What if my client dies

I was asked by the father of a terminally ill cancer patient to go to another state and help. I agreed, quit my job, packed up everything I owned and drove across 2 states. I was told that I would have room and board and that my expenses would be paid. However, the patient died just as I drove into town. Now his father is acting like too bad, sorry for your luck. Now I have no money and no way to pay my bills; all of the things that the father offered and said would be taken care of have been blown away like dust in the wind. What are my rights here?

Asked on September 19, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

By definition, you only take care of the person until they pass away; if you did not have a written agreement/contract guarantying you room, board, pay, or something else for some set or minimum time, you would only receive what was promissed as long as the person lived, with no guaranty of how long that would be. You may have given up your life for this, but unless you did so in response to getting a written contract guarantying you a certain minimum amout of compensation, you gambled when you did so--and, unfortunately, lost. If you want to sue the father, you have a reasonable case to get the actual "expenses" you incurred--e.g. gas, tolls, if you stayed over at a hotel/motel, etc.--to get there, and *maybe* the cost to get back, but that's it. And whether it is worthwhile taking legal action for that is questionable.


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