California Injury Blog, Wrongful Death
Proving Wrongful Death | Negligence
Like other states, California provides a legal cause of action for the wrongful death of an individual. A death is considered “wrongful” if it’s due to the negligence or other wrongful conduct of another person. Negligence refers to a situation where an individual breaches a legal duty. For example, a doctor has a legal duty to practice medicine with a minimal level of competence (also known as a standard of care). Should a patient die as a result of the doctor not meeting this standard of care, then the doctor may be considered negligent.
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Proving Wrongful Death | Reckless Conduct
Other wrongful acts can include recklessness and intentional conduct. Wrongful death due to intentional conduct refers to exactly what it sounds like – someone’s purposeful actions leading to the death of another. Recklessness can be thought of somewhere in the middle between intentional conduct and negligence.
A good example of reckless conduct might be someone who shoots a gun into a crowd of people intending to scare them but ends up killing someone. This is an action that the shooter clearly knew was dangerous but did it anyway. However, they didn’t intend to actually kill anyone. Contrast this with someone in their backyard taking target practice and accidentally killing a neighbor when a stray bullet goes through the backstop. A court is more likely to find that this accidental death from target practice is the result of negligence rather than recklessness.
Unlike a criminal prosecution for murder, the primary purpose of a wrongful death action is not to punish the person responsible, but to compensate the surviving close family members of the person who has died.
Proving Wrongful Death | Contact Our Ventura Personal Injury Attorneys
If your family has endured the unfortunate tragedy of a death caused by the reckless acts of another individual, please contact our Ventura wrongful death lawyers today to arrange a free consultation.