A wrongful death action and a negligence claim for personal injury differ primarily by plaintiff and type of damages sought. A lawsuit brought on behalf of a deceased accident victim is called a survivor action, and, where applicable, is often filed concurrently with a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death lawsuits are brought by the aggrieved family member and damages are sought for the injuries suffered personally by that survivor.
What May Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Action
Economic damages suffered by the surviving family may include:
- Expenses for a funeral or memorial service.
- Cost of burial or cremation.
- The loss of financial support that the deceased would have provided over a lifetime.
- The value of gifts the deceased would have given throughout his or her life.
- The reasonable value of household services provided by the deceased.
Non-economic damages may include:
- Loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, and moral support.
- Loss of the enjoyment of sexual relations.
- Loss of training and guidance.
These are losses which may not be objectively quantified, but which still have a significant impact on the plaintiff.
Who May File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Family members who are eligible to bring a wrongful death lawsuit include:
- Surviving spouse or domestic partner
- Grandchildren, if the children are deceased
- Next of kin
An individual who is generally considered or reputed to be the spouse of the deceased (in legal terms the putative spouse), the parents of the deceased, or a minor living in the household may also file a wrongful death suit if that person or persons depended on the deceased for financial support.
Los Angeles Statute of Limitations
A wrongful death suit must be instituted within two years from the person’s date of death or the action will be forever barred. It is therefore important to contact an attorney as soon as possible after a fatal accident. A qualified, experienced wrongful death lawyer will make sure the case is filed within the relevant time frame, while also preserving physical evidence and witness memories, and conducting settlement talks with the insurance company.
In Los Angeles and throughout California, family members who have lost a loved one under wrongful circumstances turn to The Nagelberg Bernard Law Group to recover rightful damages and losses. Please schedule a consultation to explore your options and to receive the effective, aggressive representation you deserve.
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