The National Safety Council reports that there were 3,680 motor vehicle deaths in California in 2016. This is more than tragic and heartbreaking for thousands of California families. Given Hackard Law's strong presence in disputed estate litigation, we are often asked whether we can represent one or more family members in a wrongful death lawsuit. Our counsel and consideration starts with whether the family member meets California's requirements of standing to bring the claim for wrongful death.
The wrongful death of a family member is almost always occasioned by the wrongful action or inaction of another person. Wrongful means that someone needlessly endangered our loved one - an endangerment that proved fatal. A close examination of the circumstances surrounding the death often reveals that the risks of danger that took one precious life also threatened the lives of many.
California law provides that damages can be recovered for wrongful death - for the loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society and moral support. Explaining these losses to a jury is often accomplished by the telling of stories. Storytelling is the most efficient way for delivering truths and transmitting knowledge. We listened to stories when we were young, and we listen to them when we are old. They move us. They place us at the scene of important events, and they teach us.