What Damages are Recoverable After a Wrongful Death
A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action claim that arises from the death of a victim and filed by his or her surviving estate. The lawsuit makes a claim that the deceased died as a result of negligence or intentional actions by the defendant. Each state abides by its own set of claims when it comes to wrongful death and personal injury claims. If you need to make a claim in Los Angeles, it is wise to consult with a wrongful death lawyer in Los Angeles. This lawyer will have in-depth knowledge of California state laws.
Wrongful Death California Statutes
California just like other states has its own set of statutes that apply in this jurisdiction.
Legal Heirs and Beneficiaries
For a wrongful death claim to be successful in Los Angeles and California at large, Los Angeles wrongful death attorneys must prove that the negligent actions of the defendant caused the death of the victim. To be awarded wrongful death settlements, the lawyer must also show the extent of the damages and suffering that the heirs will bear in the absence of the deceased.
There is also an order of precedence when it comes to awarding wrongful death settlements. The first persons in line include spouses and the children of the deceased. These people can share a claim, which means that the award can be a joint award. The next persons to be awarded include the deceased parents, the sibling, grandparents and the sibling's children. Under special circumstances, damages can also be awarded to non-family members who were beneficiaries of the deceased. While this is the order of precedence Los Angeles wrongful death attorneys can still argue your case to include other people or family members provided they can prove that the deceased was supporting them.
What Damages are Awarded in Wrongful Death Claims?
Wrongful death lawsuits differ, and considerations are made based on the circumstances at hand. Again, it all depends on the case presented by the personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles. Generally, the heirs and legal beneficiaries of the deceased may be awarded the following damages.
Funeral Costs and Medical Bills
In most instances, the deceased was receiving medical treatment before he or she passed on. The damages awarded should cover the medical bills incurred. This includes medication, cost of treatment, cost of being hospitalized, ambulance and any other medical expenses. These costs are a tremendous financial strain to an already grieving family. If you add funeral costs to the medical expenses, then it becomes even more overwhelming to the family.
Loss Of Income
This is one of the common economic damages that is awarded in wrongful death claims. If the deceased was the primary earner, the family is bound to suffer financially for the lack of an income stream. When calculating the loss of income, the court's factor in the income the deceased was earning, the cost of inflation, the victim's health, life expectancy, and other relevant factors.
Loss Of Benefits
A working adult is also entitled to certain benefits in addition to wages. These may include retirement benefits, pension places, and Social Security benefits. The courts will look at the probable financial total and award damages commensurate with this total.
Care Of a Child
Care of a child refers to costs such as housekeeping and other domestic services. This is mainly awarded in cases where the deceased is a stay at home parent. The courts recognize that taking care of a child has cost implications and awards damages to this effect. The court may pay for daycare services or the cost of hiring a nanny.
Pain and Suffering
Apart from financial damages the surviving family also suffers pain and suffering as a result of the loss--this includes emotional distress. The spouse and the children may need to attend a counseling session to deal with the grief. The courts are sensitive to the emotional distress that the death of a loved one causes. Pain and suffering is also awarded if a surviving family member witnessed the death of the deceased. It is best to work with a wrongful death lawyer in Los Angeles.
Get Help From Personal Injury Lawyer In Los Angeles
Wrongful death cases and personal injury cases, in general, are complicated in nature. Different states also apply different procedures in making claims, who can file for damages and the type of damages that can be awarded. A personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles will guide you through the complicated legal process. They will also fight to ensure that you receive full compensation based on the merits of the case. There is no settlement big enough to compensate for the life of a loved one. However, mourning the loss of someone you love while facing financial hardships is not something victims should have to go through. This is why it is in your best interest to let a lawyer fight for you as you heal and adjust.