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By John Kristensen of Kristensen, LLP posted in Wrongful Death on Friday, October 6, 2017.
What You Need to Know About Wrongful Death

The loss of a family member or a loved one is always devastating.  But it is especially difficult when it happens to a person who is the head of a household. Not only must family members deal with the emotional pain, they will also have to deal with tremendous financial hardships brought on by the loss of income to pay for routine expenses along with car payments, the rent or mortgage. While nothing can bring your loved-one back, you and your family may be entitled to receive compensation if the death was caused by the negligence of others. These types of personal injury lawsuits are known as wrongful death.

How to Prove Wrongful Death in California

Proving wrongful death is not always easy. The first step is to consult with an experienced and knowledgeable Los Angeles personal injury attorney with a track record of looking after the best interests of each client. During the consultation, it is important to address all of your questions and concerns. To successfully recover wrongful death compensation, there are four important factors that need to be covered.

  • Negligence:  Unfortunately, simply losing a family member does not automatically qualify for someone to recover wrongful death compensation. You must prove the death was caused by the negligence of others. The plaintiff would have to provide evidence the death was caused by the defendant’s reckless and careless actions.
  • Breach of Duty:  The plaintiff will need to establish the victim’s death occurred due to defendant’s failure to obey rules or laws. For example, a surgical error by doctor, nurse or medical technician or a driver’s failure to stop at a red light can result in the death of the victim. In a California wrongful death case, it must be proven the defendant had a duty to maintain the safety of the victim.
  • Causation:  Once duty is established, the plaintiff will then have to provide evidence the defendant’s breach of duty caused the victim’s death due to negligence.
  • Damages:  Finally, the plaintiff must prove the defendant’s action resulted in tangible damages, such as hospitalization and medical expenses, the loss of income, the loss of potential earnings, the loss of guidance, protection and inheritance, pain and suffering along with funeral and burial costs.

Although each wrongful case is different, these four factors must be proven by the plaintiff to have the best chance for a favorable outcome. Keep in mind wrongful death in California is a civil case, not a criminal case, meaning the burden of proof is low. The key to winning this type of case is through the preponderance of evidence as opposed to proving reasonable doubt.

Have You Lost a Family Member or Loved One Due to the Negligence of Others? The Los Angeles Wrongful Death Attorneys at Kristensen LLP Can Help

Unlike most personal injury lawsuits, wrongful death victims cannot speak on their behalf. It is up to surviving family members to stand up for their rights and for the rights of their loved one. The Los Angeles personal injury legal team at Kristensen, LLP understands the challenges and obstacles facing many of their clients. They utilize a comprehensive and compassionate approach to help place each client in the best position to succeed. If you or someone you know has lost a family member due to the negligence of others, contact the Los Angeles law offices of Kristensen LLP and schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case.