How to Prove Your Wrongful Death Claim in California?

How to Prove Your Wrongful Death Claim in California?

If you have lost your loved one due to the negligence of another person or entity, you can seek wrongful death damages under the California laws. These damages typically include the associated medical costs, funeral and burial costs as well as damages for loss of companionship, financial support and other non-economic losses. However, you must be able to prove your wrongful death claim to recover these damages. This means providing the relevant evidence to back your claim. This also means that your claim must meet various other legal requirements. In addition, you must be able to show that you are eligible to seek damages on behalf of the deceased as per the state laws. Here is a look at various aspects of proving a wrongful death claim. Your claim must cover all these aspects in order to be successful.

Proof of Negligence

The first and the foremost thing to prove in a wrongful death claim is negligence. You must be able to demonstrate that the death of your loved one was caused by the negligence of a party. This may be a person, a company or any other entity. Legally speaking, the proof of negligence must cover the following:
  • Duty of care. It must be shown that the deceased was owed a duty of care by the party you are holding responsible.
  • Breach of duty of care. Once you have established duty of care in the first step, you must then show that the liable party breached this duty of care. A driver who drives recklessly and causes an accident, for instance, has breached the duty of care owed by one driver to another.
  • Harm caused by the breach. The harm that led to the death of a person must have been caused directly by the breach of duty of care.
  • Loss caused by the death. Even if you have proven the three elements listed above, you must then prove your loss. You will be required to prove that you suffered an emotional or financial loss due to the death of the victim.

Intentional Harm

In many cases, a wrongful death is caused by the unintentional negligence of a person. A driver who runs a red light may have been acting recklessly and breached duty of care. However, he may have no deliberate intention of harming a person. This is in contrast to cases where deliberate intent is involved. This is when a person intentionally harms another person, resulting in the death of the latter. Wrongful death claims in such cases revolve around proving intentional harm on the part of the accused. If you have lost a loved one in an incident like this, you will need to show that:
  • The person you are holding responsible had the intention of harming the victim
  • The liable person made contact with the victim. The nature of this contact was non-consensual and violent.
  • The contact resulted in harm to the victim, ultimately causing his or her death.
When intentional harm is involved in a wrongful death, a separate criminal case will also result. This case is usually pursued by the state against the perpetrator. However, the case may not necessarily affect your civil claim; instead it can even be used to support it.

Losses and Damages

This is a vital part of any wrongful death claim you file in Orange County or anywhere in California. You must prove that the loss of the loved one resulted in tangible damages to you. It is important to note here that you may not be able to recover damages if you have only suffered emotional distress. On the other hand, if you can show that you have suffered loss of financial support, future income, love, companionship, care, protection or assistance, you can qualify for compensatory damages. It is this final part that often requires the help of a qualified wrongful death attorney.

Hiring a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Orange County, California

If you want to file a wrongful death claim in Orange County, we can help you. Filing and winning a wrongful death claim can be very complicated and time-consuming. Here at Crockett Law Firm, we understand that losing a loved one is a time of great distress. This is why we make the process of filing a claim as simple and straightforward as possible. We also do our best to help you recover the maximum amount of damages. Contact us today to discuss your case with our attorneys and let’s see if we can work together.
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