Most families have time to plan for the deaths of their loved ones. Whether it’s through old age or a lost struggle with a medical condition, typically people can see deaths within the family coming. However, through abuse, neglect, auto accidents, and genuine other accident families across the nation experienced untimely death.
So what can you do when your family is facing an untimely death head-on? Often the answer changes on a case-by-case basis. There are many situations in which the family wants to hold that person responsible for the unexpected death and all the consequences the family is experiencing because of it. Then there are cases when the family just wants to let it go. Within California, you have two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit after a loved one’s untimely death, which would allow you to hold that person accountable for some damage they caused.
Neglect and Abuse – Charges and Civil Options
Neglect inherently covers a wide variety of action and inaction. Neglect can happen in nursing homes, hospitals, urgent care centers, emergency rooms, daycare centers, and even in private residences. Put simply, neglect is action or inaction which results in harm and in a wrongful death case, the untimely death of the victim. Someone did not care for another person properly. Family is meaning to prove that the person responsible had a reason or a duty to care for this person, but proving that is normally straightforward.
California saw over 480,000 allegations of child abuse or neglect in 2018, and after investigation, 4% of that figure substantiated the claims with severe neglect or severe abuse. These figures don’t delve into the neglect and abuse that can happen to adults, which is less common. It also doesn’t account for abuse to the elderly, which is extraordinarily common and severely under-reported.
Often neglect and abuse will come with criminal charges. These are charges of the State versus the accused person. This is not a situation of the family seeking justice for their lost loved one, it is the state seeking justice for the alleged crime.
When it comes to civil options, families can sue wrongful death claims through the civil court system. What happens in the situation is that the family would file a claim and initiate a demand letter which represents the wrongs and outlines the damages the family experienced because of the untimely death. The demand can include pain and suffering, feelings of loss, as well as financial elements such as lost income.
Auto Accidents and Fatalities
When a fatality happens on the road, it is really questionable whether this other person is going to face criminal charges. In fact, many people involved in vehicle accidents that result in fatalities don’t face criminal charges. Unless the person fled the scene, was intoxicated, or was driving with reckless abandon, it’s likely that they won’t face criminal charges.
What a family can do is to pursue a wrongful death claim. This may be separate from an insurance claim, and it may be difficult knowing that this was an accident and not intended to harm the family. But, most auto accident wrongful deaths involve adults who are contributing income to a household. That household losing that income is going to experience a greater loss on a financial level than most other situations and may be worth pursuing an untimely death claim.
Get Help Holding This Person Responsible With Crockett Law Group
Typically, a family needs to turn to a wrongful death attorney to get the ball rolling. It is possible that their outstanding criminal charges against this person, but the criminal system does not involve families extensively. You may receive occasional updates from victim advocates, but other than that, you may find out more from reading the local news. For many families, it is crushing to know that the criminal system isn’t interested in updating or involving the family of the victim.
However, many families find resolution through the civil system. With the civil law system, families can take action in an effort to hold that person accountable through financial recourse. Essentially, the family is stating that they’ve experienced harm and loss at the hands of this person and that is the foundation of a tort claim. At Crockett Law Group, we help families move forward with wrongful death cases whether it is for neglect, abuse, traffic fatalities, workplace fatalities, or similar situations. Contact us to learn more about your possible case and how your family might need to manage timing to move a civil lawsuit forward.