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Wrongful death cases result from someone else's negligence in a variety of contexts, including vehicle accidents, construction accidents, explosions and fires, medical malpractice, or negligence that occurred by a nurse or a doctor in a hospital during surgery or during a patient's recovery. Hospitals could also be held liable for prescribing the wrong medication or failing to prescribe a medication. At The Law Offices of Tony M. Seyfi in Los Angeles, the wrongful death attorneys understand how hard it can be to discuss the death of someone you love. Our experience and compassion in handling wrongful death claims on behalf of our clients set us apart from many other attorneys working in this difficult and emotional area of California law.
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In wrongfull death lawsuits, if you have lost a loved one in an accident or if your son, your daughter, your wife, your husband, your father or your mother has died in an incident that occurred in a hospital, or as a result of anyone's gross negligence, we can represent your interests against the parties at fault and will seek a complete and substantial recovery, taking into account your current as well as your future financial issues.
Our detailed understanding of California wrongful death law means we understand the different sources of recovery available to victims of catastrophic accidents and their families. Our attorneys and staff also care about our clients as individuals. Whether you are the deceased's wife, parent or child, we want to make sure you have the emotional and financial support you need during and after the legal issues are resolved.
We will bring a wrongful death action against the person who caused the death or could be held liable for the death. An insurance company could be responsible for the payment of wrongful death claim. The claim is brought in a civil action, usually by close relatives, as enumerated by California statute.
It should be noted, that one may be prosecuted criminally for causing a person's death (whether in the form of murder, manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, or some other theory) and that person can also be sued civilly in a wrongful death action (as in the O.J. Simpson cases). Sometime the government, including the police department, may be liable for the shooting death of an individual, or wrongful death occurring as a result of a police officer's negligence, or as a result of the use of excessive force or police brutality.
Conditions for filing a wrongful death claim
The death must have been caused, in whole or in part, by the defendant's negligent conduct, even though there was no direct intention to kill the victim. The defendant must have been deemed negligent or strictly liable for the victim's death. Also the deceased must have a dependent party such as family members who have suffered from emotional and monetary damages as a result of the death.
At The Law Offices of Tony M. Seyfi, we have the experience and the resources to support the families of wrongful death victims throughout Southern California. If you have questions about a potential wrongful death claim that you wish to discuss with an experienced wrongful death attorney, please call us at our Los Angeles law firm at (213) 252-1000.
WHO CAN RECOVER?
Recovery of financial and non-economic loss is generally limited to the "heirs" of the deceased. The heirs normally include the decedentís husband, wife, children, and sometimes parents of the decedent.
CALCULATING DAMAGES IN WRONGFUL DEATH CASES
It takes special training and experience by your attorney to calculate and recover all possible damages in a wrongful death case. Judges and juries have the final say in the actual amount of damages awarded to the claimants. However, there are certain criteria taken into account to make a determination as to the actual amount of damages and what should we awarded. The value of a wrongful death case varies depending on who the deceased was. Regardless, an aggressive personal injury attorney could always find creative ways of maximizing the recovery for his clients. Sometimes, better results are achieved if the wrongful death case proceeds to jury trial, since jurors could sympathize with the claimants depending on the facts of the case.
ECONOMIC AND NON-ECONOMIC DAMAGES
In California wrongful death cases, the claimant could recover economic and non-economic damages. By economic damages, we mean that if the deceased was financially assisting a family, his wife, children and parents have suffered financial or economic loss and are entitled to compensation. The responsible party must also pay for burial costs and funeral services of the deceased. By non-economic damages, we mean that the loved ones of the decedent lost his love, affection, support, companionship, comfort, society, and presence. The deceasedís wife cold also recover for loss of sexual relations and enjoyment thereof.
The decedent could also provide multiple services to his family and parents, such as home maintenance and repair, car maintenance and upkeep, running daily chores such as shopping, cooking, etc.
Sometimes, it is difficult for jurors to determine the amount of support the decedent would have given to the claimants. But the jurors could consider the age of the decedent, his health prior to death, his life expectancy, his actual plan to fully support his family, his actual habits of running household chores and making payments, his financial responsibility and demeanor toward his family members, and any other reasonable inference the jurors could make with respect to the amount of lost support by the remaining family members. The jurors would also consider the decedentís age, his job, his earnings, his life expectancy, his earning capacity, his potential for financial success, his retirement plans, the quality of life by the decedent and his family members, and his overall financial plan for the future.
In a wrongful death case, the claimants could also recover the value of lost love, companionship, affection, support, protection, advice and moral support. Contrary to public view, regardless of how the decedent died, plaintiffs could not recover damages for the pain he went through to die, although if a family member witnesses the death in a gruesome fashion, there may be additional damages available.
The calculation of damages in a wrongful death case requires skill, training and analysis of details by an aggressive attorney who is extremely knowledgeable of California law.