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What Can Lead to Wrongful Death in Riverside?

Losing a loved one due to the negligent, careless, or intentional actions of another individual or entity is a tragedy. Unfortunately, wrongful death claims arise in various ways in Riverside and throughout this area of California.

Wrongful Death Due to Negligence

The vast majority of wrongful death claims that arise in Riverside revolve around the negligence of other individuals, businesses, or entities. The word “negligence” has a specific meaning in these cases. There are four elements of negligence that must be in place for a wrongful death claim to be successful:

  1. Duty. It must be established that the defendant (the alleged at-fault party) owed a duty of care to the deceased. What the duty of care looks like will vary depending on the situation at hand. For example, property owners have a duty to ensure the safety of their premises for any guest or visitor. Drivers have a responsibility (duty) to operate their vehicles safely on the roadway, establishing a duty of care anytime they get behind the wheel.
  2. Breach. After a duty of care has been established, it must be shown that the defendant breached the duty of care that they owed the deceased in some way. When we look at a vehicle accident wrongful death claim, a person could have breached their duty of care in a number of ways, including driving while intoxicated, driving while distracted, operating too fast for conditions, and more. 
  3. Causation. The plaintiff must establish that the breach of duty of care led directly to the incident that caused the death. For example, if a person operates a vehicle while intoxicated, runs a red light, T-bones another individual, and causes a fatality, this will likely establish causation.
  4. Damages. Finally, it must be shown that the plaintiff suffered monetary losses as a result of the fatality. This can include funeral and burial expenses, pain and suffering losses, loss of future earnings of the deceased, and more.

Wrongful death claims caused by negligence arise in various ways in Riverside. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Car accidents
  • ATV accidents
  • Public transportation accidents
  • Commercial trucking accidents
  • Dog bite incidents
  • Aviation accidents
  • Burn injuries
  • Explosion injuries
  • Nursing home abuse or neglect
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Pedestrian or bicycle accidents
  • Defective product incidents
  • Premises liability incidents
  • Train accidents

Wrongful Death Caused by Intentional Actions

Aside from negligence, we also have to examine intentional actions by other individuals. When a person chooses to cause harm to someone else, this is not negligence. This is acting with malice. There are various ways that individuals can intentionally cause harm to another individual that ultimately lead to that person’s death. This includes, but is not limited to, situations of:

  • Battery
  • Assault
  • Gunshots
  • Stabbings
  • Kidnapping
  • Neglect of basic needs

In these situations, it is entirely possible for an individual to face criminal charges. However, this does not prohibit family members and the estate of the deceased from filing a civil wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party.

Regardless of how a wrongful death claim arises in Riverside, we encourage family members and personal representatives of a person’s estate to contact a skilled Riverside wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney will examine the facts of the case and help determine the best steps moving forward.