Accidents occur daily throughout California, but they rise to the level of wrongful death if the victim passes away either during an incident of negligence/ill intent, or due to resulting injuries. Most importantly, wrongful death civil lawsuits allow families to seek damages in situations where they may have already been preparing a personal injury case (like a car accident), but a loved one unexpectedly died. One of the most famous wrongful death cases was brought by the family of Ronald Goldman.
Ron Goldman was murdered alongside Nicole Brown Simpson in 1994. Mr. Goldman’s family was awarded $33.5 million in a wrongful death lawsuit after the murders, even though O.J. Simpson was acquitted during his criminal trial. Wrongful death lawsuits also allow families to recover damages after catastrophic injury accidents, work accidents, and many other tragic scenarios.
Because these cases are fraught with liability issues and require a multitude of evidence, reach out to Dordulian Law Group Injury Attorney North Hollywood to review your case. When speaking to a North Hollywood wrongful death lawyer, you will learn about who may file the suit, your potential compensation, and how your attorney plans to establish a strategy for the case.
A wrongful death lawsuit claims that the victim should be alive if not for the negligent actions of the defendant. Most often, personal injury lawsuits are converted into wrongful death lawsuits because the victim dies long after the accident.
These cases do not carry the same burden of proof as criminal cases, and they award damages commensurate with the family’s suffering. You cannot, however, win a claim with hearsay or circumstantial evidence. Reach out to DLG’s experienced and trusted legal team to build a wrongful death case that helps your family move forward, utilizing evidence gathered by our expert lawyers and investigators.
Yes. You may file a wrongful death lawsuit after a crime is committed. In fact, these cases can run concurrently. While the defendant must argue their innocence in criminal court, they must also defend themselves in civil court. Do not assume that the strong arm of the law will exact the appropriate amount of justice in a criminal trial. If the defendant is serving a jail sentence, that in no way remunerates your family for its suffering and losses.
Dordulian Law Group has successfully handled countless wrongful death cases in the past. Most notably, a recent bus rollover case in 2016 involved a driver who fell asleep at the wheel and three passenger deaths. A fourth passenger died at the hospital, and DLG took the case shortly thereafter and argued on behalf of the families of the deceased.
Wrongful death claims may come from other sources, such as assaults. A recent settlement between the family of Vanessa Marquez, best known for portraying Nurse Wendy Goldman on the hit series ER, and the South Pasadena Police Department highlights these types of cases. Marquez was killed in her home by South Pasadena police officers during a wellness check. Her family was awarded $450,000.
When filing a wrongful death lawsuit, DLG seeks damages for medical bills, financial support provided by the deceased, final expenses, probate costs, lost benefits, lost companionship, and a loss of moral training or support (among any other applicable types of damages). These damages are unlimited, and a North Hollywood wrongful death lawyer will build a case with a total value that compensates the family for every loss they have suffered.
The burden of proof lies with the family in a wrongful death case. Working with a North Hollywood wrongful death lawyer from Dordulian Law Group allows you to collect evidence that explains the defendant’s negligence at the time of the incident. These cases have the same four elements as a personal injury case. The plaintiff must demonstrate that:
Some families may feel that they have bad luck or that they are not eligible to file a wrongful death claim. Regardless of the specific circumstances related to the incident, reach out to DLG to learn more about your rights following a loved one’s death. Wrongful deaths can be caused by:
Errant drivers can face lawsuits for their negligent behavior, but the lawsuit must show that the driver was enraged, driving while intoxicated, distracted, or performing another unethical act that led to your loved one’s death.
Businesses or property owners are responsible for caring for their properties and preventing injuries. When these companies negligently maintain their properties – for example when a roof collapses – they can be held liable for the accident.
Corporations might create defective products that cause injuries or deaths. If a third party causes a death at work, the family may file suit against that company for compensation. Criminals who commit assaults, robberies, manslaughter, arson, or murder can face civil litigation. So long as your DLG lawyer can tie the defendant to your loved one’s death, you will likely have a case.
Wrongful deaths shock Californians every day. In 2018 alone, 3563 people died in car accidents, and many of those families were eligible to recover damages. The California Department of Industrial Relations reported 422 work-related deaths in 2018, a number that has been rising since 2014. From January 2020 to September 2020, 239 murders occurred in Los Angeles alone, leaving hundreds of families eligible to seek compensation for wrongful death.
While these statistics may be troubling, the families of victims cannot lament their circumstances without seeking compensation. Your family should not be forced to suffer while the person or persons who killed your loved one enjoy their freedom.
As with the O.J. Simpson case, a criminal and civil trail may occur at roughly the same time after you suffer a wrongful death in the family. While Americans grow up learning that guilt must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt in a criminal case, this is not the standard for a civil trial. In a civil trial, the judge or jury is looking at whether it is “more likely than not” that the defendant caused the victim’s death. There may be reasonable doubts, but those doubts do not stop the jury or judge from clearly seeing that the defendant is liable.
In California, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim starts at the time of the victim’s death. Under the California Code of Civil Procedure, section 337.60, you have two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Generally, the victim’s spouse or children may file suit to recover damages. If no immediate family members exist, California intestate laws dictate that parents, grandparents, grandchildren, or siblings may file the claim on behalf of the decedent’s estate.
Review succession rules with a North Hollywood wrongful death lawyer at DLG to understand what will transpire once you file and win your case.
Insurance carriers may pay for wrongful death up to a point, but these companies are not prepared to pay the full amount owed to the victim’s family. For example, someone who falls down a damaged stairwell in an apartment complex might be killed by the fall. The complex’s owner or management firm may carry substantial insurance coverage for the facility, but their insurance likely does not have the capacity to pay the millions of dollars that may be owed.
At the same time, insurance companies might pay for medical treatment after a serious accident, but that coverage stops when the victim dies. The family cannot recover additional monies from the insurance carrier, and they may experience difficulty paying off the deductible and/or fighting the insurance carrier over what is covered and what is not.
A wrongful death lawsuit can cite all the latent damages from the incident, calculate the family’s losses, and argue for every dollar the family is owed.
“Great experience! Every thing from the start was on schedule exactly as they said it would be! Sam Dordulian took me through the majority of the process and did an awesome job communicating with me and letting me know what was going to happen every step of the way! he made dealing with a car accident an easy process!”
When you lose a loved one, reach out to the North Hollywood wrongful death lawyers at Dordulian Law Group. Call our office at 818-873-4300 or use our online contact form to ask questions or schedule a free consultation. At DLG, we fight for the rights of families who lose their loved ones under tragic circumstances.
Our managing attorney and founding president, Samuel Dordulian, is a former Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County. He spent most of his career prosecuting sex crimes and fighting for the rights of victims. In his time at DLG, he has fought for the rights of countless accident victims and their families. He brings with him Chief Investigator, Moses Castillo. Mr. Castillo is a retired member of the Los Angeles Police Department who investigated everything from traffic offenses to sex crimes and juvenile crimes. Having Detective Castillo on staff ensures that every bit of evidence pertaining to your case is uncovered.
During your consultation, you can review all the evidence and better understand your legal options given the circumstances of the case. Reach out as soon as possible to avoid delays in the case, and remember that we are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week to assist current and future clients.
Our law firm in Torrance, CA advocates for victims of sexual assault, injury, employment disputes, and personal injury concerns.