How a lawyer recovers money for a death case depends on many factors. Mostly it depends on how the lawyer handles your claim from the start. This article is your best source of California wrongful death law 101 for dummies. It should quickly guide you to your answers about this interesting area of the law.
Here, Los Angeles injury lawyer, Michael P. Ehline, Esq, discusses the general principles and histology of death law. So now you can better understand how a legal eagle goes about it. What is the ultimate goal? The goal is getting you reparations for the negligent death of their loved ones.
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Sometimes you can sue in various forums. Some courts and judges are tort reformers. So it would be a good idea to sue in a forum friendly to the client's case.
Wrongful death law in the Golden State remains a specialized form of recovery. And it was not allowed under English Common Law. In any case, this body of law is a creature of statute.pound of flesh” philosophy. Most of all, people got justice by revenge. So it was “eye for an eye.”
So now bereaved parties in the U.S. could recover money damages. But each state formulated their statutory scheme.
But the death must be due to the wrongdoer’s bad conduct. So this includes willful neglect, recklessness, misfeasance, malfeasance, or nonfeasance. A wrongful death lawyer (definition here), helps people recover money. For this reason, money will be called "damages" for personal injuries.
In any case, it pleads that decedent was negligent, recklessly, or willfully killed. And he was murdered by the defendant. Presently, the complaint must allege decedent’s heirs are entitled to damages. And they must argue it was from defendant’s evil acts.
Often, the surviving heirs are surviving spouses, decedent’s children. But they can also be the decedent’s parents. And sometimes it may be a wrongful death of a child. A wrongful death lawsuit must get brought by the executor of the decedent’s estate.
However, you can still recover under a survival action theory for decedent’s pain and suffering. So this would be for expenses incurred before death. But usually, both actions get filed together. (Read here.)
Sometimes the conduct causing the death was evil. So in that case, plaintiff seeks punitive damages. And this is on top of the normal tort damages.
Contrast this with the defense attorney's arguments. The defense will argue it was not reckless enough to rise to the level of punishment.
So the defense will include factors in mitigation. First of all, he will claim that his client was not liable at all. But what if the trial continues to the liability phase? In that case, the defense will argue for a negligence instruction.
So usually only intentional or extremely reckless conduct raises the damages bar. But if the defense loses, an additional phase of the trial will advance. This will be called the "damages" phase. And this determines the punitive award. Sometimes these get called bifurcated trials.
Also, usually you can also get financial interest on the loss since the date of death. Furthermore, punitive damages often get awarded in cases of recklessness and willful neglect. This means the lawyer will seek these to punish the killer. In any case, its intent is to deter others from acting the same in the future.
So this could be a case against a toxic drug maker who sees the writing on the wall. They may very well vacate the marketplace to avoid such a case against them.
A great lawyer explains this to you. Also, it assures you have an attorney with experience dealing with rules and Courts. In my opinion, judges and defense attorneys should know the plaintiff's lawyer.
They should regularly deal with injuries. Also, they must know how to sue for negligence caused by the misconduct. Also, an attorney may need to investigate many potential wrongdoers. Presumably, defendants could include corporations, people, and other criminals.
Also, statutes of limitations exist for deadlines you need to sue. So that's basically how to handle a wrongful death claim in a nutshell. To learn more, call Michael Ehline, Esq. at (213) 596-9642.
“From Loss of Services to Loss of Support: The Wrongful Death Statutes, the Origins of Modern Tort Law, and the Making of the Nineteenth-Century Family” Yale Law Journal