The death of a family member will be extremely painful in most cases. The mental anguish that you are likely to go through, in this case, will be worse if you lose your loved one because of the reckless actions or negligence of someone else. However, you are eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the opposite party in such cases. This way, you can hold the person responsible for your irreparable loss. You can also claim for punitive damages in such cases.
Plus, you are likely to encounter a number of financial obligations because of the death of your family member such as the funeral expenses, medical bills, loss of wages, etc. You can claim all such economic damages and non-economic damages including your pain, suffering, loss of support, etc. by filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
However, things will be not this easy for the family members of a victim, who committed suicide. In such cases, you are likely to face several legal obstacles. After all, establishing fault in a suicide case is not that easy. This explains the significance of hiring the services of a well-experienced wrongful death attorney to represent such cases.
To prove the liability in suicide cases, one will have to prove the negligence, reckless or intentional actions, omission to act, etc., of the defendant. Sadly, this is extremely challenging when compared to the usual wrongful death cases. Still, this is not completely impossible. In fact, California is one of the few states in the United States of America where suicide-based wrongful death cases are given significance. The family members are entitled to obtain wrongful death damages as well in the golden state. Note that some states in the US prohibit filing a wrongful death lawsuit after the suicide of a family member.
However, the family members of the deceased can obtain compensation only if the opposite party had a duty of care towards the deceased. Otherwise, you will have to prove their significant role in the death. You can also claim for benefits if you can prove that the damaging behavior of the defendant triggered emotional distress in the victim that led to suicidal thoughts, and eventually the suicide. For this, you will have to prove that the defendant mocked, harassed, discriminated, defamed, or ridiculed the deceased. Usually, the courts in California consider the following factors to determine the liability of the defendant.
- Were the actions of the defendant substantial for the suicide of the victim?
- Could the defendant foresee the aftermath of his/her actions?
- Was the defendant aware of the suicide tendencies displayed by the victim?
- How much time passed between the act of suicide and the defendant’s act?