News broke recently that another lawsuit has arisen from the tragic automobile accident involving a 2005 Porsche Carrera GT that claimed the life of actor Paul Walker and Roger Rodas in November 2013 in the Santa Clarita area northwest of Los Angeles. The widow of the driver of the Porsche, Kristine Rodas, filed suit against Porsche, purportedly alleging negligence, wrongful death and product liability.
Paul Walker’s daughter, Meadow Walker, has alleged in her lawsuit that the car was unsafe and dangerous. According to the L.A. Times, her lawsuit claims Porsche took safety shortcuts, marketed the vehicle as a race car licensed for the road, knew the car had a history of instability, and failed to address safety concerns in the design and manufacture of the vehicle. Claims have surfaced of other deaths related to this particular vehicle.
Wrongful death is the legal term that describes the death of someone that results from someone else’s wrongdoing, negligence, or intentional action. In a wrongful death case, the person who has died can obviously not file a lawsuit on their own behalf. Instead, that person’s spouse, parents, children, or even other family members can file a lawsuit for wrongful death.
It’s easy to confuse wrongful death lawsuits with murder, or other types of crimes, because both types of situations involve someone dying as a result of someone else’s actions. When you are talking about a wrongful death claim, however, it’s important to understand that this is a civil lawsuit, not a criminal case. Even though the person responsible for the death of someone might be criminally liable for the actions that caused the death, a wrongful death case is not the same thing as a criminal charge.
For example, let’s say that your spouse is killed after being hit by a drunk driver. Even if prosecutors choose not to file criminal charges against the driver, you can still file a wrongful death lawsuit against that person. Further, if you file a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver and win, that driver will not face prison or jail because of your lawsuit. Instead, the only thing the judge in a civil lawsuit can do is to order the driver to pay monetary damages. These damages are usually paid by the responsible party’s insurance company.
In any civil lawsuit, the person filing the lawsuit is asking a court to order the wrongdoer to pay compensation for the damage the wrongdoer caused. In wrongful death cases, these damages can arise for many reasons. For example, if it was your spouse who was killed, you can ask the court to award damages for the lost income and financial support your spouse would have provided had he or she remained alive. In addition to economic damages, wrongful death cases can also involve damages for pain and suffering, loss of companionship or affection, and loss of consortium (sexual relations) for the spouse of the deceased person.
If you or someone you know has been injured or harmed in an accident which qualifies as a Wrongful Death claim, it is important to speak with an attorney about your possible rights and remedies. Here at William Rawlings & Associates we offer free consultations and we will come to you if that is more convenient for you and your family. Give our office a call today and put our 35 years of experience and Award winning team to work for you.