Last month, Officer Jordan Corder was killed following an accident at the intersection of Citrus Avenue and Puente Street in Covina. Officer Corder, a motorcycle police officer for the Covina Police Department, struck an SUV making a left turn and he was thrown from his motorcycle. He died later at the hospital. Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with Officer Corder's family and with everyone at the Covina Police Department.
Officer Corder's family may be entitled to damages in a wrongful death lawsuit from the driver of the SUV and even his employer depending on the exact circumstances of the accident. Although we do not know any other facts about this specific collision, we can look at other cases to help determine the damages that families have been awarded when they lose a loved one.
What Family Members are Entitled to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
When someone dies in an accident such as the one that took Officer Corder's life, family members may bring a wrongful death action to collect damages from the at-fault party. These actions are brought by dependents of the victim. In California, a spouse, the victim's children, any stepchildren and minors who lived with the victim for at least six months prior to his or her death may be eligible to file a lawsuit.
In the case where a person does not have a spouse, children, stepchildren or other minors in the household that were dependent upon the victim, other relatives may be entitled to pursue compensation. The parties next in line after the spouse and children are:
- Brothers and sisters
- Nieces and nephews of a deceased sibling
- Children of a deceased spouse
- Other relatives
You Can Collect Several Types of Damages in a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit
While no amount of money will bring back your loved one, holding the party responsible for their death can bring you some closure as you seek justice. Monetary compensation will also give your family the financial security that you need after bills pile up as a result of your loss. For a spouse, this can be of vital importance towards ensuring that he or she keeps the family home and is able to take proper care of his or her children in the near and distant future.
Damages that are usually eligible to be compensated from an at-fault party include but are not limited to:
- Funeral expenses
- Property damage
- Medical expenses
- Past lost wages from the date of the accident through the death of the victim if he or she survived after the accident
- Future lost earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of services
- Punitive damages – in some
The type and amount of damages that are recoverable in a lawsuit are determined by the circumstances of the accident and the insurance policies that are available. Each wrongful death lawsuit is different because the circumstances that result in the untimely death of a loved one are always unique. An experienced Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney will help to determine the type of damages and the amount of damages a victim's family is entitled to receive from an at-fault party.
Some people may feel guilty about “profiting” from the death of a loved one; however, no one profits from a person's untimely death, especially the victim's family. There is no amount of money that is going to make a death caused by negligence OK. A claim for compensation is a way for the victim's dependents to have the money they need to continue their lives without the assistance of their deceased loved one.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits Hold Responsible Parties Accountable
In addition to providing closure and closing the financial gap left by a breadwinner's loss, pursuing compensation sends a strong message to the general public that actions such as those that caused the death of your loved one will not be tolerated. It is important that we hold those responsible for the death of a loved one liable for their actions to deter them and others from repeating the actions that resulted in a preventable tragic loss.
By filing a lawsuit and obtaining a monetary judgment, we can deter this type of behavior in the future by “punishing” the responsible party and sending a message to others that they will suffer the same consequences if their actions take the life of another party.
Hiring a Wrongful Death Attorney
If you have lost a loved one, you will likely need to seek the counsel of an experienced attorney. These lawsuits may involve more than one defendant; therefore, having an experienced attorney who can recognize this fact can help you maximize your recovery.
Furthermore, because California wrongful death laws are complex and cases filed under these statutes can be complicated, you need a lawyer who has the skills, knowledge and resources to handle a complex action.