FAQ: Bad Faith Insurance, Wrongful Death & Personal Injury

Frequently Asked Questions
Regarding Wrongful Death in California

16.  What is a wrongful death case?

A. If a family member is killed because of the negligence or wrongful conduct of another, the lawful heirs may file a civil lawsuit in California for wrongful death for monetary damages against the person or entity that caused the death.  If the death was caused by a criminal rather than a negligent act, the state may file a separate criminal action against the wrongdoer.
17.  What are some examples of damages recoverable in a wrongful death action?

A. If the death involved a father or a mother with a family; the damages can be very substantial including past and future lost economic support to the children and spouse.  Children may also seek economic damages for lost support from the father or mother even after reaching majority age, if it can be shown that the father or mother was going to provide additional support for college or for an extended time after the children reached majority age.  This may also include gifts and benefits that either the spouse or children could expect to receive from the deceased spouse and parent.  Another economic damage is the loss of the reasonable value of household services that the decedent would have provided as well as funeral and burial expenses.

The heirs can also claim damages for the loss of love, companionship, comfort, society, care, assistance, protection, affection, and moral support from the decedent.  The spouse can claim the loss of the enjoyment of sexual relations.  Heirs can also claim damages for the loss of training and guidance from the decedent.

The loss of a minor child is emotionally catastrophic for the parents and siblings.  Parents can claim damages for similar financial losses as described above and for the loss of love, companionship, comfort, society, care, assistance, protection, affection, and moral support from the decedent child.

18.  What are some examples of potential wrongful death cases in California?

A. Wrongful death cases may include death from an automobile accident, defective products, construction accidents, shooting cases, medical malpractice, and any negligent or wrongful conduct that causes another person’s death.

19.  Who can be held liable for wrongful death? 

A. Some examples are:

  • The person who caused the death by negligence or intentional conduct.
  • The employer of the negligent person who caused the death if the death was caused while the person was on the job.
  • The manufacturer of a defective product that caused the death.
  • The owner of a business or residential (including apartment complex) premises who had notice of a dangerous condition and did nothing to reduce the danger that caused the death of a person lawfully on the premises.

20.  Is it fair to award money for loss of love, companionship, comfort, society, care, assistance, protection, affection and moral support from the decedent if the death was caused by negligence or wrongful conduct?

A. Some say it is not.  Some would say that it is just bad luck and such a loss should just be ignored.  However, most people, and our society as a whole based on our laws, say that it is fair and would be unfair otherwise.

The loss of the love and emotional support from a dedicated father, a dedicated mother, a dedicated and loving spouse, a loving child is probably one of the greatest losses; if not the greatest loss one can suffer in life.

If negligence or carelessness takes a lifetime of that love and care away, the negligent person or entity is not going to go to jail.  They are not going to have to do anything to compensate for such a huge loss except to pay monetary damages.  Ask yourself if it would be fair, to let them walk away without paying for the monumental loss that they caused.

As a society, we know of no other way to attempt to reconcile such a loss that cannot ever be fully reconciled. Therefore, our system of civil justice, which has evolved over centuries through the English Common Law, has determined that such a terrible loss, as intangible as it may be, that is yet so real and devastating, should be compensated in the only workable way possible.  That way is by a jury award of money damages based on admissible evidence.

Viau & Kwasniewski wrongful death lawyers are highly experienced in trial litigation. Our Los Anglees law firm also handles insurance bad faith and personal injury cases, providing committed, professional and highly experienced legal representation in the state of California. For a complete overview of our legal services please visit our Site Directory page.

For more information about wrongful death representation in California complete our Contact Us Form, Email us or call our Los Angeles wrongful death attorneys at (213) 842-8164.