The family of a college football player is facing a wrongful death suit. Their son died at a practice session in February of 2014 has filed suit against the Regents of the University of California, alleging his death could have been avoided but for the negligence of the coaching staff. Ted Agu, 21, struggled through a supervised run before his coaches pulled him from the exercise. He was en route to the team’s medical facility when he collapsed and died.
A wrongful death lawsuit works in much the same way as a personal injury lawsuit, the difference being that it alleges that a death, rather than an injury, resulted from the negligence or wrongful act of another person or party. It is a form of a civil suit, and can be filed even if criminal charges are pending.
Who can pursue wrongful death damages?
In California, a number of different people may file a wrongful death suit, the main requirement being that they are relatives or dependents of the deceased. Parents, spouses, children, siblings, grandparents and any non-relatives who were financially dependent upon the deceased may be eligible to file a wrongful death suit. Damages are awarded as a lump sum, and all parties to the suit must split the award amongst themselves. Sometimes, if an agreement cannot be reached, this process is also left up to the court.
Damages awarded for wrongful death are generally intended to cover final medical and funeral expenses for the deceased, as well as account for the loss of both known and potential income and the loss of relationship and community.
The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death suit in California is two years in a general negligence action. In medical malpractice matters, the statute of limitations is one year from the date of the procedure or the date that you either knew, or should have known that the health care providers conduct caused or contributed to the death. After this time, it becomes next to impossible for a family to even file such a suit, much less be awarded damages.
If you believe the death of a loved one was caused by the negligence of another person or entity, speak with a knowledgeable Kern County wrongful death attorney at the Young Wooldridge, LLP.