A wrongful death case is a type of legal case that can be filed by the heirs of a person who was killed by another’s reckless or illegal actions. Under law, wrongful death cases are to provide compensation for family members who were left behind after a death. The laws are also intended to motivate people to use care when dealing with others. Some typical examples of behaviors that lead to wrongful death cases include intentional crimes, criminal attacks, or drunk or reckless driving.
Wrongful death laws are different in each state, and they determine who can sue for wrongful death. In California, there are very specific, detailed and complex rules about who can sue for wrongful death. There are also three different time limits on how long you have to file a wrongful death lawsuit in California. If you think you have a potential wrongful death lawsuit, you should call an attorney.
In California, in order to prove that a person is legally liable for wrongful death, you must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant is responsible for the death. In a criminal case, the standard of proof is “beyond a reasonable doubt”. Therefore, it is much easier to prove a wrongful death case than to prove a criminal case. In some cases, if a person is found not guilty for a wrongful death in a criminal trial, such as in the O.J. Simpson case, the family members of the deceased will bring a wrongful death case in order to obtain justice against the person they believed committed the murder.
In order to win a wrongful death case the plaintiff must show that the defendant’s actions were the proximate cause of the deceased’s death. Wrongful death cases can include compensatory damages, which are intended to compensate for the loss and could include money for medical expenses, funeral expenses, and economic support. In some wrongful death cases, the survivors can also obtain money for loss of companionship. Punitive damages are also awarded in some cases. Punitive damages are typically only awarded when the defendant’s actions are extremely reckless or horrible. A jury typically decides the amount of punitive damages, and they are divided by statute.
Calculating the amount of wrongful death damages can be dependent on a lot of variables. The deceased’s earning capacity, as well as his or her family situation, will all come into play when calculating wrongful death damages Generally, a jury or judge will also take into account the general health of the deceased, and his or her life expectancy.. For example, the survivors of an 88 year old who was retired who was killed by a reckless driver would probably be awarded less than the survivors of a 35 year old man with a wife and two young children.
At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes that the loved ones of a person who was wrongfully killed should exercise their legal rights to compensation against the wrongdoer. If your loved one has been killed because of another party’s wrongful actions, you should seek compensation. Call Micha Star Liberty of Liberty Law at 510-645-1000 or 415-896-1000. She works with clients in the Oakland area, including San Francisco, Hayward, Fairfield, Tracy, and Berkeley. Call her today to learn more. Time limits apply, so don’t wait too long to pursue your case.