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Answers About Wrongful Death at The Hands of Police

Leading Wrongful Death Lawyers in Los Angeles

When you lose a loved one due to the negligent or unlawful actions of a police officer, you may not know where to turn or what to do next. When in doubt, reach out to a Los Angeles personal injury attorney who is well-versed in handling wrongful death cases. Especially cases involving the wrongful actions of police officers.

Establishing Wrongful Death
Cases involving law enforcement can be complex and are often not straightforward. Given the nature of the job, police officers make immediate decisions to protect civilians, as well as themselves in the heat of the moment. However, when those actions lead to an accidental death it can turn into a confusing situation.

To establish if your loved one’s death qualifies as wrongful death, a death lawyer in Los Angeles must review the details of your case. If the officer denied medical care or used excessive force, your lawyer will take that into account to decide if filing a lawsuit is best. Keep in mind wrongful death cases involving the police can be tried on a state or federal level depending on the nature of your case. It is usually filed in the city where the department is located.

Damages and Settlements
In the U.S. police violence is the leading cause of death for young men living in the U.S. Additionally, the risk of getting killed between the ages of 20 to 35-years-old is on the rise according to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). When a loved one was killed in an accident, surviving family members are tragically tasked with claiming monetary compensation for their loss in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Given the sensitivity of wrongful death claims, the defendant’s legal team may fight aggressively or settle immediately to avoid bad press. Damages and settlement amounts vary per case. According to the Washington Post, settlements vary between $7,500 to $8.5 million. On average plaintiffs receive around $1.2 million for damages in a personal injury case.

In a wrongful death case, the damages you can recover will vary slightly, as you are filing a claim on behalf of someone else. Damages are a type of monetary award for losing a loved one or getting injured. Economic damages compensate a plaintiff for out-of-pocket costs. Whereas non-economic damages are more subjective and do not directly correlate to financial loss.

Economic Damages

  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Previous medical bills
  • Lost wages

Non-Economic Damages

  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Pain and suffering

Jurisdiction: State or Federal?
Plaintiffs may file if an officer acted with malicious intent or engaged in careless behavior. For example, a claim might report an officer drove uncontrollably through a busy intersection in pursuit of a suspect, before fatally hitting a pedestrian on a crosswalk. In this case, both the officer and department are liable – even more so if your loved one suffered for a period before passing. Auto accidents can be fatal, regardless of the injury. Leading injuries with delayed symptoms that increase a victim’s chances of dying are traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, abdominal pain, and internal bleeding.

Wrongful Death Claims in State Court
Plaintiffs that are not claiming constitutional violations do not need to go to federal court for their claim. Wrongful death claims take place in state court for claims regarding negligence or intent to harm leading up to the victim’s death. As opposed to a civil rights violation, you should expect the court to primarily focus on how inattentive and careless acts resulted in death. A few questions that may be asked to the defendant’s lawyer in court are:

  • Was the officer justified? Were they fearing for his/her life?
  • Were the officer’s actions consistent with training?
  • Did the officer use excessive force in the situation, surpassing the amount of force necessary compared to another officer in a similar situation?

Although state claims for wrongful death claims by police are not common, it is still a plausible option for accidents in which you would need an injury lawyer in LA.

Statute of Limitations
Wrongful death claims must be filed within two years of when the accident occurred unless the cause of death was not clear upon their passing. The “discovery rule,” is an exception to the statute of limitations. If you become aware of the cause of passing on a later date, the court may grant an extension on the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit.

If applicable, the statute will be two years from the date the cause of death is established. For more information on some of the exceptions based on this ruling, reach out to a lawyer for wrongful death lawsuits.

We understand that any form of financial restitution cannot bring back a loved one. But as a parent, spouse, child, or sibling you deserve to hold the police officer(s) accountable through a wrongful death lawsuit. At Grey Law, we work tirelessly to help our clients navigate through complex cases – especially if it involves more than one jurisdiction. If you have any questions about a potential claim or were injured yourself schedule a consultation immediately.

Retain a Reliable Wrongful Death Lawyer from Grey Law
“When it comes to getting you more, I won’t settle for less.” – David Grey

When you or a loved one are injured due to negligence, carelessness, or wrongful acts of another person, David Grey is ready to help. Seeking compensation or negotiating with insurance companies can be stressful, especially while recovering. Let us do that for you. Our Los Angeles personal injury lawyers are well-versed in several practice areas:

  • Traffic Accidents
  • Premises Accidents
  • Personal Injuries
  • Product Liability
  • Nursing Home Abuse

Why do you need a lawyer for accident compensation? With thousands of lawyers in California, we understand it can be difficult to choose the right legal representation. We have 35+ years of experience and secured millions for our clients. From the time you retain our firm, we build your case. For a free case evaluation and consultation, reach out to us at (323) 857-9500 or email

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