Wrongful Death

Losing a close family member or friend is never easy, especially when that family member or friend dies due to the wrongdoing of another person. Fortunately, California law allows family members to recover damages when a loved one has passed away due to another person’s negligence. According to California’s Code of Civil Procedure Section 377.60, the spouse, children, or domestic partner of the person who was wrongfully killed is entitled to take action against the person who caused the death. It is crucial that family members have the right attorney representing them. This can be a complicated matter and proper legal representation is critical. If you or a loved one had a family member die due to another’s wrongdoing or negligence, then give us a call. We are here to help.

The two most common instances of potential wrongful death claims are auto accidents and medical malpractice. In California, more than 4,000 people are killed in auto accidents each year. These accidents are often caused by someone driving under the influence of alcohol and/or illicit drugs, or texting and driving. In certain cases, wrongful death lawsuits can be brought against someone other than the driver, such as the manufacturer of the vehicle or government entities responsible for defects in the road. Common examples of medical malpractice that can lead to wrongful death claims include surgical errors, failure to provide a diagnosis, prescription errors, and/or failure to provide proper follow-up care. Wrongful death claims can also constitute work-related accidents, in which the victim’s employer may be held responsible. Machine-related injuries, toxic chemical spills, electrocution, falling materials, assault by co-workers, and auto accidents involving company vehicles are just a few examples of causes of work-related deaths that can establish a wrongful death claim. As such, wrongful death cases vary widely, which is why it is important to have an experienced attorney who is knowledgeable in all the different facets of wrongful death laws.

In California, to recover under a wrongful death claim, one must meet certain requirements. People who may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim include:

  • The deceased’s surviving spouse
  • The deceased’s domestic partner
  • The deceased’s living children
  • The children of the deceased’s children if they are no longer alive

Other people who might be eligible include:

  • The deceased’s stepchildren
  • The deceased’s parents

While the amount of financial compensation available to the deceased’s family members depends on the circumstances of each particular case, compensation can consist of both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages can include:

  • Financial support
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Value of household services that the deceased would have provided
  • Non-economic damages include: 
  • Affection
  • Moral Support
  • Protection
  • Training and guidance
  • Sexual cohabitation 

It is important to remember that wrongful death claims must be filed within a certain timeframe. In most circumstances, if the claim is not filed within 2 years of the person’s death, then the surviving spouse/family members may lose their chance of achieving any sort of compensation. It is also important to keep in mind that there is a difference between “wrongful death” and “survival action” lawsuits, which are closely related. If the victim did not die immediately, then his/her family may be entitled to a survival action lawsuit (which potentially includes an even greater amount of recoverable damages). Considering the wide array of scenarios and legal nuances that are involved in wrongful death cases, it is important to have the right legal team fighting on your behalf. We are here to help every step of the way and ensure that you and your family are fairly compensated for your loss.


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