The loss of a loved one has a lasting impact on family members - both emotionally and financially. The death of a family member caused by another person's negligence or criminal conduct may give rise to a wrongful death claim. The victim's family members can file this kind of claim on behalf of their loved one's estate. Damages awarded as a result of the cause of action go to the deceased person's estate and are distributed as directed by the deceased's will.
Recently, a pedestrian was struck and killed by a bicyclist in San Francisco. Reportedly, the 71-year-old man was walking with his wife in the Castro District when the 36-year-old cyclist struck him. Witnesses said the cyclist blew through a red light at Castro and Market streets before striking the man. The pedestrian later died from injuries caused by blunt force trauma.
The District Attorney says he has evidence to prove the cyclist acted with "gross negligence" and broke several traffic laws leading up to the accident. There is reportedly video evidence of the cyclist blowing through the red light at the intersection where the accident occurred, making no attempt to stop before hitting the victim. This evidence would coincide with statements from witnesses, who say they saw the cyclist run several stop signs prior to the accident. The cyclist was ordered to appear in court last week at his preliminary hearing.
A wrongful death claim may arise in a variety of cases, including medical malpractice and automobile accidents. Even if criminal charges are pending against the accused, the surviving family members may be able to file a claim. The loss of a loved one is devastating, especially where such a loss could have been prevented. Families who have lost loved ones in an accident should know that they may be entitled to compensation for their loss.
Source: SFWeekly, "Chris Bucchere, Cyclist Accused of Killing Elderly Man, Headed to Court Today," Erin Sherbert, Sept. 14, 2012