Unexpectedly losing a loved one is horrible. It’s a tragedy made even worse when the person’s death was preventable. If you lost a family member due to another party’s negligence, you could have the right to pursue a wrongful death claim.
At the Weinberg Law Offices, we understand how devastating it is to lose someone you love. A wrongful death lawyer in Los Angeles can help you hold the responsible party accountable.
Our legal team will fight tirelessly to ensure the law holds the defendants responsible for their actions.
Your family should be able to grieve in peace without the stress of suing the party responsible for your loved one’s death. If another party caused the death of your family member, contact us to schedule an initial consultation.
What Does the Law Define as Wrongful Death?
Legally speaking, wrongful death is when someone dies due to another party’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions. The person that dies is called the “decedent”. Someone who dies from natural causes in their sleep is not the victim of wrongful death.
Someone who has a heart attack at home and is transported to the hospital where they later die likely has not suffered a wrongful death either — unless the person died due to the actions or inaction of hospital personnel.
Wrongful death claims differ from other types of personal injury claims because they focus on the surviving family’s losses, not those of the deceased victim. That is one reason why it’s crucial to hire a skilled Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in California?
Only certain surviving family members have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Under California’s wrongful death statute, the following people have a legal right to bring a claim for damages:
- The deceased’s surviving spouse or a domestic partner;
- The deceased’s surviving children; and
- The grandchildren of any deceased child of the decedent.
Suppose the deceased did not have any of the above surviving family members. In that case, the law entitles anyone who would be entitled to the deceased’s assets through intestate succession to file a claim.
That means someone’s parents, siblings, etc. It all depends on who is alive at the time of the person’s death.
Also, someone who can show they were financially dependent on the deceased could have the right to bring a wrongful death claim. For example, stepchildren might be eligible.
Determining who has legal cause to file a wrongful death lawsuit can be complicated, which is why you should speak with a Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible.
Common Accidents That Lead to Wrongful Death Claims
Any number of personal injury incidents can lead to a wrongful death claim. Some of the more common types of accidents that result in fatalities include:
- Auto accidents,
- Bicycle and motorcycle accidents,
- Large truck accidents,
- Pedestrian accidents,
- Boating accidents,
- Medical malpractice,
- Nursing home negligence,
- Defective products,
- Swimming pool accidents,
- Toxic exposure,
- Negligent security, and
- Slip and falls.
Unfortunately, accidents happen every day in Los Angeles County. Many of these result in severe injuries or worse, especially accidents involving motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians. These victims don’t have the same protections that occupants in motor vehicles have.
Viable wrongful death claims can also include acts of violence, such as assault or murder. The defendant will face criminal charges, but that doesn’t mean your family can’t file a wrongful death lawsuit as well.
These are two entirely different case types. A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil claim for financial compensation. It does not involve any jail or prison time like a criminal case filed by the government.
Don’t mistakenly assume you don’t have a valid claim because there is a pending criminal case either, or even if the person is acquitted of a crime. Contact a wrongful death lawyer in Los Angeles to learn more.
Types of Damages in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
When your family member unexpectedly dies, it can put an immense strain on your overall finances, especially if the deceased was the primary wage earner. You may be worried about how you will pay your bills, let alone funeral and burial costs.
With a wrongful death lawsuit, your family could recover financial compensation that eases that financial burden. While no amount of money will make up for your loved one’s death, it can at least help you pay living expenses.
The recoverable compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit typically can include:
- Funeral and burial costs;
- The reasonable value of household services the deceased provided;
- Loss of financial support;
- Loss of benefits or gifts that the family would’ve received from the deceased;
- Loss of companionship and support; and
- Loss of consortium.
The amount of damages you are eligible to recover will vary based on individual circumstances and evidence of your losses. That’s why it’s crucial to have the best wrongful death lawyer in Los Angeles representing you.
What is the Statute of Limitations in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in California?
Like other types of personal injury claims, you have only a limited amount of time to file a wrongful death lawsuit in California. This deadline is known as the statute of limitations. For wrongful death claims, it’s usually two years from the date of death.
However, there may be some exceptions to the rule. Some of these exceptions might shorten the filing time. For example, if the defendant is a local or state government entity, you may have only six months to file a claim from the date of death.
A claim is not a lawsuit, but it is still a document that must be filed.
There are some entities that you may not know are governmental entities, such as ambulances and government-funded clinics, thus it is important that you contact an attorney that handles wrongful death immediately.
Missing the deadline means you could lose the right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. If you try to file past the deadline, the court will likely throw your case out and bar you from any recovery.
The defendant is under no legal obligation to continue negotiations, even if they previously offered you compensation. Your Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer knows when applicable legal deadlines are and will ensure a lawsuit is filed timely.
Speak with a Top Wrongful Death Lawyer in Los Angeles, CA
Losing a loved one is a tragedy that no family should endure. If someone in your immediate family died due to another party’s negligence, the Weinberg Law Offices could help you hold them accountable.
We have years of experience representing surviving family members in all types of wrongful death cases. Let us help your family get the justice you are seeking.
A financial settlement won’t ease your family’s emotional grief, but it can help relieve some of the financial burdens you’re suddenly facing. Contact our office at (818) 697-9792 today to schedule an initial consultation and learn how we can assist you and your family.
“Disclaimer: This content should not be construed as legal advice.”