An Overview Of Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Posted: Oct 15, 2018
If a person dies or gets killed due to the misconduct or negligence of another, the survivors can file a "wrongful death" lawsuit. The wrongful death lawsuit seeks compensation for loss (like lost companionship, lost wages from the decedent and medical and funeral expenses), for the survivors.
A survivor may sue for wrongful death claim when their loved one dies as a result of another person’s legal fault. The statutes of limitation around wrongful death vary from one state to another; in California, the claim is two years from the date of the decedent’s passing. But there’s an exemption, called the "discovery rule" where the cause of the decedent’s death wasn’t apparent when they died, but was later discovered.
Who can sue for wrongful death?
The claim should be filed by a representative (like a wrongful death lawyer in Los Angeles)on behalf of the survivors – including children, the surviving immediate family members, spouse and even parents of a deceased fetus – who suffer damage from the death.
Who can be sued for wrongful death?
Wrongful death claims can be filed against different people, companies, employees and government agencies. For instance, in a car accident involving a drunk driver and a faulty roadway, a wrongful death lawsuit might include defendants like:
The builder or designer of the defective roadway
The employer or driver at fault in the car accident
A government agent who didn’t offer enough warnings around a road hazard that resulted in the crash
The distributor, installer or manufacturer of a dangerous or faulty part of the car
The premise owner where the alcohol was served
The person/bartender who sold gave or served alcohol to the drunk driver
Immunity for government employees or agencies
In some instances, certain agencies or persons may have immunity to wrongful death claims, meaning they cannot be sued for such actions. Persons who are entitled to such wrongful death immunity vary from state to state. Recent federal laws offer immunity from wrongful death lawsuits to perpetrators in railroad crash and specific product liability claims involving medical devices. Also, according to the Mutual Pharmaceutical Co. Inc. v. Bartlett case, manufactures of generic drugs cannot be held accountable in wrongful death claim with the basis of purported "unreasonably dangerous" drug nature because the FDA certified the original name brand medication and its labeling.
Wrongful death damages
A financial or pecuniary injury is the greatest measure of damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. Pecuniary injuries may include the lost prospect of inheritance, loss of services, support, and medical and funeral costs. In most states, the damages awarded for the lawsuit have to be fair compensation for pecuniary injuries that occurred due to the death. If the survivors took care of the medical and funeral expenses, they might also be compensated for those expenses.
Hiring a wrongful death attorney
As with many cases, most wrongful death lawsuits are settled out of court. Attorneys often negotiate better plea bargain than the plaintiff could get on their own. However, it is essential for one to get a qualified lawyer with experience in such processes. It would be an added advantage if the lawyers were well versed with employment law too. Top employment attorneys in Los Angeles CA will help one recover for the lost current and future wages of the decedent.