Nothing is more devastating than losing a loved one to negligent or intentional harm that results in death. Family members, consumed by grief, shock and disbelief, also face financial difficulties caused by the loved one’s passing. During this traumatic situation, some are trying to decide whether they should file a wrongful death lawsuit to ease the monetary cost of funeral and burial expenses and provide for the family without the support ordinarily given by the deceased.
To get started on your important case, call LA wrongful death attorney David Azizi 24/7 at (800) 991-5292 to get a free case evaluation.
A Wrongful Death Lawyer in Los Angeles Can Help
Talking to a wrongful death attorney in Los Angeles can be beneficial if your loved one died due to a negligent situation. He or she can tell you if you and other family members are eligible to file and offer insight into the filing process. After carefully reviewing the case and determining the loss the family can recover, the attorney will build a strong case to file in civil court.
The Essential Elements of a Wrongful Death
As you will learn, there are four essential elements of a wrongful death lawsuit. Family members must prove each element to recover compensation for the monetary loss they suffered due to their loved one’s death. The essential elements are:
- Duty of care: The family members must show that the defendant (the person or entity who caused the wrongful death) owed a duty of care to the deceased. An example of this varies depending on the cause of the injury and subsequent death. For example, the burden of care one driver owes another is to obey the rules of the road. A doctor owes his or her patients the best care they can provide that falls within the accepted standards.
- The duty of care is breached: The family must now show that despite their duty of care to the deceased, the defendant acted recklessly or carelessly and breached their obligation to the decedent. This behavior could take the form of not obeying the rules of the road, not providing proper medical care or intentionally harming another.
- Causation: This means that the defendant by acting in a negligent or intentionally harmful manner, caused the decedent’s death. The family must show a direct correlation between the at-fault party’s actions and the person’s death.
- Damages: Finally, the family must provide proof that they incurred specific monetary damages due to their loved one’s death.
Damages in a Wrongful Death
The damages in a wrongful death lawsuit compensate the family for the financial loss due to their loved one’s death. While this will not ease their grief, it will help relieve the stress they are feeling. The most common monetary damages are:
- Lost wages: The family can request compensation for the wages the deceased would have earned now and in the future had he or she lived. This category includes commissions, bonuses and other monies.
- Loss of benefits expected by the deceased
- Cost of medical bills
- Loss of inheritance in the future
- Loss of spousal companionship
- Loss of inheritance minors might have expected
- Loss of guidance afforded to family members by the deceased
- Funeral and burial expenses
The Burden of Proof in a Wrongful Death
The family is required to prove the elements of a wrongful death case by a standard called the preponderance of the evidence. Both the quality and credibility of the evidence is measured in wrongful death claims.
Who Brings a Claim Against a Defendant in a Wrongful Death?
Generally, a close family member will file the claim on behalf of themself and all immediate family members. In this situation, the family member is called the plaintiff. When a will exists, the executor will become the plaintiff, filing on behalf of the heirs.
The person or entity against whom the claim is filed is the defendant whose negligence or intentional acts caused the deceased’s demise.
How an Attorney Can Help Provide Proof in a Wrongful Death Case
Since the evidence’s quality and credibility are paramount in proving the elements of a wrongful death case, an attorney’s assistance is helpful. Some ways an attorney provides this essential service are:
- The attorney or his or her investigators study the accident to determine who was at fault and how it occurred. For instance, in a car accident, this is often done at the accident site.
- Video footage is an excellent way to prove liability. If the accident involved a motor vehicle crash, traffic surveillance cameras are a good source. Alternately, if the incident happened in a commercial establishment or even in a hospital, video cameras are plentiful and provide evidence in a wrongful death case.
- Witnesses are an excellent form of proof in any accident. From bystanders in a car crash to nurses in an operating room, witnesses provide an account of what transpired, leading to the person’s death.
- Official reports of the incident can record false facts or inaccuracies. By carefully reviewing them, the investigators can use this to substantiate the reason for the accident.
- Specific techniques such as accident reconstruction in the case of a car or motorcycle accident can provide useful information concerning liability.
Free Case Review With Wrongful Death Attorney David Azizi
David Azizi has successfully resolved many wrongful death cases in his 24 years as an attorney. He offers compassionate representation to a family who is suffering the loss of a loved one. He also uses data gleaned from a thorough and intense investigation. David successfully concludes 98 percent of his cases with a combination of diligence and legal acumen. Legal ranking firms, such as Super Lawyers, call David one of the top personal injury lawyers in Los Angeles.
Call David at (800) 991-5292, or reach out to hin online to schedule a free case review. This can be done using a virtual consult or in person. Let David handle the claim, and give yourself the time to deal with a monumental loss in your life.