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Wrongful Death Claims After Violent Acts

By Hess & Nghiem on June 15, 2020

The death of a loved one is never easy, whether it was anticipated or not. Not only is it emotionally taxing, but there are other logistics that must be worked out, such as settling their estate. If your loved one died as a result of a violent act, it could be even more shocking and upsetting than if they had died by means of an accident or natural causes. Although the perpetrator of the violent act will face criminal prosecution for their violent acts and causing a death, you and your family have the right to pursue a civil legal action. You can pursue your options for filing a wrongful death lawsuit by contacting experienced Santa Ana wrongful death lawyers.

Violent Acts Leading to Wrongful Death Claims

Many circumstances can lead up to the basis for a wrongful death claim, such as a car accident or a defective product. A California criminal court will prosecute intentional acts of violence such as assault and battery, rape, or other types of criminal acts that cause death. No matter the criminal outcome or status of the case, family members and other individuals have the right to file a civil wrongful death claim. Criminal and civil cases are kept separate. One could be found guilty in criminal court but not liable in civil court and vice versa, as in the case of The People of the State of California v. Orenthal James Simpson. However, the outcome of one might influence the outcome of the other. Santa Ana wrongful death attorneys can help you build a claim against the person or parties that caused your loved one’s death through an act of violence.

Legal Requirements of a Wrongful Death Claim

The plaintiff always has the burden of proof in a wrongful death case. They must prove that the defendant is the party at fault for causing the death. Meeting this burden of proof involves showing that the defendant’s actions were one of the following:

  • Negligent—The defendant did something wrong or did not do what a reasonable person would do. For example, drunk driving or an assault.
  • Intentional—The death arose from the deliberate actions, with assault and battery being a prime example.  
  • Strictly Liable— Meaning that even if the defendant didn’t do anything wrong, they are still legally responsible. For instance, some states hold dog owners strictly liable if a dog bites or attacks someone, which leads to their death, even if they didn’t know their dog was capable of such acts. 

When an act of violence gives rise to a wrongful death lawsuit, the plaintiff and their Santa Ana wrongful death lawyers must show that the act was deliberate and intentional. 

Get Help from Compassionate Santa Ana Wrongful Death Lawyers

To learn more about how wrongful death claims are handled in California, it is imperative that you speak to a knowledgeable attorney. Only specific individuals are eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit for the decedent, and you have a limited amount of time to exercise your legal rights. Receive your free case consultation from experienced Santa Ana wrongful death attorneys by calling Hess & Nghiem today at (657) 333-5726 or connect with us online.

Posted in: Wrongful Death