Aunt passed away from head trauma caused by relative that kicked her, causing her to trip and fall on cement. Should we sue?

Asked about 5 years ago - Los Angeles, CA

Aunt went out for dinner and got into an argument. Relative kicked her from the back and caused her to fall on her head. 1 month later, she suffered cardiac arrest and passed away. The doctors say that her organs weren't great to start because she drank and smoked. Cause of death will be known in 3 months. Coroner wants to make sure that the heart attack was directly linked to the head trauma. The hospital also found that aunt's head was internally bleeding at the time she was admitted to the hospital. Is there any action we can take now or should we wait for autopsy results?The relative has no assets other than a house and a business but she's in debt. Can we put her in jail? If so, what kind of lawyer do we need? Will it cost us to hire a lawyer? Who's liable to pay for the medical fee?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Kevin Paul Smith

    Contributor Level 14

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    Answered . This is always a difficult question to answer without knowing all the facts. Based upon your description you could diffently sue the relative for wrongful death, regardless of whether your aunt had prior health problems.

    You should talk with an attorney immediately about your situation. The coroner results will be helpful because to sue for wrongful death you must establish that the injury caused the death, but you do not need to wait for the report to seek an attorneys advice.

    You should speak with a personal injury attorney if you want to sue, or a criminal attorney if you want to press charges against your relative to send them to jail. Since your relative is in debt it may be difficult to recover any damages you are awarded in a civil suit. But since the relative owns a house there may be some insurance that would cover the relative in this litigation.

  2. Michael J. Helfand

    Contributor Level 16

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    Answered . A lawsuit could be brought by the representative of your aunt’s estate. If the estate wins the lawsuit, the amount recovered would include medical bills. The autopsy results will be important in deciding whether to pursue a case, but I’d recommend consulting with an attorney now. They will be able to give you a detailed explanation of what needs to be proven in order to win, which most importantly in your case is that being kicked caused her heart attack. This type of lawsuit shouldn’t cost you anything upfront. An experienced attorney with solid resources will front the costs. I’d be happy to recommend someone. Feel free to contact me.

  3. Brian Richard Dinday

    Contributor Level 16

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    Answered . I do a lot of criminal defense work, and am an ex-prosecutor. You do NOT need to hire a criminal lawyer to see about getting the assailant prosecuted criminally. You only need to report the attack to the police and/or to the County District Attorney. If the autopsy report DOES attribute the death to the attack, then this is homicide and should be treated as such. If this incident was never reported to the police, it should be.

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