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Who Can File for a Wrongful Death Claim?

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Losing a loved one is an emotional experience and a traumatic event that can change everything, especially if they were taken away long before their time in an accident. Furthermore, losing a loved one, especially if they are a primary earner of a household, can put a huge financial strain on the family and increase the stress for all parties involved. However, if your loved one was killed in an accident due to unsafe work condition or sheer negligence, then your family shouldn't have to shoulder the financial burden of putting them to rest and losing their income.

Wrongful death suits are the result of losing a loved one in an accident where someone died as a result instead of was just simply injured. This can include auto accidents, personal injury incidents, and on-the-job accidents, or the result of a dangerous or defective product. However, not everyone can file a wrongful death claim. In California, only a select few people are allowed to file a wrongful death claim.

In most cases, it is usually the surviving spouse or children of the deceased. However, in some cases where there are no children or surviving spouses, then a wrongful death claim can still be filed by a relative who would be entitled to property or assets through the estate. Finally, those who are financially dependent on the deceased, even if they are not related by blood, such as stepchildren, can also file by California state law.

If you have lost a loved one due to an accident or the sheer negligence of someone else, don't suffer in silence. Through a wrongful death suit, you can not only cover funerary expenses and final medical bills, but you may be able to get compensation to cover their loss of income as well. Contact us today to see what we can do to represent you.

How Doctors Working Longer Hours Could Lead to Wrongful Death

Thursday, September 28, 2017

When you go to the hospital for an injury or illness, you expect your medical professionals to not only be competent but knowledgeable as well. However, what you should also expect is for them to be well-rested so they can dedicate themselves fully to your care.

When a doctor works long hours, this can easily lead to fatigue. Think of how you feel after a long and busy workday by the end of that? Now double that and consider how bad that fatigue would be. However, even worse is that some hospitals are now further extending that period.

In the past, doctors could only work, at most, 16 hours per day before they needed to be relieved from their duty. However, now that period has been extended to 24 hours in some hospitals. The idea is that the less information has to be passed on between doctor to doctor leads to fewer errors in patient care. However, what they failed to consider is how this long work period can lead to fatigue. This mental and even physical fatigue, especially on busy days, can easily affect a doctor’s capability for making decisions. Of course, when a doctor makes bad decisions, it could mean that someone loses a life.

If your loved one has recently passed away and you think the hospital or doctors taking care of them were responsible, contact us today. Wrongful death is a serious accusation, but it happens more than everyone would like to believe. Don’t just let your loved one go without getting them justice first.

Understanding Duty Of Care In An Infant Wrongful Death Case

Thursday, May 18, 2017

When a new baby is born and a doctor may have caused their death, it is an emotionally devastating situation. Lawsuits for this kind of wrongful death case can be very difficult for parents to pursue on their own. This is particularly true if they don't understand the nature of the doctor's duty of care.

What Is Duty Of Care?

A physician that provides treatment to patients has what is known as a duty of care. This duty means they are responsible for ensuring that your infant doesn't suffer from any injury or death while they are being treated. It is a very serious legal responsibility.

Breach Of That Duty

In these cases, the doctor must have breached their duty in a serious way. The baby can't simply have died due to natural causes or circumstances beyond the doctor's care. For example, a newborn with a hole in their heart may die when being delivered. That is not the doctor's fault and they cannot be sued for it.

However, if the doctor had noticed the hole in the baby's heart in an ultrasound and failed to provide adequate care during delivery, they may be liable. Other instances include mistakes made during delivery, such as adding too much painkiller.

Defense Can Be Harsh

The defendant in these types of cases will typically try to prove they did nothing wrong or that the parent was at fault. These can be very devastating cases for a parent to pursue, particularly if they plan on doing it alone or don't understand the statute of limitations on the crime.

Unlike murder, there is a limited amount of time you can pursue this type of case. So please don't hesitate to contact us to get your case in order.


What to Do When Another Family Member Challenges a Wrongful Death Claim?

Thursday, March 23, 2017

If a loved one is killed in a work-related accident, that fatality classifies as wrongful death. While many don’t want to think of the financial aspect of it all, a common reality is that they depended on the deceased for a large portion of their income. In most states, a number of family members can file a wrongful death suit and get compensation to help make the financial transition of their loss a little easier. However, that family member must have been financially dependent on them.

However, what happens when there is more than one person in the family that was financially dependent on the deceased? Typically the settlement is awarded to the primary family member like the spouse or the surviving children. However, what happens if there was a secondary, like a parent, that was dependant on a portion of the income?

There is normally not more than one settlement. In most cases, the family members will split it to help with expenses, but the decision to do so is by choice rather than any responsibility to do so by the courts. However, if non-primary family members are part of the family that can be entitled to wrongful death settlements in your state, such as parents opposed to extended family like aunts or uncles, and can prove that they were financially dependent on the deceased, they do have some options.

If those two qualifications are met, they do have the right to challenge a settlement and the courts can force the primary family member to split it.

If you have suffered a wrongful death in the family and found a family member challenging your settlement or are looking to challenge the settlement of another, contact us. Wrongful death cases are hard enough as it is, we can help make getting your compensation a little easier.

What Damages Can You Seek for Wrongful Death?

Thursday, March 16, 2017

If someone you love has been killed in a fatal accident that is the fault of another person or entity, it can be a devastating time. Not only were they taken from you suddenly, but you likely don’t want to think of the financial vacuum that their loss has created in your life. However, if someone you loved was the victim of wrongful death, you can seek damages against them.

The damages available for wrongful death vary from state to state, but in California, the available recourse is quite liberal. When filing for wrongful death, you can seek monetary compensation to cover:

  • Funeral expenses

  • Medical bill coverage for the final injury

  • Lost income including lost potential income

One major factor that is missing is the ability to seek damages for grief and emotional distress. In wrongful death cases, typically this is not something you can go after.

Who Can Seek Wrongful Death Damages?

While the damages you can seek are a little more negotiable, there is a wide array of different family members that can file wrongful death lawsuits. However, while surviving spouses, child, parents, stepchildren, and putative spouses can bring about a wrongful death claim, they must first have had some monetary dependency on the deceased if they want to get full damages aside from the coverage of medical bills and funeral expenses.

If, for example, a parent sought wrongful death damages and did not have any financial help from the deceased, they would not be able to pursue loss of potential income. However, if they needed support from the deceased, like if they paid for a nursing home, then that would open up the path for loss of income damages.

Unfortunately, wrongful death cases are often long and stressful. If you are in the Los Angeles area and need representation, contact us today so that the Law Office of Freeman and Freeman can help take some of that stress away.



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From our offices in Woodland Hills, California, Freeman & Freeman, LLP, provides legal advice and representation for clients in communities throughout the state, including those in Burbank, Glendale, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, Tarzana, Santa Clarita, Agoura Hills, Reseda, Canoga Park, Chatsworth, Northridge, Granada Hills, Pacoima, Panorama City, North Hollywood, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Lancaster, Palmdale and Alhambra.