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Wrongful Death Claims: Frequently Asked Questions

What is a wrongful death claim?

What is a Wrongful Death Claim? Every region has its individual laws regarding wrongful death claims. Wrongful death claims seek to establish a civil form of responsibility for an individual’s death when the death stems from the negligent acts of another person or company.

The following are a few of the most frequently asked questions (and their respective answers) in regard to wrongful death claims.

A wrongful death claim is a civil claim. This claim is filed against an alleged culpable party who will need to respond to the accusation of being legally responsible for causing someone’s death. A person, government entity, or a corporation can be held liable for a person’s death if at least one of the following factors is found to be true:

  • It is demonstrated that the careless act resulted in the victim’s death
    • ○ A common example of this is reckless driving. A motorist who operates a vehicle while intoxicated might not have the intention to hurt other drivers or pedestrians but because he or she failed to drive safely, he or she will be held responsible for the victim’s death.
  • Evidence demonstrates that the ill-designed or defectively manufactured product caused or lead to a person’s death
    • ○ Defective products are constantly being produced and sold. While they may not all produce fatal injuries, some nonetheless do. An example of a defective product, which may cause a person’s death, can be a defective automobile brake. Without a properly designed brake, motorists driving at any speed can suffer devastating injuries.
  • There was an intentional act that contributed directly or indirectly to the victim’s death
    • ○ There are some acts that are made intentionally that can cause a person to be fatally injured. Some of these intentional acts can be by cause of an assault such as a blow to the head.

What determines a wrongful death lawsuit?

It is important to understand that every state will have a different set of laws that determine what incident can be considered for a wrongful death lawsuit. Different states will require different factors. Some of the most important laws to be mindful include, but are not limited to:

The allowable damages a victim’s family member or other legal representative can file a claim for

The deadline to file a claim in court

The people who are legally entitled to file a claim

There are many other details a claimant should be mindful. In order to ensure that a claim has the proper legal standing, consult with a qualified attorney who can provide the necessary guidance.

Is there a difference between a person being murdered and wrongful death?

Yes, there are numerous noteworthy differences between murder and a wrongful death. To begin, a criminal court will always handle a murder case.

When a murder is committed the state will file charges against the alleged perpetrator. In these criminal cases, only people can be held responsible. Further, in a murder, a prison sentence will likely be given to the perpetrator.

On the contrary, a wrongful death claim is filed in civil court. This civil claim is presented by the victim’s family member or legal representative against the alleged party that caused the victim’s death.

In the event that the accused entity was found responsible for the victim’s death, the victim’s party will be able to obtain only financial compensation for the grievances sustained.

How can an attorney help a wrongful death claim?

Qualified attorneys can help to present a solidified claim against the alleged party. An experienced attorney can support the claim by gathering necessary evidence, which includes eyewitness accounts, medical records, as well as other forms of evidence.

Further, a qualified attorney will ensure that the claim is filed under the appropriate time frame. Every region has an established statute of limitations that must be obeyed. An experienced attorney will be able to ensure that the claim is filed appropriately.

We are experienced California accident attorneys who can assist you if you have lost a loved one in California.

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