Five Most Important Things to Know After a Wrongful Death

March 12, 2021

If your loved one has been killed due to someone else’s negligence or recklessness, it’s important to call a wrongful death lawyer in Chico, CA. Wrongful death claims can provide necessary compensation for that person’s medical or funeral expenses. They can also help provide compensation for the loss of that person’s company, loss of income and more.

Here are five of the most important things you should know about wrongful death cases.

What is wrongful death, and how does it differ from murder or manslaughter?

Murder and manslaughter are criminal charges, which are filed by your district attorney. You cannot bring a criminal case against a defendant on your own, although the district attorney may ask you to give testimony for that purpose. Criminal cases also have a higher burden of proof—the prosecutor must prove that the defendant committed the crime, beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, they face penalties such as fines, jail time and more.

Wrongful death is a type of civil case. You can sue a defendant in court yourself and receive financial compensation. Not only is the burden of proof much lower than in a criminal case, but you can file concurrently or after the criminal trial. One famous example of this concept is the O.J. Simpson case—he was acquitted of criminal charges but found guilty of wrongful death.

Who can file a wrongful death claim?

Typically, a wrongful death claim is filed by family members or other people who were affected by the death. These could include a domestic partner, spouse and others who lost a source of income, company and more.

What needs to be proven?

There can be a number of different theories that support your wrongful death claim, such as products liability, medical malpractice, simple negligence and more. Your attorney will be able to pinpoint the best legal theories to use. In a broad sense, you’ll argue that the defendant owed your loved one a “duty of care,” and by failing to meet that duty, they directly or proximately caused your loved one’s wrongful death.

What kind of compensation can you receive?

Civil cases can offer economic and non-economic damages. You might be able to recover compensation for loss of income, loss of consortium, loss of parental guidance, funeral expenses and medical expenses, among other financial compensation. Since these are often complex cases, you may need an economic expert to determine the case’s worth.
There are also non-economic damages that you can recover, such as pain and suffering and punitive damages, depending on your state laws.

What is the average settlement?

There is no average settlement amount in a wrongful death case. Since the facts of every case are different, your recovery will depend on your specific situation. That’s why it’s so important to speak with experienced wrongful death lawyers in Chico, CA as soon as possible.

If your loved one has been killed due to someone else’s negligence, we can help. Call the Law Offices of Max G. Arnold, Inc. today.

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