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By John Kristensen of Kristensen Weisberg, LLP posted in Wrongful Death on Thursday, February 22, 2018.
Evidence Heard in Wrongful Death Lawsuit Re: Mystery Mansion Death

When Rebecca Zahau was found hanged at her boyfriend’s home in July 2011, the initial assumption may have been that it was an act of suicide, however, her family have filed a wrongful death lawsuit, claiming that Zahau was strangled before her body was staged to appear as though she had hanged herself. The case was initially classified as a suicide by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, but was reopened in 2013 when evidence came to light, suggesting that it would have been impossible for the victim to carry out the hanging by herself. It is also believed to be relevant that Ms. Zahau’s death occurred mere days after her boyfriend’s son died in an accident at the same home.

The Case for the Wrongful Death of Rebecca Zahau

According to a 911 call made by Adam Schacknai at the time of the incident, he had returned to the mansion, owned by Rebecca’s boyfriend, his brother Jonah Schacknai, and found MS Zahau hanged over the balcony. Schacknai then claimed to have cut her down, removed a gag, and performed CPR. However, attorneys representing the family of MS Zahau have highlighted a lack of fingerprints or DNA belonging to Schacknai as evidence that the scene was tampered with.

The wrongful death lawsuit also states that other aspects of the scene do not match with MS Zahau having committed suicide. Firstly, a message painted on the wall nearby was likely to have been painted by somebody much taller than Zahau, but of a similar height to Schacknai. Secondly, it is alleged that Zahau would have been at least partially decapitated, had she hanged herself as suggested by the scene presented to law enforcement officials. The attorneys also claim that it would have been impossible for the victim to get herself into the position in which she was, apparently, found.

The wrongful death lawsuit is currently ongoing.

Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Los Angeles

Losing a loved one is always an incredibly painful experience, and can be made even more unbearable when you know that someone else’s negligence or willful behavior contributed to their death. You’re facing life without one of the most special people you had and, alongside that, must learn to survive without their earnings, while covering medical bills, funeral expenses and various other costs. Under California law, if you belong to a certain category of relative, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death suit to recover damages and compensation.
The grounds on which you may file a wrongful death suit in Los Angeles include:

  • Negligence, where the death was caused by another person’s careless or reckless actions
  • Breach of duty, such as a surgical error, or a driver failing to stop at an intersection

You will need to prove that these actions caused the death of your loved one, not simply that they happened. Finally, you’ll need to provide conclusive evidence of financial losses and damages incurred by you as a direct result of your loved one’s tragic death.

While you are grieving for the untimely loss of a loved one, you don’t need the extra burden presented by trying to build a wrongful death case alone. Through securing legal representation from a Los Angeles wrongful death attorney, you could maximize the damages you recover, not to mention sharing the burden of building and presenting the lawsuit.

To find out more about how a Los Angeles wrongful death attorney could work on your behalf, call us today on 310-984-1297.