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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.


What Classifies as Wrongful Death?

Thursday, January 05, 2017

When someone close to you dies, it always seems "wrong," but that doesn't mean that is classifies as wrongful death. If they slip away slowly after years of sickness, it is devastating, but it is not a wrongful death. However, when a loved one passes away, it is not always so cut and dry. If you believe that a death of a loved one classifies as wrongful death and thus entitles you to legal action to help cover their medical bills and funeral fees, there are three simple situations that are applicable for a wrongful death suit.

When the Victim is Intentionally Killed

If your loved one was the victim of a murder, that classifies as wrongful death. A good example of this is the case against OJ Simpson. Not only was he put on trial for murder, but also the wrongful death of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ronald Goldman. As the death was perceived as intentional, it was easy to classify.

When the Victim Dies Because of Medical Malpractice

If a doctor failed to diagnose a condition or they were careless in the level of care needed for a condition that resulted in death, not only can a malpractice suit be brought against them, but a wrongful death suit as well.

Car Accident Fatalities Caused By Negligence

If there is a car accident that resulted in the death of a loved one that was caused by the other driver's negligence, you can also bring a wrongful death suit against the offending driver.

While there are several other situations that can fall under wrongful death, you shouldn't have to research them on your own. If a loved one of yours has passed, you deserve time to grieve. Contact us today so that we can build your case while you spend time with your family.

Do You Have a Wrongful Death Claim?

Friday, April 22, 2016

Have you recently lost a loved one and wonder if you would be able to bring a wrongful Death lawsuit to court? California law statutes can be confusing at best. Let's start at the beginning, and we'll help you determine if you just might have a case.

What Is Wrongful Death?

When someone dies due to the negligence or wrongful act of another, a wrongful death has occurred. This is a civil matter, not a criminal one. It is actually possible to bring forth a wrongful death lawsuit alongside a criminal trial proceeding. These two actions would be totally separate cases.

Who Can File a Lawsuit?

Not everyone can file a claim under this statute. The law gives the following people the ability to bring a lawsuit.

  • The deceased's spouse or domestic partner
  • The deceased's children
  • If there is no one directly in line to inherit the deceased's estate, then anyone who is entitled to the estate by intestate succession may file. This could include the deceased's parents, siblings, etc.

In addition to those listed above, the following people may bring a claim if they can prove they were financially dependent on the deceased.

  • An ex-spouse and their children
  • The deceased's parents
  • Step-children

What Damages Are Available?

Keep in mind, this is a civil case, not criminal. Any damages awarded will be monetary in nature. Money can be awarded to cover the funeral and final expenses, as well as future income that the deceased would have earned had they lived to a normal age.

Family members may also be entitled to financial compensation for loss of love, household services, and even moral support.

If you believe that you may have a wrongful death claim, please contact us for a consultation. We can help you work through the process and get the compensation you deserve from the negligent party.


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Woodland Hills, CA 91367-7418

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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.