THE BARIC BLOG

Compensation in Wrongful Death Cases: What You Need to Know

The emotional toll of losing a loved one due to someone else’s negligence is overwhelming, and so can be the financial implications. While no amount of money can bring back your loved one, legal provisions can help alleviate the financial burden. Let’s dive deep into the world of wrongful death cases and how you can seek justice for your loved one.

What Exactly is Wrongful Death?

When someone’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional wrongdoing results in a fatality, it’s considered a wrongful death. This might be due to car accidents, medical malpractice, or even faulty products. Legally speaking, the responsible party can be held accountable in a civil court.

Common Causes

There are many circumstances that could lead to a wrongful death claim. A few common ones include:

  1. Medical Malpractice:

This happens when healthcare professionals, such as doctors or nurses, fail to provide the standard of care expected in their profession, which results in a patient’s death. This could include misdiagnosis, surgical errors, incorrect medication dosage, or neglect during childbirth. It’s important to note that not all medical errors constitute malpractice; it must be proven that the healthcare professional’s negligence directly resulted in the patient’s death.

  1. Motor Vehicle Accidents:

These are one of the most common causes of wrongful death. Fatal accidents can occur due to several reasons, such as negligent driving, drunk or impaired driving, distracted driving, or reckless behavior. Additionally, accidents may be caused by defective vehicles, where a manufacturing defect or faulty part led to the crash. This could involve brake failures, tire blowouts, or malfunctioning airbags.

  1. Workplace Accidents:

These often occur in high-risk industries like construction, manufacturing, and mining. But they can happen in any work environment. Causes can include equipment malfunctions, insufficient safety measures, exposure to hazardous materials, and employer negligence. It’s the employer’s responsibility to ensure a safe working environment, and failure to do so can lead to wrongful death claims.

  1. Unsafe Property Conditions:

Also known as premises liability, this involves fatal accidents caused by unsafe conditions on a property. For instance, a person might slip and fall due to inadequate lighting or wet floors. Other examples include improperly maintained equipment, building code violations, and inadequate security leading to violent crime. Property owners have a duty to maintain a safe environment, and failure to address potential hazards can result in wrongful death lawsuits.

  1. Defective Products:

Defective or dangerous products can sometimes result in death. This could include faulty electrical appliances, toxic food products, dangerous pharmaceutical drugs, or unsafe children’s toys. Product manufacturers, distributors, and sellers have a legal responsibility to ensure their products are safe for use. If a product is found to have a design flaw, manufacturing defect, or inadequate usage instructions that directly led to a person’s death, it could lead to a wrongful death claim.

The Importance of Compensation

Compensation serves a few key purposes. Primarily, it provides financial support for survivors to cover expenses such as medical bills and lost income. Secondly, it holds the negligent party accountable, discouraging such behavior in the future.

Types of Compensation Available

Survivors may be eligible for different types of compensation, including:

  • Economic Damages
    This category of compensation is intended to cover the concrete financial losses that are a direct result of the wrongful death1. Some of the costs that can be considered here include:
    • Medical expenses: This could include any medical care that the deceased required prior to their death as a result of the negligent action. This could encompass hospital stays, surgeries, medications, physical therapy, and more1.
    • Funeral costs: The costs of a funeral and burial can be surprisingly high, and they are an unfortunate reality following a death. Economic damages can help to cover these costs.
    • Lost income: If the deceased was a primary breadwinner for their family, the loss of their income can have a significant economic impact on the surviving family members. Lost income compensation aims to cover the salary or wages that the deceased would have earned had they lived.
  • Non-Economic Damages
    These damages are meant to compensate for the more abstract or intangible effects of a wrongful death. This category might include:
    • Pain and suffering: The emotional trauma experienced by the surviving loved ones can be compensated under non-economic damages. This might include mental anguish, grief, and suffering.
    • Loss of companionship or consortium: The loss of a loved one also means the loss of their love, companionship, comfort, guidance, and even the loss of marital relations, which is referred to as loss of consortium.
  • Punitive Damages
    These are not awarded in every case, but rather they are reserved for situations where the wrongful act was particularly egregious or carried out with malice. The purpose of punitive damages is not to compensate the survivors but to punish the responsible party and to act as a deterrent for similar actions in the future.

How Compensation is Calculated

Calculating compensation requires evaluating various factors. These can include medical and funeral expenses, loss of financial support, pain and suffering, and loss of companionship.

Role of an Attorney

Wrongful death cases can be complex. Having a skilled attorney by your side can make all the difference. They can guide you through the legal process, negotiate with insurance companies, and advocate for fair compensation.

One such attorney is Steve Baric. With over 25 years of legal experience and recognition as one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in America, Steve is well equipped to handle wrongful death cases. Baric Law offers prospective clients a 100% free complimentary case review and does not charge any fee until the case is won.

Settlements vs. Trials

Cases can either be resolved through out-of-court settlements or trials. Both have their pros and cons. Settlements are quicker and cheaper, but may offer less compensation. Trials can potentially result in higher compensation, but are costlier and more time-consuming.

Emotional and Legal Considerations

While dealing with a wrongful death case, balancing emotional healing and legal matters can be challenging. Seek support from loved ones and professionals to navigate this difficult time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Navigating the legal process can be tricky, particularly when it comes to specific regulations in Southern California. Here are answers to seven of the most frequently asked questions:

Wrongful death occurs when someone’s death is caused by the negligence or intentional acts of another individual or entity. This can result from various situations like car accidents, medical malpractice, unsafe work conditions, and defective products.

Generally, immediate family members like spouses, children, and parents can file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, laws can vary by state, so it’s important to consult with an attorney to determine eligibility.

Survivors may receive various types of compensation, including economic damages for financial losses (e.g., medical bills, funeral costs), non-economic damages for intangible losses (e.g., pain and suffering), and in some cases, punitive damages to punish the wrongdoer.

Several factors can influence the calculation of compensation in a wrongful death case. These include economic and non-economic damages, the deceased’s income and earning capacity, and the survivors’ pain and suffering.

Each state has its own statute of limitations, which specifies the timeframe within which a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed. It’s critical to consult with an attorney to ensure compliance with these deadlines.

Yes, non-economic damages can encompass emotional distress resulting from the wrongful death of a loved one. This can cover psychological trauma and loss of emotional support and companionship.

Not all wrongful death cases go to court. Many are resolved through settlements negotiated between the involved parties. However, if a fair settlement cannot be reached, the case may proceed to trial.

Final Thoughts

Losing a loved one due to someone else’s negligence is traumatic. Understanding your rights and the complexities of wrongful death compensation is crucial. If you’re facing such a situation, don’t hesitate to reach out to Baric Law.

At Baric Law, we’re here to help. As a former prosecutor and one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in America, Steve Baric has the experience and skills necessary to guide you through this complex process. Contact us at (833) 467-2022 or email sbaric@bariclaw.com to schedule your free 30-minute case evaluation.

References

  1. Cornell Law School, Wrongful Death ↩ ↩2
  2. American Bar Association, Understanding Wrongful Death Lawsuits ↩ ↩2
  3. American Association for Justice, The Value of the Civil Justice System ↩
  4. Legal Information Institute, Economic Damages ↩
  5. Legal Information Institute, Non-Economic Damages ↩
  6. American Bar Association, Punitive Damages: A Legal Overview ↩
  7. American Bar Association, Calculating Wrongful Death Damages ↩
  8. Legal Information Institute, [Wrongful Death Act](https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex ↩ ↩2

NEED HELP?

Our team is here to assist you. Give us a call and we will be happy to discuss your case in a no-obligation consultation.

Kathleen Monroe
Kathleen Monroe
2023-10-26
All attorneys are not created equal. Steve Baric is in a class by himself. I would give him 10 STARS but it only went up to 5. I had hired the wrong attorney who did ZERO and Steve jumped in and became my HERO! Losing your quality of life & pain & suffering are real. Insurance companies try to minimize your injuries and damages in spite of their insured's negligence. When Steve earnestly told me he would FIGHT FOR ME...I knew I had finally found the right attorney. He is super smart, strategic, compassionate to his client's pain and suffering & most of all he is laser focused on results. He thinks outside the box. I have so much gratitude for Steve Baric. If you are looking for a PI Attorney...forget the rest...Steve Baric is the BEST!
Kevin Muldoon
Kevin Muldoon
2023-08-10
Great law firm with an experienced trial attorney not afraid to go to trial.
Ford Prepon
Ford Prepon
2023-08-09
Mr. Baric is a very professional attorney. He has led me step by step in what to do, and what to expect in my case. He communicates often, and his team is wonderful, answers all my questions any time I call. I feel very lucky to have found such a caring team to represent me. Mr. Baric is a very professional attorney. He has led me step by step in what to do, and what to expect in my case. He communicates often, and his team is wonderful, answers all my questions any time I call. I feel very lucky to have found such a caring team to represent me.
Amanda Roberts
Amanda Roberts
2023-08-09
I only reached out through email and text, but there was a few times that I was rudely talked to by staff. But they did get my medical bills reduced tremendously.
Ak Subramanian
Ak Subramanian
2023-08-08
Baric Law firm is a good firm and would recommend to anybody who is looking for a good representation. I never had a hard time getting in contact with my lawyer Steve Baric. Team was always professional and respectful and kept me updated with my case they also made wellness calls to see how I was doing.
Miriam Lopez
Miriam Lopez
2023-08-03
Me and my son were involved in a car accident, and I was referred to Baric Law firm by a friend. Since my son was a minor at the time. I handled everything for him. I was very impressed with Steve Baric from the beginning to the end. Very caring and always their to answer my calls whenever I had a question. Thankfully the accident was not as bad and my son and I suffered minor injuries. They constantly followed up with my son and I, to make sure we were improving, they also helped me with my car repair. They negotiated on our behalf and got us a great settlement amount. Everyone in the office is kind and knowledgeable. My son and I were very happy with the compensation we received. Thank you.
Alex O.
Alex O.
2023-08-02
Steve Baric and his team are outstanding and meticulous in their work. From the moment you seek their legal counsel, to the very end, you know this team puts in a very good fight. The Baric’s staff are very attentive to your needs and professional about how they handle your case. I highly recommend them and stop thanking them for their help.
Nichole Calandrella
Nichole Calandrella
2023-08-01
Steve Baric and Baric Law are the best of the best. Highly knowledgeable about a range of legal issues, and the impressive ability to communicate and act on that knowledge. Steve is able to tackle your case quickly, and with his experience, you feel comfortable and in capable hands. I highly recommend Baric Law.
Patricia Welch-Foster
Patricia Welch-Foster
2023-07-29
Knowledgeable and hard working firm to ensure the best outcome for their clients

THE BARIC BLOG

Compensation in Wrongful Death Cases: What You Need to Know

The emotional toll of losing a loved one due to someone else’s negligence is overwhelming, and so can be the financial implications. While no amount of money can bring back your loved one, legal provisions can help alleviate the financial burden. Let’s dive deep into the world of wrongful death cases and how you can seek justice for your loved one.

What Exactly is Wrongful Death?

When someone’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional wrongdoing results in a fatality, it’s considered a wrongful death. This might be due to car accidents, medical malpractice, or even faulty products. Legally speaking, the responsible party can be held accountable in a civil court.

Common Causes

There are many circumstances that could lead to a wrongful death claim. A few common ones include:

  1. Medical Malpractice:

This happens when healthcare professionals, such as doctors or nurses, fail to provide the standard of care expected in their profession, which results in a patient’s death. This could include misdiagnosis, surgical errors, incorrect medication dosage, or neglect during childbirth. It’s important to note that not all medical errors constitute malpractice; it must be proven that the healthcare professional’s negligence directly resulted in the patient’s death.

  1. Motor Vehicle Accidents:

These are one of the most common causes of wrongful death. Fatal accidents can occur due to several reasons, such as negligent driving, drunk or impaired driving, distracted driving, or reckless behavior. Additionally, accidents may be caused by defective vehicles, where a manufacturing defect or faulty part led to the crash. This could involve brake failures, tire blowouts, or malfunctioning airbags.

  1. Workplace Accidents:

These often occur in high-risk industries like construction, manufacturing, and mining. But they can happen in any work environment. Causes can include equipment malfunctions, insufficient safety measures, exposure to hazardous materials, and employer negligence. It’s the employer’s responsibility to ensure a safe working environment, and failure to do so can lead to wrongful death claims.

  1. Unsafe Property Conditions:

Also known as premises liability, this involves fatal accidents caused by unsafe conditions on a property. For instance, a person might slip and fall due to inadequate lighting or wet floors. Other examples include improperly maintained equipment, building code violations, and inadequate security leading to violent crime. Property owners have a duty to maintain a safe environment, and failure to address potential hazards can result in wrongful death lawsuits.

  1. Defective Products:

Defective or dangerous products can sometimes result in death. This could include faulty electrical appliances, toxic food products, dangerous pharmaceutical drugs, or unsafe children’s toys. Product manufacturers, distributors, and sellers have a legal responsibility to ensure their products are safe for use. If a product is found to have a design flaw, manufacturing defect, or inadequate usage instructions that directly led to a person’s death, it could lead to a wrongful death claim.

The Importance of Compensation

Compensation serves a few key purposes. Primarily, it provides financial support for survivors to cover expenses such as medical bills and lost income. Secondly, it holds the negligent party accountable, discouraging such behavior in the future.

Types of Compensation Available

Survivors may be eligible for different types of compensation, including:

  • Economic Damages
    This category of compensation is intended to cover the concrete financial losses that are a direct result of the wrongful death1. Some of the costs that can be considered here include:
    • Medical expenses: This could include any medical care that the deceased required prior to their death as a result of the negligent action. This could encompass hospital stays, surgeries, medications, physical therapy, and more1.
    • Funeral costs: The costs of a funeral and burial can be surprisingly high, and they are an unfortunate reality following a death. Economic damages can help to cover these costs.
    • Lost income: If the deceased was a primary breadwinner for their family, the loss of their income can have a significant economic impact on the surviving family members. Lost income compensation aims to cover the salary or wages that the deceased would have earned had they lived.
  • Non-Economic Damages
    These damages are meant to compensate for the more abstract or intangible effects of a wrongful death. This category might include:
    • Pain and suffering: The emotional trauma experienced by the surviving loved ones can be compensated under non-economic damages. This might include mental anguish, grief, and suffering.
    • Loss of companionship or consortium: The loss of a loved one also means the loss of their love, companionship, comfort, guidance, and even the loss of marital relations, which is referred to as loss of consortium.
  • Punitive Damages
    These are not awarded in every case, but rather they are reserved for situations where the wrongful act was particularly egregious or carried out with malice. The purpose of punitive damages is not to compensate the survivors but to punish the responsible party and to act as a deterrent for similar actions in the future.

How Compensation is Calculated

Calculating compensation requires evaluating various factors. These can include medical and funeral expenses, loss of financial support, pain and suffering, and loss of companionship.

Role of an Attorney

Wrongful death cases can be complex. Having a skilled attorney by your side can make all the difference. They can guide you through the legal process, negotiate with insurance companies, and advocate for fair compensation.

One such attorney is Steve Baric. With over 25 years of legal experience and recognition as one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in America, Steve is well equipped to handle wrongful death cases. Baric Law offers prospective clients a 100% free complimentary case review and does not charge any fee until the case is won.

Settlements vs. Trials

Cases can either be resolved through out-of-court settlements or trials. Both have their pros and cons. Settlements are quicker and cheaper, but may offer less compensation. Trials can potentially result in higher compensation, but are costlier and more time-consuming.

Emotional and Legal Considerations

While dealing with a wrongful death case, balancing emotional healing and legal matters can be challenging. Seek support from loved ones and professionals to navigate this difficult time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Navigating the legal process can be tricky, particularly when it comes to specific regulations in Southern California. Here are answers to seven of the most frequently asked questions:

Wrongful death occurs when someone’s death is caused by the negligence or intentional acts of another individual or entity. This can result from various situations like car accidents, medical malpractice, unsafe work conditions, and defective products.

Generally, immediate family members like spouses, children, and parents can file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, laws can vary by state, so it’s important to consult with an attorney to determine eligibility.

Survivors may receive various types of compensation, including economic damages for financial losses (e.g., medical bills, funeral costs), non-economic damages for intangible losses (e.g., pain and suffering), and in some cases, punitive damages to punish the wrongdoer.

Several factors can influence the calculation of compensation in a wrongful death case. These include economic and non-economic damages, the deceased’s income and earning capacity, and the survivors’ pain and suffering.

Each state has its own statute of limitations, which specifies the timeframe within which a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed. It’s critical to consult with an attorney to ensure compliance with these deadlines.

Yes, non-economic damages can encompass emotional distress resulting from the wrongful death of a loved one. This can cover psychological trauma and loss of emotional support and companionship.

Not all wrongful death cases go to court. Many are resolved through settlements negotiated between the involved parties. However, if a fair settlement cannot be reached, the case may proceed to trial.

Final Thoughts

Losing a loved one due to someone else’s negligence is traumatic. Understanding your rights and the complexities of wrongful death compensation is crucial. If you’re facing such a situation, don’t hesitate to reach out to Baric Law.

At Baric Law, we’re here to help. As a former prosecutor and one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in America, Steve Baric has the experience and skills necessary to guide you through this complex process. Contact us at (833) 467-2022 or email sbaric@bariclaw.com to schedule your free 30-minute case evaluation.

References

  1. Cornell Law School, Wrongful Death 2
  2. American Bar Association, Understanding Wrongful Death Lawsuits 2
  3. American Association for Justice, The Value of the Civil Justice System
  4. Legal Information Institute, Economic Damages
  5. Legal Information Institute, Non-Economic Damages
  6. American Bar Association, Punitive Damages: A Legal Overview
  7. American Bar Association, Calculating Wrongful Death Damages
  8. Legal Information Institute, [Wrongful Death Act](https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex 2

NEED HELP?

Our team is here to assist you. Give us a call and we will be happy to discuss your case in a no-obligation consultation.

Kathleen Monroe
Kathleen Monroe
2023-10-26
All attorneys are not created equal. Steve Baric is in a class by himself. I would give him 10 STARS but it only went up to 5. I had hired the wrong attorney who did ZERO and Steve jumped in and became my HERO! Losing your quality of life & pain & suffering are real. Insurance companies try to minimize your injuries and damages in spite of their insured's negligence. When Steve earnestly told me he would FIGHT FOR ME...I knew I had finally found the right attorney. He is super smart, strategic, compassionate to his client's pain and suffering & most of all he is laser focused on results. He thinks outside the box. I have so much gratitude for Steve Baric. If you are looking for a PI Attorney...forget the rest...Steve Baric is the BEST!
Kevin Muldoon
Kevin Muldoon
2023-08-10
Great law firm with an experienced trial attorney not afraid to go to trial.
Ford Prepon
Ford Prepon
2023-08-09
Mr. Baric is a very professional attorney. He has led me step by step in what to do, and what to expect in my case. He communicates often, and his team is wonderful, answers all my questions any time I call. I feel very lucky to have found such a caring team to represent me. Mr. Baric is a very professional attorney. He has led me step by step in what to do, and what to expect in my case. He communicates often, and his team is wonderful, answers all my questions any time I call. I feel very lucky to have found such a caring team to represent me.
Amanda Roberts
Amanda Roberts
2023-08-09
I only reached out through email and text, but there was a few times that I was rudely talked to by staff. But they did get my medical bills reduced tremendously.
Ak Subramanian
Ak Subramanian
2023-08-08
Baric Law firm is a good firm and would recommend to anybody who is looking for a good representation. I never had a hard time getting in contact with my lawyer Steve Baric. Team was always professional and respectful and kept me updated with my case they also made wellness calls to see how I was doing.
Miriam Lopez
Miriam Lopez
2023-08-03
Me and my son were involved in a car accident, and I was referred to Baric Law firm by a friend. Since my son was a minor at the time. I handled everything for him. I was very impressed with Steve Baric from the beginning to the end. Very caring and always their to answer my calls whenever I had a question. Thankfully the accident was not as bad and my son and I suffered minor injuries. They constantly followed up with my son and I, to make sure we were improving, they also helped me with my car repair. They negotiated on our behalf and got us a great settlement amount. Everyone in the office is kind and knowledgeable. My son and I were very happy with the compensation we received. Thank you.
Alex O.
Alex O.
2023-08-02
Steve Baric and his team are outstanding and meticulous in their work. From the moment you seek their legal counsel, to the very end, you know this team puts in a very good fight. The Baric’s staff are very attentive to your needs and professional about how they handle your case. I highly recommend them and stop thanking them for their help.
Nichole Calandrella
Nichole Calandrella
2023-08-01
Steve Baric and Baric Law are the best of the best. Highly knowledgeable about a range of legal issues, and the impressive ability to communicate and act on that knowledge. Steve is able to tackle your case quickly, and with his experience, you feel comfortable and in capable hands. I highly recommend Baric Law.
Patricia Welch-Foster
Patricia Welch-Foster
2023-07-29
Knowledgeable and hard working firm to ensure the best outcome for their clients

“AS DISTRICT ATTORNEY OF ORANGE COUNTY, I COUNTED ON STEVE TO TRY THE TOUGHEST CASES WITH THE HIGHEST STAKES. HE NEVER MET A CASE HE COULDN'T HANDLE.”

~ Tony Rackauckas
Orange County District Attorney (Retired)

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