The parents of a 32-year-old intellectually disabled man have filed a wrongful death claim after his death by shooting in Costco earlier this summer. Reportedly, the parents and their son were at Costco when their son pushed or shoved an off-duty police officer in the back at a sample line. The officer then identified himself as a member of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and drew his weapon. Despite pleas by the parents not to shoot and assurances that they did not have weapons, the off-duty officer opened fire and shot all three of them. The parents were both critically injured, and the disabled son did not survive.
The wrongful death lawsuit was filed against the off-duty officer personally, as well as the LAPD and the City of Los Angeles. The claim says that because he identified himself as LAPD before shooting, he was acting in his capacity as a police officer when he fired. We will watch for new developments in the case. As of now, no criminal charges have been filed.
What events can lead to wrongful death claims?
Wrongful death claims can stem from many types of incidents - including physical violence. California law states that a death may be wrongful when it is caused by either the negligence or wrongful act of another party. In many cases, acts of fatal violence result in wrongful death claims. Some additional common causes of wrongful death include:
- Car accidents
- Commercial truck accidents
- Boat accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Construction accidents
- Dog attacks
- Medical malpractice
For a successful wrongful death case, the claimants must prove either negligence or intentional wrongdoing on the part of the defendant. When it comes to violent deaths, it is not a requirement for the defendant to be criminally charged or convicted. Civil wrongful death cases have a lower burden of proof than criminal cases, which have the highest burden of any type of legal case.
Even if the prosecution does not file charges or cannot prove homicide beyond a reasonable doubt, it is often still possible for family members to obtain compensation in a wrongful death case. It is always worth discussing this possibility with a skilled wrongful death attorney in California if your loved one died due to a tragic act of violence.
Who can file a wrongful death claim in California?
After a loved one dies due to the negligence or wrongdoing of others, certain close family members have the right to seek compensation for the wrongful death. In California, eligible family members include:
- The surviving spouse or domestic partner
- Surviving children (and stepchildren who were financially dependent on the deceased)
- If there is no spouse or children, the surviving parents, siblings, or anyone who is in the line of succession
The parents in the above case were able to file the claim since the victim was unmarried with no children. If your loved one dies after an accident and you believe you may have the right to compensation, you should not wait to contact a wrongful death attorney.
Call Blair & Ramirez LLP today to schedule a free case evaluation with our wrongful death attorneys in California
If you have lost a loved one in an incident that you believe was the result of someone else’s wrongful conduct, you should speak to an attorney as soon as you can. At Blair & Ramirez LLP, we are dedicated to helping surviving family members and loved ones get the compensation to which they are entitled under California law. To schedule a free case evaluation with a wrongful death attorney in California, call our office today at (213) 568-4000 or contact us online.