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Personal Injury Blog

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.

Auto Racing Headlines Draw Attention to Whys and Wherefores of Wrongful Death

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Auto racing has long enjoyed a cherished place in American culture. And although events often end positively, there are times when fans have witnessed the makings of wrongful death suits. The tragic demise of Kevin Ward Jr. in the summer of 2014 is just one example of how a pleasurable day at the races may end badly. USA Today covered the progress of the Ward family’s ongoing case in early August 2015.

For those that did not see the case unfold, it traces back to a particular race wherein Mr. Ward met an untimely death. His death was the result of injuries sustained by a collision with another auto racer’s motor vehicle. After his death, surviving family members opted to file a wrongful death suit against the other auto racer. As the wrongful death case is still ongoing, it would be premature to postulate on who the victor may be after the jury trial ends.

The Ward v. Stewart case is not the only type of wrongful death litigation to occur at auto racing events. Keep in mind that many of these events are well-attended and that drivers may lose control of their vehicles at any time. As such, in decades past, there have been a number of wrongful death cases filed by fans against drivers and event promoters. A 2013 ESPN NASCAR post gave a great accounting of these types of accidents, noting some that had taken place as far back as the 1980s.

What the ESPN post didn’t touch upon is who ultimately assumed liability in those high-profile incidents. Wrongful deaths that take place at auto racing events, whether driver or fan based, have a history of going either way. Sometimes juries and judges assign full blame to one party. Other times, they may find no one at fault or share the blame with a great number of people. As such, liability should never be assumed in wrongful deaths that occur at public racing events.

Surviving family members of race fans, drivers and crew should stay quiet after their loved one’s death and obtain legal representation. State statutes vary widely on whom has legal standing after auto racing related deaths. However, most require the people with standing to present undisputable proof that another’s actions led to the victims’ untimely demise. What proof? Again, it fluctuates. For instance, let’s say that one driver hits another and causes fatalities to occur.

In some states, the driver may claim that the act of auto racing is inherently dangerous and therefore, he should not shoulder all of the blame. Other states may not recognize auto racing as inherently dangerous. As such, juries and judges may be willing to take a closer look at the driver’s actions before, during and after the fatal incident. Wrongful death attorneys will naturally be able to glance at the facts of such cases and quickly determine if there is cause to continue with litigation.

To have a wrongful death attorney review an auto racing related death with an eye towards litigation, please contact us today for an appointment.

Drowning Fatalities down, but Concerns Still Remain

Thursday, April 10, 2014

According to new federal data released just in time for the summer swimming season, the numbers of drowning fatalities across the country are down, except in some categories. According to the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overall drowning fatality rates have dropped by 9%. However, when it came to the 45-84 age category, fatalities actually increased by 9.7%.

Overall, the highest risk of fatality still involved children below the age of five, and adults above the age of 85. These are some of the most vulnerable categories when it comes to drowning fatalities, and the statistics in these categories are not encouraging. The findings involve data from between 1999 and 2010. During this period of time, there were more than 46,000 fatalities across the country from unintentional drowning, including people killed in boating accidents.

Over this period of time, the biggest increase in fatalities involved people between the age of 45 and 84. The category of people between the age of five and 19 was found to be the least likely to die in a drowning accident, probably because these persons in most cases had already learned how to swim. The risk seems to be the highest in children below the age of four, and the researchers believe that this is either due to lack of supervision, or due to lack of swimming skills. As the summer swimming season begins, parents must be on high alert.

The analysis does throw up some interesting facts. For instance, the researchers knew that they would find a much higher risk of fatalities over weekends, but they were not expecting the level of increased risk. The number of fatalities was roughly 40% higher on weekends, compared to weekdays. Females were much more likely to drown in a tub, pool or natural location, with an equal amount of risk in all these locations. However, males were much more likely to drown in a natural water setting, like a lake or pond.

Cell Phone-Related Accident Fatalities Involving Younger Persons Up

Monday, March 10, 2014

Distracted driving accidents involving cell phone use is killing more young people than ever before. According to new statistics released by the National Safety Council, however, car accidents are not the number one cause of accidental fatalities in the United States. More people now are killed from poisoning, especially those related to drug overdoses, than any other cause.

However, among younger people, cell phone-related distracted driving accidents are a major cause of fatalities. In fact, according to the statistics, auto accidents caused the highest number of fatal injuries involving younger persons, and cell phone-related distractions contributed significantly to those accidents.

When it came to senior citizens in the above-65 age category, fall accidents were the number one cause of fatal injuries. In fact, earlier studies have indicated that falls can actually increase mortality risks among senior citizens. A senior’s risk of dying increases dramatically in the one year after he has suffered a slip and fall. The report finds that there was an increase of 3.2% in the number of injury-related fatalities in 2012, compared to the previous year.

In recent years, poisonings especially those related to the over use, misuse and abuse of prescription runs, has dominated injury-related fatality data. Earlier, poisoning-related fatalities often involved children, who gained access to household chemical and solvents. However, somewhere in 1993, according to the National Safety Council, the number of people who died from accidental poisoning actually began increasing, and most of those deaths were related to the misuse of prescription drugs.

Meanwhile, to reduce the number of young people dying in auto accidents, it is important to focus especially hard distracted driving. Laws that ban such practices are important, and primary enforcement and more stringent penalties must be attached to those laws. Fall accident strategies meanwhile are vital to help reduce fatality risks involving senior citizens.


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