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Kern County Jury Awards Family $4.5 Million In Wrongful Death Case
The Silicon Valley Mercury News from Bakersfield reports that a Kern County jury has awarded a California family $4.5 million in a wrongful death lawsuit. The negligence lawsuit was filed by the family of a man allegedly beaten to death by four Kern County Sheriff’s deputies. The jury found that the deputies acted negligently in causing the death of Jose Lucero. Lucero’s parents, who witness the brutal attack, were also awarded damages as the result of the serious emotional distress they suffered after witnessing the beating.
A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil lawsuit filed by the surviving family members of an individual who dies as the result of another person’s, company’s or governmental body’s negligent actions. Wrongful death lawsuits can arise in nearly any personal injury action where the carelessness or recklessness of another leads to an individual’s death. Where a “wrongful death” lawsuit is successful, the surviving family members may be entitled to recover damages such as emotional distress, lost wages, and medical expenses. In some instances it may be possible to recover punitive damages if the actions are considered “wanton and willful.” If you have questions about “wrongful death lawsuits” it’s important to speak with a skilled Sacramento wrongful death attorney to review your matter.
Here, reports indicate that the Kern County sheriff’s deputies arrived at Lucero’s house after he had placed repeated “delusional” 911 calls stating that a friend in Lancaster, California was being assaulted and murdered. A representative of the Lucero’s provided although police deputies were “reasonable” in going to Lucero’s home, shortly after they arrived their conduct became “unreasonable” (negligent).
A representative of the family noted: “It was well established by law enforcement that he was having a mental health episode and should have been dealt with as a medical emergency … That Lucero was also on meth does not matter, whether the episode was a result of prior mental health issues or drugs, he should have been dealt with the same way.”
According to reports, the confrontation started with three deputies against Lucero, but a fourth arrived later. The deputies then proceeded to shock Lucero with a Taser about 29 times. One of the deputies then used pepper spray, adding to the chaos. Lucero’s parents were in the room, watching the entire episode unfold.
Although not all wrongful death lawsuits involve the level of violence as the Kern County negligence suit, all California wrongful death claims are based on reckless or careless activity that leads to the death of another. Where another’s wrongful conduct leads to the loss of life, the surviving family members may be able to recover significant damages.
For more information about wrongful death lawsuits, or if you believe that you have lost a loved one as the result of another’s negligent or reckless conduct, please contact an experienced Sacramento wrongful death attorney at the Law Office of Frederick J. Sette.