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Wrongful Death Cuts to the Heart of Family Life

 David L. Goldin, J.D., M.B.A.


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Wrongful death is about family life. If your loved one died as a result of the carelessness or misconduct of another person or entity, the loss to the family may be even more unbearable. That the family is entitled to compensation for this terrible loss goes without saying. In California, the surviving spouse and children, and sometimes parents, are entitled to damages for the loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society and moral support caused by the death of their loved one. Money is the only justice left for this tragic loss of life. Compensation for wrongful death is the law, not just lawyer argument, and it is what is fair.

In addition, the family is entitled to financial support that would have been contributed to the family during the life of the person wrongfully killed. Additional compensation can also be recovered for loss of gifts or benefits that the family would have expected to receive from their loved one; the reasonable value of household services that their loved one would have provided; and compensation for the loss of training and guidance that ended with their loved one's death.

Nothing is more valuable than family life. No amount of compensation can make up for the loss of your loved one. There is no fixed standard for deciding the amount of recoverable damages. The defense argues that money will not bring your loved one back. But the law provides for justice and money is all that is left to balance the scales. 

The presentation of your case requires deep and intimate knowledge of your family life. The jury must be convinced of the profound loss you have suffered in order to reach a fair verdict. Since your loved one can no longer tell his or her story to the jury, you will need thorough investigation and analysis of the underlying facts to show the full picture of life before and after your loved one's death. 

For example, how will each day in your life now be different? How will the death of your loved one affect you and others in your family on birthdays, holidays, and other important occasions?  What were your celebrations like before your loved one's death and what are they like now? The jury must put a value on how good your life was before and what you are left with now without your loved one. Compensation for wrongful death is the law, and it is your lawyer's job to help the jury understand that fair compensation is required even though no amount of money can make up for the death of your loved one.

The jury must compare what was and would have been, with what is and will be, because of this wrongful death. More than almost any other type of case, the compensation the family receives for loss of a loved one depends on the quality of legal representation provided to the family in their wrongful death action.

 

 

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