Wrongful Death in California
When a person’s loved one or family member dies (not due to natural causes, but rather because of someone else’s actions) they can seek justice through the criminal justice system, but they can also move forward with a lawsuit under the civil procedure. Such a lawsuit is one for wrongful death, and this piece will provide a brief summary of some of the salient points. A wrongful death lawsuit is intricate; therefore, those considering one should speak with an experienced attorney.
Overview of the Lawsuit
A wrongful death lawsuit falls under personal injury and has a different burden of proof than proving someone’s guilt or innocence in a criminal trial. The civil lawsuit cannot be brought forward by just anybody. The party filing the claim must either be a spouse, child, domestic partner, or grandchild – essentially, they must be family.
Wrongful death can result from an intentional and premediated attack to acts like negligence or recklessness. Therefore, a murder or manslaughter case that is going through the criminal system can also be subject to a civil lawsuit. Deaths that were a result of negligence include instances like medical malpractice where the medical professional was negligent.
The point of a wrongful death lawsuit is to recover damages. These damages are to act as a form of financial support to the deceased’s family members. Financial support comes from economic, compensatory damages. On the other hand, the family members can also receive non-economic damages as compensation as well.