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How Can an Assumption of Risk Affect Liability in a Wrongful Death Case?

If you have experienced the wrongful death of a loved one, please accept our heartfelt condolences. It is absolutely normal to have questions, concerns, and stress at this time. Wrongful death can be caused by a car accident, medical malpractice, police negligence, and many other factors. However, anytime a wrongful death occurs, a victim’s heirs do have a right to recover compensation for economic and non-economic damages.

A person who lost his or her life can no longer file a claim on their own behalf. A wrongful death claim gives certain family members the opportunity to seek justice and compensation on behalf of their lost loved one. These lawsuits are different from personal injury lawsuits because they are exclusively filed by the survivor(s) of a person that was wrongfully killed.

If you have lost a loved one in the city of Irvine due to someone’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. At West Coast Trial Lawyers, our experienced Irvine wrongful death attorneys have over 60 years of collective legal experience in handling personal injury cases. With our track record of recovering more than $1 billion in settlements for our clients, we have been ranked as one of the top personal injury law firms in Irvine.

Please don’t hesitate to contact our 24/7 legal team by calling (949) 207-9619 or emailing [email protected] to schedule a free consultation at our Irvine personal injury law firm. 

What Is an Assumption of Risk?

This is a key consideration following a wrongful death. An “assumption of risk” basically means that an individual is aware of a hazard involved in an activity yet goes ahead and takes a chance, knowing they may be hurt in the process. A boxer, for example, assumes the risk of stepping into a boxing ring and is aware that he or she may be seriously hurt or even killed.

For example, say that a boxer suffers a serious brain injury after a boxing match. That boxer cannot then sue for damages after being injured because he or she was aware of the risks involved. It is important to understand that someone who engages in certain extreme sports and high-risk activities will not always be able to sue for damages. Typically, activities that carry an assumption of risk include a signed waiver, but not always. Either way, surviving family members of someone who was killed after participating in an activity that included an assumption of risk may be barred from filing a wrongful death claim.

Types of Wrongful Death Cases We Can Handle

Now that we’ve covered the role an assumption of risk may play in limiting surviving family members’ ability to file a wrongful death claim, let’s examine some of the wrongful death claims our experienced Irvine wrongful death attorneys are able to file on your behalf.

  • Wrongful Death of a Child: Determining a dollar amount for damages when an adult dies is not difficult. For example, damages will involve compensation for financial earnings and emotional support that the deceased would have provided for their spouse/registered domestic partner and/or children had they survived. When it comes to the loss of a child, the parents may recover economic and non-economic damages. 
    • Economic damages. How does a court determine the dollar amount for financial losses? It will consider, for starters, the relationship the deceased child had with those filing a wrongful death claim; the age, health, and general circumstances of those filing a wrongful death claim; sex, age, life expectancy, and general habits of the deceased child; and the deceased child’s earning potential.
    • Non-economic damages. There is no fixed standard for determining a fair amount of compensation for intangible costs. You are expected to use your own judgement in order to determine fair coverage for the loss of a child’s love, comfort, care, companionship, moral support, affection, and protection.
  • Wrongful Death Involving the Police: A wrongful death claim that is brought against the city of Irvine’s police department will be fought hard. These claims have the potential of being settled quickly, especially when the police department wants to avoid bad publicity. Wrongful death claims are filed against the city where the police department that was responsible for the death is located. It is important to understand that some cities will invoke immunity from legal action. Immunity can only really be invoked as a defense when an officer kills someone while using appropriate techniques. Please consult with a skilled Irvine wrongful death attorney to determine whether or not you are entitled to file a wrongful death claim against Irvine’s police department.
  • Wrongful Death and Nursing Homes: Wrongful death claims involving the elderly are particularly tragic. When a patient dies due to abuse or carelessness, the nurse(s) at-fault for the death will face consequences for violating state and federal laws that serve to protect elderly residents. Listed below are several important laws and regulations affecting nursing home residents:
    • The Elder Justice Act of 2009. All nursing home employees must file a written report to federal and state authorities if they suspect elder abuse or other types of crimes being committed in a facility.
    • Nursing Home Reform Act. Monitors nursing home facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding. Nursing homes must provide exquisite services to their patients, and acts of negligence or abuse will be severely punished.
    • Older Americans Act Reauthorized (OAA). Funds elder abuse and neglect programs. It also extensively improves access and quality for services given to older adults.
    • State Nursing Home Laws. These guidelines vary, but typically cover:
      • Appropriate distribution of medication
      • Food and dietary needs
      • Dementia care
      • Management of infections
      • Qualified staff

West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Always Here to Help

If you have lost a loved one in the city of Irvine due to negligence or deliberate acts of malice, you have the right to hold the guilty party responsible for your losses. An Irvine wrongful death attorney at West Coast Trial Lawyers can help you recover compensation for damages.

Call us today at (949) 207-9619 or email [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.

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