SACRAMENTO, Calif., Sept. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Wrongful Death cases are hard-fought. Defendants may have much to lose – they can be liable for millions in damages. Plaintiffs have already lost. They've lost their loved ones, and there's no replacement for this loss. The law allows them to seek justice, and under California law, recompense is money delivered through a jury verdict.
The Michael Jackson wrongful death case demonstrates the litigation challenges that adult survivors of wrongful death victims face. Defendants are vigilant to protect their pocketbooks, finding support in statutory and case law. California law allows parents of wrongful death victims to recover damages, even if their deceased child had children. This is possible when the decedent's parents, at the time of the child's death, were actually dependent upon the decedent for the necessities of life.
Courts and juries determine financial dependence on a case-by-case basis. Mere payments do not create dependence. Rather, dependence under the law hinges on the parents' receipt of financial support from their child that assists them in attaining essential needs – like clothing, food, medical treatment and shelter.
The Jackson dispute, among many others, concerned whether Michael's mother was also his dependent. The Court ultimately found that even defense testimony showed that Michael paid for "the bulk" of his mother's support, including her home, transportation, food and insurance.
Michael Jackson's wrongful death case grabs today's headlines, but wrongful death litigators regularly must address financial dependence issues through intensive, fact-based determinations. Especially during family grieving, an attorney must develop and substantiate claims with respect for privacy and a quiet, professional diligence. These cases require counsel not only to confront legal challenges, but also to make clients the top priority in a time of sadness. Led by veteran litigator Michael Hackard, the Hackard Law team represents its clients with both experience and compassion.
About Hackard Law, a Professional Law Corporation:Michael A. Hackard is the principal attorney of Hackard Law - a Northern California law firm focused on transactional and litigation matters. We represent families in trust, catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death litigation.