Members of the California law enforcement community continue their investigation into the causes and contributing factors that led to a fatal pedestrian accident in Sherman Oaks on May 31, 2022. According to KTLA News, a person was walking along the northbound 170 Freeway near Victory Boulevard around 10:30 p.m. The victim was struck by a vehicle being operated by a Los Angeles Police Department officer. The individual has not been identified, and it is unclear why he or she was on foot in such a busy urban area.
As police probe the pedestrian incident and notify next of kin, surviving family members may wonder about their options under California law. The circumstances call into play complex liability issues, wrongful death claims, and many other legal concepts. Any accident claim is complicated, so you should rely on a Sherman Oaks personal injury lawyer for help if you were hurt or lost a loved one. The recent pedestrian accident is useful for illustrating some key points.
Wrongful Death Laws in California
In many cases where someone dies in an accident, it is possible for surviving family members to recover compensation under state wrongful death laws. There are two legal concepts to understand since they pertain to the requirements you must meet to recover compensation:
- At their core, most wrongful death claims are based upon the theory of negligence. You must first establish that your loved one was killed because the at-fault party breached the duty to exercise reasonable care. In plain English, this means that the at-fault party owed you or your loved one the attention and care needed to avoid such an event.
- In addition to proving fault by the negligent party, you must also qualify to file a wrongful death case based upon your relationship with the decedent. The surviving spouse, domestic partner, children, and other individuals are eligible depending on the circumstances.
In a successful wrongful death claim, damages may include loss of consortium, education, guidance, support, and many other contributions the decedent would have provided.
Challenges for Survivors
Even when your rights seem clear in a wrongful death lawsuit, there are obstacles that can stand in the way of recovering compensation. For more personal injury accidents, you will be dealing with an insurance company. If the insurer puts its own financial interests first and refuses to pay fair damages, you may need to sue in court.
After the fatal pedestrian accident in Sherman Oaks, surviving family members may also face:
- Issues with suing the LAPD, which is a government body subject to specific rules about personal injury claims; and,
- Claims of contributory negligence, since the victim was walking down a highway late not accessible to pedestrians.
Under California law, victims’ compensation could be reduced if their own negligence was a factor in causing the injuries.
Our Sherman Oaks Personal Injury Attorneys are Prepared for Challenges
Any accident claim involves pitfalls and complications, which is why retaining skilled legal counsel is essential for pursuing at-fault parties. To learn more about your remedies, please contact El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers. You can set up a free case assessment with an experienced California personal injury lawyer by calling (213) 985-1120 or going online.