Compassionate guidance for bereaved families in Los Angeles and around the state
Dealing with the death of a loved one is traumatic no matter what the circumstances are. If the death was caused by the carelessness or other wrongdoing of another, the family of the dead has recourse through specific statutes known as “wrongful death” and “survival” proceedings.
If you or a loved one has died as a result of medical malpractice or other medical malfeasance by a California medical practitioner, Heimberg Barr LLP is here to help. Since 1993, the company has provided caring and thorough assistance to families throughout the state. Call the office immediately to set up a free consultation with wrongful death in Los Angeles lawyer about your case.
Medical malpractice and wrongful death
In 2016, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers “estimated that more than 250,000 fatalities in the United States are caused by medical mistake.” Their findings, published on May 3 in the British Medical Journal, place medical malpractice as the second largest cause of mortality in the United States, trailing only respiratory illness, which kills almost 150,000 people each year.
The following are some of the most prevalent cases of deadly medical malpractice:
- Adequate Management / Treatment
- Diagnosis Errors / Delayed Diagnosis
- Surgical Mistakes
- Anesthesia mistakes
- OB/GYN mistakes
- Errors in medication Diagnostic errors
- Infections that go untreated
- Negligence at the emergency room
In LA, who can bring a wrongful death lawsuit?
Specific persons have the legal right to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit under California law. There can be only one wrongful death claim filed, and all other parties with a claim to compensation can be identified as plaintiffs in that claim. In California, those having legal standing to initiate a wrongful death lawsuit include:
- The decedent’s wife
- Domestic companion
- Grandchildren (if the dead person’s children have died)
- If there is no living spouse or children, parents or siblings may be considered.
- Stepchildren or other minors who relied on the deceased for at least half of their financial support
- Other people who potentially inherit from the deceased under California’s intestate succession law
What distinguishes a survival action from a wrongful death claim?
The family is reimbursed for its losses in a wrongful death claim. The state permits a deceased’s estate to collect for injuries or losses sustained by the decedent immediately before death in a survival action.
Plaintiffs may recover damages under the Los Angeles survival action statute that cover “the loss or damage that the decedent sustained or incurred prior to death, including any penalties or punitive or exemplary damages that the decedent would have been entitled to recover had the decedent lived, but do not include damages for pain, suffering, or disfigurement.” (377.30 of the Code of Civil Procedure)
In other words, a survival case permits plaintiffs to collect the damages that the dead would have received if he or she had survived the occurrence. These losses may include:
- Medical costs
- Wages lost
Pain and suffering claims are not permitted in survival proceedings. However, they do allow for punitive damages, which are meant to penalize the perpetrator for his or her carelessness.