If a person dies during the commission of a crime, is killed in an auto accident where
the other party is at fault, or dies as a result of medical malpractice, then the
possibility exists that a wrongful death claim may apply.
In any case, a wrongful death is traumatic because it generally revolves around an
unexpected event. When that unexpected event comes about as a result of
negligence or the wrongful act of another person, the basis for a suit exists, if the
negligence or wrongful act can be proven.
In those cases, an attorney will work with the estate or the family of the deceased
person to help them be compensated for their loss. Compensation can take many
Reimbursement for pain and suffering by the victim before they died
Recovery of medical costs
Loss of future income and potential inheritance
Loss of care, love and companionship the deceased would have provided
To prove negligence or a wrongful act, an attorney must prove that a defendant
breached a duty of care to the victim. For example, if a person is driving drunk, and
they get into an accident that kills a person, they breached a duty of care to be
responsible while driving. In other words, the drunk driver was negligent.
Once the breach of care standard is met, the attorney must prove that the breach
caused actual harm to the victim. This is called causation. While this standard may
seem easy to achieve in a drunk driving case, in other instances, such as a medical
malpractice suit, if a patient is near death and gets worse, it could be difficult to
prove that the doctor’s actions or lack of actions were immediately responsible for
Once causation is proven, then the attorney must prove the defendant suffered
damages and how much. An award for a 90-year- old patient will be significantly
less than for that of a young man who dies in a doctor’s care due to negligence.
Choulos, Choulos & Wyle proudly serve clients in San Francisco, Oakland and in
cities throughout the Bay Area.