You have lost a loved one in an unexpected and traumatic way and wonder if there is anything you can do to seek justice. You may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit with the help of a personal injury lawyer.
How do you know if you have a case? Wrongful death does not apply to just anytime you lose a loved one. You can determine if you should seek legal action by understanding the definition and causes of wrongful death.
What does wrongful death mean?
Wrongful death occurs when another party's negligence or wrongful act (such as murder) was the reason for the death of your loved one. To have a claim, however, your family must also be suffering financially due to the victim's passing. The statute of limitations for seeking legal recourse in California is two years from the time of your loved one's death.
What are common causes of wrongful death?
While there are numerous ways to be negligent or act wrongfully, some are more common than others. These include:
- Medical malpractice: Sometimes, medical providers make fatal errors. They may misdiagnose or miss a diagnosis altogether. They may also make mistakes in treatment or offer substandard care.
- Motor vehicle accident: Did a drunk driver or drowsy trucker hit your loved one? Did an auto part fail to perform its function, including providing safety? Did the city not take care of poor road conditions, leading to the accident?
- Defective product: Defects in design, manufacturing or marketing can make products cause deadly harm. For example, a popular IKEA dresser has led to the deaths of eight toddlers (so far) because its instability makes it easy for kids to topple it over.
- Unsafe workplace: In some cases, death happens at the time of a workplace accident, such as a fall from a great height. Other times, it is the result of long years of exposure to toxic substances.
As these are not the only sources of wrongful death, it is best to consult an attorney to determine if you are eligible to seek compensation.