If a loved one has died and you believe the death was influenced by the action or inaction of another party, it’s important to understand your legal options. The state of California allows a decedent’s survivors to seek damages from individuals they believe have caused a wrongful death. This may included the deceased person’s spouse, parents (of a minor child), children or other dependents.
The following are some of the types of damages survivors may seek in these lawsuits:
- Economic damages: This includes actual costs to the victim’s family as a result of the accident, including medical bills, burial expenses, the loss of benefits and/or the loss of an inheritance. These damages are usually easy to quantify.
- Noneconomic damages: These are less tangible damages and are more difficult to quantify in a dollar amount. Examples of include emotional pain and suffering and the loss of consortium that the deceased person would have provided had he or she lived.
- Punitive damages: These types of damages are meant to punish the defendant for irresponsible behavior that led to the death. This is usually only a factor if the person at fault for the death was extremely reckless in his or her actions, such as an individual who was street racing while intoxicated and caused a fatal car wreck. Again, this is quite rare.
If you believe that a loved one’s death was a direct result of another party’s negligence or reckless actions, you may have legal options. To learn more, speak with an experienced San Diego wrongful death attorney at Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire LLP.