In Florida, a civil lawsuit may be brought as a result of the death of an individual caused by the willful or negligent conduct of another. Wrongful death actions differ from your typical negligence action with regard to standing requirements and recoverable damages. This article discusses the elements of a wrongful death cause of action, and the damages available to the plaintiff.
A variety of criminal acts can be the basis of civil suits for damages. When defending a civil action with potential criminal charges, or an unresolved criminal case, defense handling can get complicated. Specifically, when a civil plaintiff notices the deposition of a defendant who potentially risks self-incrimination. Often, motor vehicle-related deaths result with both a criminal prosecution for vehicular manslaughter and a civil suit for wrongful death. In light of potential criminal charges, it is critical for civil defense counsel to monitor the statute of limitations and delay the civil action accordingly.
The California Court of Appeal recently affirmed the lower court’s granting of summary judgment to the Regents of the University of California (“Regents”) in a case arising out of a tragic bicycle accident that occurred on the Great Meadow Bikeway located on the campus of the University of California, Santa Cruz (“UCSC”). The case – Burgueno v. Regents of the University of California (2015) WL 9700324 – strengthens governmental immunity for injuries sustained on property open to the public for “recreational purposes.”
Wrongful death actions occur when someone is killed by another person’s negligence or misconduct. In California, the cause of action for wrongful death is a statutory remedy. (C.C.P. § 377.60.) C.C.P. § 377.61 defines the types of damages which may be recoverable in a wrongful death action. Damages in a wrongful death action are measured by the situation existing at the time of the act. (McLaughlin v. United Railroads of San Francisco (1915) 169 Cal. 494.) Compensable damages in a wrongful death action include 1) loss of contributions and services, 2) loss of society, comfort and protection, 3) funeral and medical expenses, and 4) grief and suffering.
Life is precious. When it is lost prematurely, the grief and anger of the decedent’s family and loved ones can be immeasurable. They often turn to the legal system to measure their loss by way of a wrongful death lawsuit against the individual or corporate entity believed to be at fault for the unfortunate situation.