How Does Comparative Fault Affect Wrongful Death Claims?

comparative fault wrongful death los angeles

Every year, there are about 340 million occupational accidents and 160 million cases of work-related illnesses worldwide. Every day, 6,000 people die of work-related diseases and accidents.

Nothing justifies the untimely and avoidable loss of life, regardless of who is liable. But in the legal context, if a workplace accident resulted in injury or wrongful death, it is only just to determine the party accountable.

Now, what if the victim is supposedly partly at fault for their accident?

The surviving family must see a wrongful death attorney immediately. In Los Angeles, Haffer Law’s personal injury attorneys offer legal advice and representation to the families of people who suffered a fatal injury while at work. Our services will especially benefit the families of victims who got into a fatal accident due to a personal error.

Reviewing Comparative Fault

Los Angeles follows California’s comparative fault law. Comparative fault means that if a person who files a personal injury claim is partly to blame for the accident that caused their injury, the compensation they’ll receive will be reduced according to how much they were at fault.

Here is an example: a pedestrian who walks into a bike lane was hit by a cyclist and broke their arm. An investigation reveals that a sidewalk for pedestrians runs parallel to the bike lane; the pedestrian walks to work and passes by the bike lane every day, and the multiple signs that indicate a bike lane cannot be missed.

In this scenario, it’s certain that the pedestrian is aware of both the bike lane and sidewalk but still chose to use the bike lane. The pedestrian, therefore, is partly at fault for the incident. If the judge or mediator determines their culpability at 40 percent, they can only receive 60 percent of their personal injury compensation claims.

Applying Comparative Fault in Wrongful Death

The comparative fault doctrine still applies in workplace accidents that lead to wrongful death. This is to protect the interests of the party that did their best to fulfill their duty of care, whether they are a worker, supervisor, service provider, or the company itself.

So if the worker who sustains a fatal injury at work is partly at fault, the compensation that the bereaved family can receive will still be reduced based on how much the worker is to blame.

What Can Families of Wrongful Death Victims Include in Their Claims?

Following the rules of comparative fault, an employer that is judged to be partly responsible for a worker’s fatal accident will be ordered to pay damages to the surviving family.

The bereaved can file a claim for the following:

  • Medical costs incurred for the emergency treatment and subsequent hospitalization of the victim
  • Pain and suffering of the deceased and the surviving family
  • Loss of income (especially if the deceased is the breadwinner of the household)
  • Funeral expenses

In most workplace-related wrongful death cases, the employer’s insurance carrier will propose a settlement offer to the family hoping to halt any attempts at a claim.

We recommend declining this settlement because it is most likely less than the actual amount that the deceased’s family is entitled to receive. The next best step is to get in touch with a wrongful death attorney who can determine the maximum compensation you can claim.

Consult Haffner Law’s Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Attorneys

No amount of money can make up for the loss of a loved one, but it is only right to hold the people responsible for your loss accountable for their mistakes and negligence.

Proficient in pursuing claims for workplace-related personal injuries that progress to wrongful death, our personal injury attorneys in L.A. are committed to helping grieving families get their just compensation. If you or someone you know needs help filing a wrongful death claim, we are a phone call and an email away.

Get experienced legal representation today.

(This is an attorney advertisement by Joshua  Haffner)