Unfair death in traffic accident in Los Angeles
Lluis Law’s unfair death lawyers in Los Angeles can help you if you suffered the loss of a loved one due to the negligent conduct of another person. For more than 40 years we have successfully represented the heirs of the victims before insurance companies and courts in California to obtain fair compensation in claims or lawsuits for personal injuries.
Many of the car accidents that occur daily in Los Angeles are caused by negligent or reckless drivers. Most of these accidents could be avoided if all drivers assumed responsible behavior when they are at the wheel. However, this is not the case, and the number of deaths due to negligence in automobile accidents is still high.
The personal injury law recognizes unjust death as a category of homicide, according to which one person dies because of the unfair behavior of another. While it is not a deliberate action – because then it would speak of murder – unjust death caused by the negligence or irresponsibility of someone.
Examples of unjust death or wrongful death as it is also known are, in addition to death in a car accident, medical malpractice, errors or misdiagnosis, slip and fall accidents, birth injuries, aviation accidents and poisoning with food, among others.
California law allows surviving family members to claim compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit, in addition to death benefits for automobile insurance. Recovering damages for wrongful death or culpable homicide is not a simple job due to the magnitude of the compensation amounts and not always the insurance companies are willing to acknowledge the responsibility of their clients.
When a car accident occurs with deceased persons, the family is very affected by the loss of the loved one and by the family and financial consequences that this event will have from now on. Nothing will obviously be the same, and problems will arise for the maintenance of the home, if it is a spouse.
At that time, the family needs to be guided on the next steps to try to obtain compensation for damages based on unjust death. You can also file a claim for property damage that the accident may have caused. In such circumstances, the family has no head to think about how to do it, because it is stressed by the tragic event and by the suffering derived from the loss of the loved one.
An experienced Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer is very helpful in these cases, because it deals with representing the surviving family of the victim before the insurance company or before a court, during the process of claiming or claiming for culpable homicide , as they are also called cases of unjust death.
Statistics of deaths in accidents
Driving on the streets and highways of Los Angeles can be dangerous because of the aggressiveness shown by many drivers when driving at speed or under the influence of alcohol / drugs. The numbers of people killed in car accidents in California in recent years are worrisome. In 2013 alone, more than 3000 accidents took place in the state, of which 630 corresponded to Los Angeles County.
Main causes of car accidents with wrongful death
Unfair deaths can occur in various accidents, however, in auto accidents are almost always due to the negligence and recklessness of drivers to drive:
– To speeding.
– Under the effects of alcohol or drugs.
– Violating traffic regulations.
– Look away from the road (turn to see the back seat, eat, drink, pick up an object from the floor).
– Talking on the phone, checking the cell phone, reading or sending text messages.
– During a storm or during night hours.
– Vehicles with defective parts.
– For bad driving (novice drivers).
Wrongful Death and Survival Action Claims
There are two ways to obtain compensation in cases of unjust death by the victim’s relatives. These are:
1. Action for damages based on negligence (unjust death / culpable homicide)
2. Action for damages based on survival.
Both types of claims have differences, so it is necessary for the family to understand what each one consists of when trying any civil action.
The culpable homicide seeks to compensate the family of the deceased for the losses caused by the responsible party. While the survival action tries to compensate the victim for the losses as if she were alive.
The demand for unjust death by negligence can be undertaken at any time with the help of an injury lawyer experienced people to have guarantees of success.
Instead, the action or demand for survival is only in cases where the victim survives a time to the injuries and then dies. The law provides compensation for the losses caused to the victim from the moment of the accident until the death of the person.
When the death occurs instantaneously, that is to say, during the automobile accident, the compensation that will be demanded will be based on the damages caused to the victim until that moment.
This does not mean that unjust death or survival are mutually exclusive actions, because both action could be presented in parallel, according to the circumstances of the event.
Either way, both serve to take a civil action for wrongful death or survival, but also for a criminal action for murder. It means then that both unjust death and survival action can be triggered independently of the type of demand.
The difference basically for purposes of obtaining compensation is that, when the wrongful death is of a civil nature and is caused by the negligence of another person, the insurance of the responsible party is the one who covers the damages. While in a criminal action, it is directly the person who caused the damages who must compensate them.
As is known, an intentional act such as murder does not have insurance coverage. However, the personal injury lawyer and the victim’s relatives could consider taking an action for death or survival for a wrongful death, if the defendant owns great assets of fortune.
In case of being found guilty, the defendant must pay the sentence with his own patrimony. An example of this type of case was that of OJ Simpson.
Who can file an action for wrongful death or survival?
The right of a family member to claim compensation is associated with their relationship to the deceased. It is usually the spouse or children who can file a claim for wrongful death, but according to the line of succession can be extended to any other relative in the absence of these, unless there is a will.
Claims for automobile accidents with deaths caused by the negligence of other drivers can only be based on negligent death. This means that all family members or persons entitled to collect compensation can participate in the claim. If any member of the family waives that right, it must do so by express request for dismissal, which must be ordered by the court of the claim.
Survivor’s actions, for their part, can only be presented by a person previously designated by a court of successions, who will act as administrator of the estate of the deceased (executor). This procedure is established with the purpose of safeguarding the estate of the deceased, since the damages recovered as a consequence of the demand for survival action undertaken, are considered property of the victim.
The assets together with the indemnity belonging to the deceased, will be distributed according to the estate left by this or, failing that, in accordance with the provisions of the succession laws of California. Normally, it is the administrator of the estate of the deceased who undertakes the action for unjust death and at the same time distributes the existing assets.
When should an action for unjust death or survival be filed?
The most advisable thing is to do it in the shortest possible time, after the person dies, to avoid complications in the case. As more time elapses to file the claim, inconveniences may arise because the case cools; in addition, the responsible or your insurance company, have less pressure to try to resolve the case.
On the other hand, it is more difficult to obtain evidence or, there is a risk that these will be lost. Often witnesses also disappear or forget valuable details of the accident. So the faster you do it, the better. It is true that the family does not have the time or the disposition to personally take care of filing a claim.
The suffering for the loss of the loved one leaves families devastated. Sometimes it is thought that this matter can wait while the deceased is finished crying, without thinking that in parallel the personal injury lawyer.
What damages can be recovered by wrongful death or survival?
The California law on death by negligence (wrongful death) allows the relatives of the victims to recover all damages considered “fair”, except those damages that can be recovered through the action of survival.
For fair damages, the law includes:
– Loss of maintenance
– Funeral and burial expenses
– Loss of services
– Loss of company and coexistence.
Regarding the action of survival, the law allows to recover all the damages that could have accumulated if the victim had lived, except damages for pain and suffering, disfigurement and amputation, among others.
Damages in the survival action include:
– Medical expenses
– Loss of wages
– Punitive damages
If you or a family member is in a similar situation, call Lluis Law’s car accident and personal injury attorneys toll-free at 1,213.320.0777 right now. We will tell you what to do and answer all your questions so you can get fair compensation. Remember that the time to sue is limited.