A Wrongful Death Claim

If someone is killed because of the negligence or intentional act of another, the relative of the person killed has an action for wrongful death.  A wrongful death claim is all about the loss sustained by the relative, not about the physical pain and suffering of the person killed.

In order to win a wrongful death case, the relative must first prove that the defendant’s negligence or intentional acts caused the death of the relative.

Then the relative must prove either an emotional or financial loss because of the death.  For example, an eight year boy has lost his mother because of the negligence of an automobile driver, and the eight year old was fully dependent on his mother for both his emotional and physical needs.  A large settlement or money damages award would be likely in that case.

On the other hand, if the son was a mature adult at the time of the negligent death of his mother, plus the son didn’t have a close relationship with his mother at the time of her death, then the damages in the wrongful death action would be considerably less.

On the other hand, if a husband loses his wife because of the negligence of an automobile driver, then there is another component of loss in the wrongful death case, namely “loss of consortium,” which includes loss of intimate relations with his wife.  If a spouse has a pending wrongful death case, the spouse should consider postponing remarrying, or even postponing entering into a new intimate relationship with another, until the wrongful death case is resolved.  The reason for this is to head off at the pass the certain defense argument that the loss of intimate relations with the spouse isn’t worth much because it’s already been replaced with another intimate relationship.

James A. Vickman, Esq. for LawyerandClient.com, the Resource Desk of Vickman & Associates.  jvickman@vickmanassociates.com, 310-553-0567

Vickman & Associates is a law firm located in Beverly Hills, California, representing individuals and companies in litigation, trials and transactions.





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