A plane accident outside of the El Capitan Reservoir claimed the lives of two passengers earlier this month. It was later discovered that the plane belonged to a local San Diego company that specializes in “thrill rides.” Passengers sign up for an adventure package including “aerobatic and simulated ‘air combat’ experiences.” Some of these packages allow passengers to fly the planes themselves. It is unclear what caused the plane to crash.
Wrongful Death in San Diego
The family of these passengers may be able to recover compensation for the loss of their loved ones. A wrongful death lawsuit can help to compensate families for the financial and emotional losses they suffer when their loved one dies. In San Diego, wrongful death lawsuits can be filed when a death is caused by a negligent or wrongful act.
In this case, the victim’s families would have to establish:
- A loved one has died;
- Their death was caused by the negligence or wrongful act of another; and
- They suffered pecuniary losses as a result of that death.
Basically, they would be required to prove that someone’s conduct caused their loved one’s death, and that they suffered damages as a result.
Liability in Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Who could the families hold responsible for the wrongful death of their loved ones? The answer will depend on the facts and circumstances of the case. The passengers probably signed a liability waiver before they embarked on the adventure ride. This waiver would likely be standard procedure. It would prevent the passengers or their families from suing the company if anything bad happened.
Waivers like these are not always enforceable. These waivers do not protect companies from acts of gross negligence or wrongful misconduct. If the victims’ families can prove that the company was grossly negligent and/or clearly failed to prevent the passengers from reasonable harm, they may be held responsible.
Here, potentially liable parties in a wrongful death lawsuit could include:
- The entertainment company who offered the adventure package;
- The pilot, if he allowed the passengers to take control of the plane without proper training;
- The person/company responsible for performing regular maintenance on the plane;
- The pilot, if he failed to maneuver the plane is a safe manner; or
- The company that designed, manufactured, or sold the plane.
Again, anyone who is negligent could potentially be held responsible.
Damages in a San Diego Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Why should the families bother to file a wrongful death lawsuit? The compensation that they could potentially get could help to alleviate a lot of the financial and emotional stress the deaths have caused. Damages that may be recovered in a San Diego wrongful death lawsuit are divided into two categories.
Economic damages are paid to help compensate for financial losses that are easy to calculate. Economic damages can include:
- The financial support the victim would have provided to the family if they had survived;
- The value of gifts or benefits that the family would have received from the victim if they had survived;
- The value of household services the victim would have provided had they survived; and
- Funeral and burial expenses.
Non-economic damages are paid to help compensate families for intangible losses. Non-economic damages can vary significantly in value from case to case. Each individual wrongful death lawsuit will be different. Non-economic damages can include:
- Loss of the victim’s love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, and moral support;
- Loss of enjoyment of sexual relations; and
- Loss of the victim’s training and guidance.
The calculation of non-economic damages may not consider the family’s emotional distress or the victim’s pain and suffering.
Experienced San Diego Wrongful Death Attorneys
Losing someone you love unexpectedly is a traumatic event. You may be faced with extremely high financial burdens because of their death. In San Diego, you may be able to recover compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. The compensation you recover will not bring back your loved one, but it can help to limit the financial pressures you face.
You have a limited amount of time to file a claim. In San Diego, you will generally have two years from the date of your loved one’s accident or death. It is important to speak with an attorney as soon as you can. Contact our San Diego wrongful death attorneys to schedule a free consultation. We can help to get you the money you need and deserve.
Injury Trial Lawyers, APC