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When an individual falls victim to wrongful death, their immediate family may seek compensation for emotional and financial damages. The four elements of a wrongful death case are:

  • Negligence. The family members are required to prove that the death of their loved one was due to acts of recklessness or carelessness by the other party.
  • Damages. The victim’s death must have generated financial and emotional losses. This includes medical bills for hospitalization, funeral and burial costs, loss of income, and pain and suffering.
  • Breach of Duty. There must be proof that the defendant owed a duty to the victim. The plaintiff will determine how the defendant’s duty existed, along with whether or not it was breached because of their careless actions.
  • Causation. The plaintiff is also expected to prove how the defendant’s careless acts resulted in their loved one’s death.

It is highly recommended to have an experienced personal injury attorney involved. They will help you with legal advice and find convincing evidence to help you with your wrongful death lawsuit.

Common Causes Of Wrongful Death

There are a variety of scenarios that have been tied to wrongful death situations. This includes:

  • Medical malpractice,
  • Vehicle accidents,
  • Faulty products,
  • Nursing home abuse,
  • Birth injuries,
  • Premises injuries,
  • Criminal violence, or
  • Supervised activities.

Burden Of Proof

Since wrongful death lawsuits are identified as a civil action, the burden of proof is set low. The lawsuit could be successful if it is won based on the quality of evidence. There are various steps that need to be taken when initiating a civil action on a wrongful death case. This includes having to:

  • Create a strategy plan.
  • Start an investigation on the claim.
  • Speak to legal experts.
  • Meet with witnesses.
  • Study tort law.

During the legal process of a wrongful death case, there will be demands, mediation, and potential chances of a settlement. If there is no agreement, then the lawsuit will be taken to trial . It is expected for the plaintiff to provide good quality evidence that has credibility. An experienced wrongful death attorney will give you legal advice on what they believe would be necessary to do in order to have quality evidence ready to present during trial.

Available Damages

Accidents happen. If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Below is a brief explanation of damages. Damages are a type of monetary award that is determined by a court of law to help compensate an aggrieved individual for any losses or injuries sustained as a result of someone’s negligence.

Economic Damages
Economic damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for losses that a dollar amount can readily be attached to. Economic damages are calculated by determining the amount of out of pocket losses an aggrieved individual has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries.
A few examples of economic losses include:

  • Loss of Earning Capacity
  • Medical Bills
  • Lost Wages

Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages are essentially intended to cover losses that are thought of as subjective and will not necessarily cover out of pocket losses. Non-economic damages may include compensation for:

  • Emotional Distress
  • Pain And Suffering
  • Loss Of Enjoyment Of Life

Punitive Damages
The third type of damages a California court may award are known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as punishment and are only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is especially harmful. Punitive damages are relatively rare and in fact were only incorporated in 5% of all verdicts.
Furthermore, there is no real set standard for calculating and awarding punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded at the court’s discretion and will vary depending on the specific circumstances of a case.

Limitations For Damages In California
For the most part, there is no real cap on compensatory damages following a personal injury claim. This means that courts are able to award any amount they feel is appropriate and reasonable.However, the only exception is regarding medical malpractice cases. In these cases, the limit for pain and suffering and other non economic losses is $250,000.

West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here To Help
If you have lost a loved one because of someone’s negligence, West Coast Trial Lawyers has skilled attorneys that have background experience with handling cases relating to wrongful death. Our attorneys will help you get financial and emotional compensation for the losses you have suffered after losing your friend or family member. This includes, but is not limited to, medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. There are no financial risks involved when you use our services. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation at our firm. No fees are charged until we win your case. Reach out to our friendly legal team 24/7 by calling (213) 927-3700 or emailing [email protected].


If you have been injured in an accident, you can count on the legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers to fight for your rights every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney.
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