What’s a wrongful death lawsuit? How does it work?
Everyone knows about personal injury lawsuits. We all see the TV ads and the billboards. But when an accident causes fatal injuries, you are no longer talking about an injury case. Now, it has become a wrongful death action. Wrongful death actions didn’t always exist in the legal system. In the early development of the law, if someone were killed, there would be no injury to compensate them for since there would be no plaintiff in the action. However, this was fundamentally unfair, and it didn’t bring to justice the negligent individuals or companies who caused the death. Therefore, wrongful death actions were created so that the family of the deceased victim could bring an action in tort law.
When you bring a wrongful death action, someone will be selected as a representative to stand in the shoes of the injured victim. The selection of the family member or representative can be a complicated legal issue. Depending on what family members are available, it could be a spouse, child, parent, or an appointed representative of the estate.
In these cases, the damages will also be different than a normal personal injury action. You will not be compensating the family for medical bills that were not accrued, or for years of pain and suffering that the deceased did not live to experience. However, the family can be compensated for funeral costs, lost earnings that would have supported the family had the deceased person been alive, and, in some cases, for loss of consortium (A legal term describing the loss of support and affection of the deceased due to a wrongful death).
Wrongful death actions in Los Angeles have strict time guidelines. In some personal injury cases, the victim may be unaware of their injury for a period of time, until the symptoms manifest themselves. However, in wrongful death, the family is on notice at the time of death that there was an accident. Therefore, the time for the statute of limitations usually runs from the date of death, and if you do not file your claim within the statutory period, you will lose your legal rights to bring a wrongful death action. Wrongful death limitations for deaths caused by medical malpractice may be shorter.
If you have any questions about Los Angeles wrongful death cases, call National Choice Lawyers today to schedule a consultation.