wrongful death lawsuit payouts

Losing a loved one is an indescribable pain that carries enormous emotional and financial burdens. In the wake of such a tragedy, families often seek justice through wrongful death lawsuits, hoping to obtain compensation for their loss.

 

This post aims to shed light on the potential payouts for wrongful death settlement in Los Angeles, providing families with a clearer understanding of what to expect and how to manage this difficult time.

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What Constitutes Wrongful Death?

A wrongful death occurs when someone’s life is taken due to the negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions of another party. This could arise from various circumstances, including medical malpractice, car accidents, defective products, workplace accidents, unsafe premises, or even criminal activities.

 

In Los Angeles, wrongful death claims are governed by specific state laws designed to provide relief to the deceased’s beneficiaries. These laws aim to hold the responsible parties accountable while providing financial support to those left behind.

The legal framework for wrongful death cases in LA is outlined under the California Code of Civil Procedure § 377.60. This statute allows certain family members, such as spouses, children, domestic partners, and sometimes parents, to file a wrongful death claim. (Read more: Who Qualifies as an Heir in a California Wrongful Death Case?)

 

To succeed in a wrongful death lawsuit, plaintiffs must prove four key elements:

  1. Duty of Care: The defendant had a legal obligation to the deceased.
  2. Breach of Duty: The defendant breached that duty through negligence or intentional harm.
  3. Causation: The breach directly caused the death.
  4. Damages: The death led to quantifiable losses for the beneficiaries.

The statute of limitations to file a claim for wrongful death damages in California is two years from the date of death. However, there are exceptions to this rule, such as cases involving government entities or medical malpractice.

 

It is also important to note that in LA, a wrongful death claim can be filed even if the defendant was acquitted in a criminal trial related to the death. This is because the burden of proof in a civil case is lower than in a criminal case.

Wrongful Death Lawsuit Payouts and Compensation

Types of Compensation

When discussing wrongful death settlement amounts, it’s essential to understand the different types of compensation available:

  1. Economic Damages: These are tangible losses that can be quantified in monetary terms. They include medical expenses incurred before death, funeral and burial costs, lost income, and loss of future earnings.
  2. Non-Economic Damages: These compensate for intangible losses such as pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and emotional distress. While more subjective, these are equally crucial in recognizing the profound impact of the loss.
  3. Punitive Damages: In cases where the defendant’s actions were particularly egregious, the court may award these damages to punish the wrongdoer and prevent similar behavior in the future.

Basis of the Payout

The wrongful death lawsuit payouts depend on various factors, including the deceased’s age, health, earning potential, present and future losses, and the circumstances surrounding the death.

 

Courts also consider the relationship between the deceased and the beneficiaries, as well as the financial and emotional impact on the surviving family members.

The Difference Between a Wrongful Death Claim and a Lawsuit

While a wrongful death claim and a lawsuit both aim to seek compensation for the death of a loved one, they differ in their approach and execution.

 

A wrongful death claim is a request for payment submitted to the at-fault party’s insurance company. If the insurance company agrees to a fair settlement, the matter is resolved without going to court.

 

This can be a quicker and less adversarial process, though it may not always result in the maximum possible compensation.

 

On the other hand, a wrongful death lawsuit involves taking the case to court if the insurance company denies the claim or offers an insufficient settlement. This is a formal legal action filed by the beneficiaries against the defendant.

 

While potentially more time-consuming and stressful, a lawsuit can lead to a higher payout as it allows the court to evaluate all evidence and circumstances surrounding the wrongful death.

Where Do Wrongful Death Lawsuit Payouts Come From?

A wrongful death settlement in Los Angeles typically comes from the responsible party’s insurance policies, such as liability insurance in car accidents or malpractice insurance in medical cases. In some instances, the defendant may personally pay the compensation if not adequately insured.

 

For example, in a wrongful death medical malpractice case, the payout may come from the doctor’s or hospital’s MedMal insurance. However, if the insurance policy limit is insufficient to cover all damages, the responsible party’s personal assets may be used to make up for the difference.

 

The money is typically paid out through a structured settlement plan, rather than a lump sum. This means that the compensation is divided into regular payments over a period of time, usually several years. This can help ensure that the family receives consistent financial support for an extended period.

 

In some cases, settlements from a wrongful death suit may also come from government funds or grants. For example, in cases involving workplace accidents or exposure to hazardous materials, the family may be eligible for compensation through workers’ compensation programs.

Average Wrongful Death Settlement in California: Examples

average wrongful death settlement in california

Case 1: Wrongful Death Due to Medical Malpractice

In 2019, a Los Angeles jury awarded a family $8 million in a wrongful death lawsuit against a healthcare provider. The case involved a delayed diagnosis that led to the patient’s untimely death. The personal injury compensation included both economic and non-economic damages, recognizing the family’s financial losses and emotional suffering.

Case 2: Wrongful Death Cause by a Car Accident

A wrongful death case from a tragic car accident resulted in a $5.7 million settlement for the victim’s family. The accident occurred when the defendant driver, who was texting and driving, ran a red light at a busy intersection, hitting the victim’s car. The victim, a beloved father and husband, succumbed to his injuries shortly after the crash.

 

The court found the defendant driver negligent, and the settlement amount covered medical bills, funeral costs, and loss of future earnings, providing some financial relief to the grieving family.

Case 3: Wrongful Death Due to a Defective Product

In a high-profile case involving a defective product, a Los Angeles family received a $12 million settlement after their loved one died due to a faulty airbag. The incident occurred when the airbag in their vehicle improperly deployed during a minor accident, causing fatal injuries.

 

The manufacturer was held liable for producing a dangerous product, having failed to ensure the safety and reliability of the airbag system. The settlement provided substantial financial relief to the grieving family and highlighted the importance of strict quality control in the automotive industry.

Seeking Damages from a Wrongful Death Settlement
in Los Angeles

Receiving a significant wrongful death settlement in California can be overwhelming, especially during a time of grief. Families should consider working with financial advisors to manage the funds wisely. Creating a long-term financial plan can ensure that wrongful death lawsuit payouts provide truly lasting support.

Planning for the Future

Think about future needs, such as education for children, retirement planning, and healthcare expenses. Proper financial planning can help secure the family’s future and provide peace of mind.

Coping with Loss

While financial compensation can alleviate some burdens, the emotional impact of losing a loved one is profound. Seeking support from counselors, support groups, and community resources can help families navigate their grief and find healing.

Maximize Your Settlement Amount from a Wrongful Death Case in LA. Call RTM Law for a Free Consultation.

Knowing the potential financial support available through wrongful death lawsuits can provide some relief after the loss of a loved one.

 

Wrongful death lawsuit payouts in Los Angeles are determined by several factors, which an attorney will be able to pinpoint and highlight in your favor.

 

RTM Law, APC Personal Injury Attorney is committed to supporting families through this difficult process. Our experienced wrongful death lawyers in LA and throughout California are here to help you understand your rights, manage the legal process, and secure the money you need to move forward.

 

If you or someone you know has suffered a wrongful death in the family,  reach out to us for a compassionate and professional consultation.

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