Wrongful Death and Loss of Consortium from Car Accidents
Operating motor vehicles, while a routine part of daily life, carries the deadly potential to change lives in an instant. Beyond the physical injuries and property damage, there are emotional and legal aspects that must be addressed. One such issue involves wrongful death and loss of consortium claims, which often arise in car accident cases.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Under California law, wrongful death claims are legal actions brought when someone’s death is caused by the negligence or wrongful act of another. In the context of car accidents, wrongful death claims in California can be filed by specific family members who are closely related to the deceased. These individuals include:
Spouse or domestic partner: A surviving spouse or registered domestic partner has the primary right to file a wrongful death claim. This includes legally married spouses and domestic partners who have formally registered their partnership.
Children: Biological or adopted children of the deceased, including stepchildren who were dependent on the deceased for at least 50% of their financial support, may also file a wrongful death claim.
Dependents: In some cases, individuals who can demonstrate that they were dependent on the deceased for financial support at the time of their death, such as parents or siblings, may have the right to file a wrongful death claim.
What Damages May Be Claimed in a Wrongful Death Case?
Wrongful death claims aim to compensate surviving family members for various types of damages resulting from the loss of their loved one. These damages may include:
Medical expenses: This category encompasses the reasonable and necessary medical costs incurred in an attempt to treat the deceased’s injuries before their passing.
Funeral and burial costs: Wrongful death claims may seek compensation for the expenses associated with funeral and burial arrangements, which can be a significant financial burden on the family.
Loss of financial support: Surviving family members who were financially dependent on the deceased may seek compensation for the loss of financial support that the deceased would have provided had they survived.
Loss of companionship: While not a direct financial loss, wrongful death claims can also include compensation for the emotional and psychological impact of losing a loved one, including the loss of companionship, support, and guidance.
Pain and suffering: In some cases, if the deceased experienced conscious pain and suffering before succumbing to their injuries, this may be considered an element in the damages awarded in a wrongful death claim.
Importantly, the specific damages sought in a wrongful death claim can vary depending on the unique circumstances of the case.
Understanding Loss of Consortium Claims
Family members file wrongful death claims to seek financial compensation for the economic losses resulting from a loved one’s death due to negligence. Loss of consortium claims are exclusively filed by spouses or partners to compensate for the emotional and relational losses experienced due to the injury or death of their loved one, recognizing the intangible nature of these losses.
In California, spouses or registered domestic partners are typically eligible to file loss of consortium claims. These claims address the loss of companionship, support, and affection that the injured or deceased person provided to their spouse or partner.
Loss of consortium claims aim to compensate the spouse or domestic partner for the unique and intangible losses they have experienced due to the injury or death of their loved one. These damages may encompass:
Loss of companionship: Compensation for the emotional and psychological void created by the absence of companionship, including shared activities, conversations, and emotional support.
Loss of support: Compensation for the loss of physical and emotional support that the injured or deceased person would have provided to their spouse or partner in various aspects of life.
Loss of affection: Compensation for the diminished physical and emotional affection, intimacy, and romantic connection in the relationship.
Proving Liability and Damages
In cases involving wrongful death and loss of consortium, establishing liability is of paramount importance. The burden of proof lies with the plaintiff, and evidence plays a pivotal role. For you to succeed in a wrongful death or loss of consortium claim, it must be clearly demonstrated that the death or injury directly resulted from the defendant’s negligence or wrongful actions. Your Glendale car accident wrongful death lawyer will be your trusted ally throughout the legal process.
Providing evidence of the extent of damages is equally vital. This may involve presenting medical records, financial records, and expert witness testimonies. Your attorney may call upon expert witnesses, such as accident reconstruction specialists and medical professionals, who can provide critical insights and testimony to strengthen the case.
Contact Aratta Law Firm: We’re Here for You
Navigating wrongful death and loss of consortium claims in the aftermath of a car accident can be emotionally challenging and legally complex. At Aratta Law Firm, our Glendale legal team understands the profound emotional toll of such cases. We are here to offer compassionate and skilled legal assistance to guide you through this difficult journey.
If you or your loved ones are grappling with the aftermath of a Glendale car accident that resulted in wrongful death or loss of consortium, reach out to us at (818) 550-1111. Your path to justice and closure begins with a call to us.