In most civil lawsuits that involve somebody’s death because of the negligence of another party, establishing responsibility and fault of that latter party is more or less achievable.
However, holding one legally responsible for another’s suicide presents the surviving family of the decedent with many legal obstacles, since it is not easy to establish responsibility in a suicide. Proving the connection between one’s suicide and another’s reckless, intentional or negligent actions is quite tough, if not impossible.
The family of the decedent being able to hold another person liable for their loved one’s suicide is not uncommon. In such cases, the significance of being legally represented by a wrongful death California based attorney cannot be ignored though.
Do Family of the One Committed Suicide Has the Right to Get Wrongful Death Case Benefits?
Civil courts in California take wrongful death claims based on suicide seriously. In the state, pursuing a wrongful death claim when one has committed suicide is allowed to his or her loved ones. The family of the one who committed suicide might just be entitled to wrongful death benefits provided that:
- Another party (person) owed a duty of care to the decedent.
- The negligence of that party was a major factor in bringing about the suicide.
The concerned family members may be eligible for these benefits if they are able to prove that another party, who was supposed to monitor the individual and his or her mental and emotional health, such as a therapist, medical professional or a counselor, indulged in “damaging” behavior which inflicted severe distress, brought about suicidal thoughts, and in the end led to their loved one’s suicide.
How California Courts Handle a Suicide-Based Wrongful Death Claim?
Considering the severity of claims (if you feel that the defendant party’s negligence, inaction or action, was a major factor which caused your family member’s suicide), you will need to visit the civil court in California with a burden of proof that is somewhat heavy. That is why being represented by a wrongful death lawyer, who would help determine legal responsibility and gather evidence related to the defendant’s fault, is highly recommended.
California courts usually consider certain factors when deciding whether the defendant is liable for causing another’s suicide or not. These factors include the following.
- Was the defendant’s recklessness, intentional actions, act or failure to act, or negligence, a major factor in the suicide of the other person?
- Was it foreseeable for the defendant party to expect the other individual to commit suicide to the extent that the former could prevent it?
- How much time has passed from the defendant’s action or behavior to the other party’s suicide?