The death of a family member is devastating, and it is even harder to understand when that death occurred due to the negligence of an individual, governmental agency or company. Known as wrongful death, it occurs when someone is legally at fault for the death.
There are various causes of wrongful death claims, and families should understand who can file a claim and what damages are available.
Common causes of wrongful death claims
According to the Cupertino Times, most wrongful deaths occur due to accidents. Although these deaths can happen in a multitude of ways, there are some common reasons for them.
- Car accidents: Driving is not a right. If someone kills another person while driving distracted, driving under the influence or not following traffic laws, there may be a cause for a lawsuit.
- Workplace accidents: Employers have a responsibility to keep the workplace safe. Workplace accidents commonly occur on construction sites, mining locations and manufacturing plants.
- Product liability: The three types of liabilities include design defect, manufacturing defect and failure to warn about defects.
- Medical malpractice: Medical malpractice is a common occurrence, and it happens when health care providers are negligent in diagnosing, treating or prescribing medication to the decedent.
Wrongful death claims in California
FindLaw reports that a surviving spouse, child or domestic partner has up to two years after the fatality to file a claim. There must be proof that the death occurred due to an intent to cause harm or negligence and that there is monetary suffering among the family members because of the death. Damages may cover related medical bills, funeral expenses, future earnings and loss of companionship.