HOW IS A WRONGFUL DEATH CLASSIFIED IN LA?
Wrongful death is defined as any death that results from an act of negligence on the part of someone else. The act of negligence must be able to be established beyond doubt. If you believe that a loved one has died because of someone else’s negligence, then you should seek the advice of an experienced Los Angeles wrongful death attorney as soon as possible after the death.
In California, the claim needs to be submitted within two years for most wrongful deaths. In cases of medical negligence or malpractice, the statute of limitations is only a year. For someone who may have been killed as a result of negligence by a state agency, such as would be the case in the example of Milton Olin’s case as described below, then the period for submitting a claim is reduced to 6 months.
All Los Angeles wrongful death cases are brought under the terms of state law. In this state, there is only one joint wrongful death claim allowed against a defendant. That means that all possible heirs to the decedent must bring the claim jointly. This is known as the “One Action Rule”. In fact, the heirs must not only jointly act together, if they think that another person may be entitled to be represented by the action, then that person must be declared at the time of the claim being submitted.
LOS ANGELES DEATH IN RECENT YEARS
Former entertainment attorney Milton Olin died in January of 2014 as a result of a fatal collision between him and a police vehicle on Mulholland Drive. Olin was riding his bicycle at the time and the collision took place in the bike lane. He died at the scene as a result of multiple wounds to the head caused by the police patrol car’s impact.
An investigation has been submitted to the district attorney’s office which has to make a decision whether to prosecute the patrolman who was driving the vehicle at the time of the fatal accident. The driver of the vehicle, Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Deputy Andrew Wood, was himself partially injured in the collision. He has returned to full duty since the accident, but has now been transferred to another unit.
The question whether the deputy’s driving behavior was responsible for Olin’s death may determine whether the victim’s family will go ahead with a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver. The collision was reported to have taken place as the bicyclist and the patrol car were both heading in the same direction on a stretch of the one lane road.
Accidents resulting in serious injuries and fatalities that involve collisions between vehicles and pedestrians or cyclists are reported to be particularly common in Los Angeles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s statistics show that Los Angeles has triple the pedestrian and cyclist accident rate compared to the national average (33% compared to 11.4%)
The fatal accident that Milton Olin was the victim of came 18 months after Governor Jerry Brown specifically rejected proposed legislation which would have provided three feet of room between a cyclist and a passing vehicle, or would require the vehicle to slow down while passing. The legislation, if passed, could have been another factor used to decide whether Deputy Wood was to blame for Olin’s death.
While a successful wrongful death lawsuit often brings a small amount of closure to those who have lost a loved one, there may be immediate counseling needed to help those who have been bereaved as a result of a wrongful death. Here in Los Angeles there are several organizations which help those who have suffered bereavement.
Some specifically cater for children who have lost a parent or parents; others such as the Bereavement group and the Grief Support Group are LA based counseling groups that help all age groups cope with their loss. A number of these groups have grief psychologists, grief psychotherapists and grief counselors who are trained to provide specific help for those who have lost a loved one. Your wrongful death attorney can help direct you to a suitable organization.
LOS ANGELES WRONGFUL DEATH ATTORNYS
If you or someone you know has lost a loved one as a result of another’s negligence, you are not alone. Tofer & Associates’ Los Angeles wrongful death attorneys can help you identify your options and provide you with a free confidential case evaluation.
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Even at the site of an accident, you can call us and we will help you over the phone or send someone to assist you.