Wrongful death occurs due to the fault of someone other than the person who died. Generally, a wrongful death occurs when one person is negligent or reckless and causes someone else’s death. In such cases, the surviving family may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim (lawsuit) against the person at fault.
Examples of Wrongful Deaths
Wrongful death claims arise from all sorts of situations, including accidents and malicious actions. Some examples of wrongful death claims in California include:
- Car accidents caused by negligence or recklessness:
o A distracted driver collides with another car or pedestrian
o A drunk driver veers into oncoming traffic and causes a head-on collision
o A speeding driver does not see a pedestrian in the crosswalk and strikes him or her
- Medical negligence:
o A doctor misdiagnosis a patient’s cancer
o A delayed C-section causes harm to the infant
o A doctor prescribes a medication that is contraindicated for the patient
o A surgeon leaves a surgical tool or sponge inside a patient
- A product manufacturer sells a dangerous product without warning consumers.
- An automotive manufacturer is aware of a dangerous part but does not recall it.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Wrongful death claims must be filed by someone who is a representative of the person who died or someone who suffers damages due to the person’s death. All states have their own rules for who can file a wrongful death claim, but the eligible parties are generally:
- Immediate family (spouse or children)
- Life partners
- Financial dependents
- Distant family (parents, grandparents, siblings)
- Parties who suffer financially
Eligible parties can file a wrongful death claim against an individual, business, distributor, installer, designer, builder, government agent, property owner, or perpetrator of a crime.
Do I have a Wrongful Death Claim?
If someone you love has died and you believe negligence was a factor in their death, contact Sahar Malek Law to discuss your situation and find out if you have an actionable claim.