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Wrongful Death of an Unborn Child: A Complicated Civil Suit

Thursday, February 08, 2018

 

Wrongful death suits are a fairly common recourse for those who lose a loved one to an accident that should never have happened in the first place. Even if what happened was not illegal in the criminal sense, you still lost someone important to you, and there should be recompense for that. It's hard enough when the loss is a partner or a parent, but when it's a child that loss can be devastating. Even worse, perhaps, is the loss of an unborn child. Worse, that kind of wrongful death is rarely the kind of open and shut case a parent may be expecting. Which is why if you're planning on pursuing a suit for the wrongful death of an unborn child, you should know what you're getting into.

los angeles wrongful death lawyer

The Basics of Wrongful Death

According to The Free Legal Dictionary, the idea of a wrongful death suit is pretty straightforward. It is defined as, "the taking of the life of an individual resulting from the willful or negligent act of another person or persons."

That might sound complicated, but in legal terms, it's actually quite simple. In order for a suit like this to be brought, someone has to die, and that death has to be the direct result of another person's (or persons') willful act or negligence. So, for example, if someone gets behind the wheel, and then an axle breaks, resulting in a car accident that causes a death, that was not a deliberate action by the driver. It was a technical malfunction that led to an unfortunate result. In another scenario, though, say the car was in perfect working order, but the driver was impaired. Perhaps he was too tired to operate his vehicle effectively, or he was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Because he chose to get into the vehicle, and the accident was a result of that impairment, that means the resulting death could be considered a wrongful death.

Life is rarely so straightforward, though. Determining the wrongful death of an independent person, child or adult, is hard enough. When we try to determine the wrongful death of an unborn child, though, things get complicated.

Wrongful Death of an Unborn Child

In order for a wrongful death suit to have any chance of success, there has to be a clear line drawn between the incident in question, and the resulting death. Take the impaired driving example above. If there was a child in a car seat, and that child died as a result of the accident, that would be a clear case for a wrongful death suit. The child was just fine before the accident, caused by the deliberate actions of another person.

When we start bringing in unborn children, though, a slew of other factors get involved in the case. First and foremost is the question of whether or not an unborn child is a person in the eyes of the law. This will vary from state to state, and it's important to review the jurisdiction where the incident occurred. According to the Sacramento Injury Attorneys Blog, 40 states currently have laws that recognize an unborn child in the case of a wrongful death lawsuit, but each law has its own specifics that must be met in order for the case to be considered valid.

The next difficulty is proving that it was this particular act which led to the unborn child's death. This is significantly more complicated because there are dozens of factors that can lead to the premature termination of a pregnancy, and all of them have to be discounted in order to prove the incident was the cause. This can be particularly difficult if the unborn child's status at the time of the incident wasn't known, and there's no one who can testify as to whether the fetus was healthy, or if there were problems that could have contributed to the death.

A Difficult, But Not Always Impossible Case

Bringing a wrongful death suit is hard, and bringing one for the wrongful death of an unborn child can be even harder. However, just because a case is complex, or difficult to win, does not mean that it's impossible. It simply means that you need to adjust your expectations and look at the facts before you. Something which is not always easy to do, particularly when grieving for a loss like an unborn child.

If you are considering bringing a wrongful death suit for an unborn child, it's important to collect all of the information surrounding the incident. You need to have the details of what happened, who was responsible, and you need to have your unborn child's status confirmed. Most importantly, though, you need to present your case to a lawyer with experience in bringing these kinds of suits who can advise you on your chances. This can be particularly important if you need to bring this kind of suit in one of the states where the wrongful death of an unborn child either isn't recognized or will be extremely difficult to bring before the court.

Losing an unborn child can be a traumatizing experience, and if there is a way for you to be compensated for that, you should be. If you need assistance finding your way through these troubled waters, all you have to do is contact us today to speak with one of our experienced legal professionals.


Can Non-Family File a Wrongful Death Claim in California?

Thursday, January 18, 2018

In most cases of wrongful death, it is the family that is left behind that will pursue justice for their death in the form of a wrongful death suit. However, not everyone is fortunate enough to have a family. Sometimes, they may even outlive all of their family members. However, when someone suffers a wrongful death and they have no living family, is there anyone that can pursue justice for them?

Who Can Pursue a Wrongful Death Case?

In California, there is actually quite the long list of people that can pursue a wrongful death case after the death of a loved one. This includes the obvious heirs such as spouses, children, parents, as well as domestic partners. This goes further to include anyone that was dependent on the deceased at the time of death including putative spouses, stepchildren, or anyone that depended financially on them.

However, in most of these cases, these heirs are related by marriage if not by blood. Yet, what if they had no one like that in their life? The truth is a wrongful death case can be pursued if you are a distant relative or someone completely non-blood related that stood to inherit from their estate after death due to the wishes outlined in their will.

Pursuing Wrongful Death as a Non-Blood Relative

If the deceased passed away with no family to pursue a wrongful death case, those who stood to inherit from their estate can press their estate representative to pursue a wrongful death case. In these situations, any winnings from a wrongful death suit will go into the estate of the deceased and split among their heirs.

This does mean that if you are an heir and was the only one who was pushing for a wrongful death suit, you will only inherit a portion of the monetary winnings from the suit. The other heirs, no matter how indifferent they were, will still also get a split as the entire sum goes into their estate and will be divided evenly during the probate process.

What if there are Multiple Eligible Parties Seeking a Wrongful Death Suit?

Suppose that not only you, but other inheritors are interested in pressing a wrongful death suit for the deceased. If there is no living spouse, children, or parents, then all non-related interested parties can still pursue the claim, but they will all be lumped together through the estate representative. Again, the proceeds will also be evenly split regarded of their interest in pursuing a wrongful death claim.

It is the same for two different eligible blood-related parties. The claims will be lumped together as one case and all interested parties will be added on as plaintiffs to the singular case. However, if the disagreement is had between two eligible parties, two separate cases can be pursued. It is, unfortunately, not the same between interested non-related parties as they still just go through the estate representative.

Need Legal Help?

As you can tell, if you are not related to the deceased, but believe they were the victim of wrongful death, pursuing a case for them isn't going to be easy and isn't going to be as valuable. However, you will still get them justice and by winning you strike a great victory for their remaining heirs. If you believe the owner of the estate from which you are inheriting from in Los Angeles was the victim of wrongful death, contact us today to see what we can do for you. While the case will ultimately go through the estate representative, we can still help you discover its validity and strength beforehand.

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 responsiblecontact 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.



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