file a wrongful death action against those responsible for the decedent’s death. This area of tort law is governed by statute. Wrongful death statutes vary from state to state, but in general they define who may sue for wrongful death and what, if any, limits may be applied to an award of damages.
While state “wrongful death statutes” were drafted independently of each other and are often unique, they all follow the same general principles. A wrongful death claim generally consists of four elements:
- The death was caused, in whole or part, by the conduct of the defendant.
- The defendant was negligent or strictly liable for the victim’s death.
- There is a surviving spouse, children, beneficiaries or dependents.
- Monetary damages have resulted from the victim’s death.
The statute of limitations in California is variable depending upon the nature of the action and the status of the plaintiff and the defendants. For instance, the general statute of limitations for an injury or death in California is two years from the date of death; yet in the case of a medical malpractice action, the statute of limitations may be as short as one year, and in a case against a government entity, any lawsuit must first be preceded by the filing of a government tort claim, for which there is a 180 day limitations period. Because the statute of limitations will be different depending upon the case and is often quite complex we recommend you contact an experienced wrongful death attorney at Grey Law today. Our attorneys have over 25 years of experience in wrongful death cases and can help determine the appropriate statute of limitations in your case. Call us today at 323-857-9500 for a free case evaluation.
Determining who is entitled to a wrongful death case can be difficult. In California, Code of Civil Procedure §377.60 identifies all of the persons who are proper parties to bring a wrongful death case. Proper parties include the decedent’s surviving spouse, domestic partner, children, and children of pre-deceased children. If there is no surviving children of the deceased, any persons, including the surviving spouse or domestic partner, who would otherwise be entitled to inherent the property of the deceased if he or she died without a will. Again, wrongful death cases are complex. Contact our office today to speak with an experienced Los Angeles wrongful death attorney.
Wrongful Death Statistics
- The U.S. Department of Justice has reported over the past several years that 90 percent of all lawsuits involving medical malpractice have involved a wrongful death or a permanent disability caused by negligence.
- In 2008, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported that the highway wrongful death count was at 37,261 nationwide.
- The CDC, reported that prescription drug deaths shot up 68 percent in a a five year period. Statistics show that prescription drug deaths were the second leading cause of unintentional deaths in the United States.
A wrongful death affects the entire family. The loss is devastating. Holding someone, a company, or an entity responsible for their carelessness helps to make your financial future less difficult and serves to deter future acts of negligence. The wrongful death attorneys at Grey Law will work to determine the lost potential your family member had. Our attorneys will work to place a monetary value on your loved ones life in order to ensure fair compensation. We have more than 25 years of experience handling personal injury and wrongful death cases for people in Los Angeles, California, and throughout the United States.