Holding Property Owners Accountable for Wrongful Death

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According to the National Floor Safety Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, slips, trips, and falls account for approximately two million hospital emergency room visits annually. Many of these incidents occur as a result of a dangerous condition on another person’s or company’s property. However, while slip and falls are by far the most common injury that occurs while visiting another’s property, those are not the only types of injuries that can occur or cause serious injury while on another person’s property.

Aside from slips and falls, environmental hazards like toxic fumes, explosions, building collapses, and electrical hazards can all lead to a loved one’s injury. Fortunately, while most adverse incidents on another person’s property do not result in serious injuries, many of those who suffer from a slip and fall or other incident while on another person’s property do sustain serious injuries, and sometimes (though thankfully infrequently), if the injury is severe enough, that person may not survive.

In these circumstances, these property owners may be responsible for paying you or your family damages for the wrongful death of your loved one.

Obtaining such compensation is made easier with the assistance of an experienced Los Angeles wrongful death attorney.

Basics of California Wrongful Death Claims

A wrongful death claim seeks compensation for the death of a person who was killed because of the negligent or reckless conduct of another. This can include a dangerous condition on another person’s property that causes the injury. The decedent’s immediate family members, including their spouse and adult children, can bring a wrongful death claim.

If a decedent dies in a wrongful death accident but has no surviving spouse or children, then any person who inherits from the decedent can bring a lawsuit. If no person is in this group, then any person who was financially dependent on the decedent for support can file a wrongful death claim.

Wrongful death lawsuits in California (other than those resulting from medical malpractice) must be filed within two years of the date the decedent passed away.

Elements of a Successful Wrongful Death Claim

You do not necessarily have a wrongful death claim just because a loved one died while on the property of another. Your wrongful death attorney and you would need to possess evidence that meets all of the following criteria:

The Property Owner Owed a Duty of Care

A property owner or business owner owes those who come onto their property a specific duty of care. This duty of care depends on whether the decedent was invited onto the property, was simply allowed to use the property, or was a trespasser.

For example, a wrongful death that happens at a store need only to show that the business owner failed to take reasonable steps to locate and address a dangerous condition on their property.

Conversely, if the decedent was a trespasser, then the property owner would be liable in a wrongful death claim if the owner purposefully or intentionally caused the decedent’s death.

The Property Owner Breached the Duty of Care

Once the applicable duty of care has been determined, you and your wrongful death attorney must show that the property owner breached that obligation by failing to fulfill their legal requirement. Common examples of breaches that can lead to a successful wrongful death claim against businesses include:

  1. Failing to warn about a spill on the floor
  2. Not mopping up a spill or leak within a reasonable amount of time
  3. Operating heavy machinery around customers without safety protections
  4. Allowing sidewalks and parking lots to fall into disrepair, leading to trips and falls
  5. Failing to address other conditions and dangers on the property
  6. Other duties of care violations are similarly proved through evidence of actions or failures to act.

To prevail in a wrongful death lawsuit, you must demonstrate that there was a breach of the duty of care and that it led to your loved one’s passing.

The Person Bringing the Claim and Others Have Suffered Harm

Finally, a wrongful death claim must establish that the claimant has suffered harm that can be compensated through a monetary award. Your wrongful death attorney can seek compensation for economic harm like funeral expenses as well as mental and emotional distress you have suffered.

When the property owner’s behavior was especially cruel, calloused, or shockingly careless, punitive damages may be available as well.

How a Wrongful Death Attorney Assists With Your Claim

Although there is no legal requirement for you to use a California wrongful death attorney’s services, there is a significant advantage in doing so. Your attorney can:

  1. Prepare and file your claim
  2. Gather evidence and interview witnesses necessary for your claim’s success
  3. Handle calls and communications with insurance companies, attorneys, and others
  4. Ensure you are seeking all available damages
  5. Attempt to negotiate a settlement with the business or property owner

If a settlement is impossible, your wrongful death attorney has the necessary skills to take your case to court. Your claim succeeds when your evidence and witnesses prove all elements of your wrongful death case by a preponderance of the evidence.

Seek Help From The Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq.

If your loved one passed away because of an accident on another’s property, you may have the ability to file a wrongful death claim. Schedule a consultation with The Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq., and let us review your case.

If we accept your claim and agree to represent you, you can count on our office to use its resources and skills to seek just compensation from the property owner that caused your loved one’s death.

Contact us today.

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