Los Angeles Wrongful Death Attorney
Losing a loved one is always a tragedy and is one of life’s most difficult experiences. It’s even more difficult when the death was caused by someone else’s careless or negligent actions. Knowing what to do and who to turn to in these circumstances can be overwhelming when you are trying to cope with your loss. Finding support from kind, compassionate, and experienced legal professionals can make all the difference during this unbearable time.
At Canlas Law Group, our California wrongful death lawyers understand the immense pain and suffering you are going through after losing a loved one. We have dedicated our careers to representing families like yours and will fight tirelessly to get you the justice and compensation you deserve. No amount of money can ever make up for your loss, but it can help ease the financial burden you are now facing.
If a loved one of yours has passed away due to someone else’s negligence or wrongful conduct, please contact our office today for a free consultation. We will carefully review the details of your case and advise you of your best legal options for securing the full compensation you need and the justice your departed loved one deserves.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
In California, a wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit filed by the surviving family members of someone who died due to the negligence or intentional wrongdoing of another person or entity. These are situations where the victim could have filed a personal injury claim themselves if they had not died because of their injuries.
There are several ways in which a person can die wrongfully, but some of the most common include:
- Driving under the influence: If a drunk or drugged driver kills someone, the victim’s family can file a wrongful death claim against both the at-fault driver and, if they were underage, the establishment that served them alcohol. Any individual who makes the decision to get behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is taking a dangerous gamble with other people’s lives. In the unfortunate event that they cause a collision that results in someone’s death, they can and should be held accountable.
- Medical malpractice: Doctors, nurses, and other licensed medical professionals are held to a high standard of care. When they make mistakes or act negligently, people can be seriously injured or killed. If you have lost someone due to medical malpractice, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim against the responsible parties.
- Workplace accidents: Every year, thousands of people are killed in workplace accidents. Some instances include construction accidents, chemical explosions, and fatal falls. If your loved one died in a workplace accident, you may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim as well as a wrongful death claim against the negligent parties.
- Defective products: If a defective product causes someone’s death, the victim’s family may be able to file a wrongful death claim against the manufacturer. Automobiles, medical devices, and household appliances that malfunctioned and caused fatal injuries are some examples of defective products that have resulted in wrongful death claims.
- Violence: In some cases, a person may be killed as the result of another person’s intentional violence or criminal actions. If this has happened to your loved one, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim against the perpetrator and any other party who may be liable, such as the owner of a bar where a fight broke out or the manufacturer of a gun used in a shooting.
What Factors Are Considered in a Wrongful Death Claim?
To file a successful wrongful death claim, the victim’s family must be able to prove their loved one’s death was caused by the negligence or intentional wrongdoing of another person or entity. They will also need to prove that they have suffered damages as a direct result of the death.
To prove negligence, the victim’s family will need to show that the at-fault party owed the identified victim a duty of care that was breached, resulting in the victim’s death in California. Examples of evidence needed to prove negligence include:
- Police report: In many cases, any police report from wrongful death accidents that led to a victim’s death will provide valuable evidence to support a wrongful death claim. These reports typically include a description of the accident as well as information about any citations that were issued.
- Witness statements: Statements from eyewitnesses can be very helpful in proving negligence. These witnesses can attest to what they saw and how it led to the victim’s death.
- Photographic evidence: Photographs of the accident scene, the victim’s injuries, and the defective product can all be used as evidence to support a wrongful death claim.
- Medical records: The victim’s medical records can be used to show the extent of their injuries and how they ultimately led to their death.
- Surveillance footage: If the accident was caught on surveillance footage, this video can be used as evidence. Because no one can dispute what is seen on the footage, it can be very helpful in proving negligence.
With such a wide array of potential causes, it is important to seek out experienced legal help if you have lost a loved one and believe someone else may be at fault. An experienced wrongful death attorney will be able to investigate the circumstances of your loved one’s death, determine if you have a valid claim, and help you identify the best legal evidence that can be used to support your claim.
What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Claim?
The damages that can be recovered in a wrongful death claim will depend on the facts of the case as well as the state laws that apply. In general, however, the victim’s family may be able to recover economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are those that have a specific monetary value, such as:
- Loss of the victim’s earnings: If the victim was working at the time of their death, their family may be able to recover the income they would have earned over the course of their lifetime. This can be calculated by looking at the victim’s past earnings, their expected future earnings, and the number of years they would have likely worked.
- Loss of benefits: The victim’s family may also be able to recover the value of any benefits the victim was receiving at the time of their death, such as health insurance or a pension.
- Funeral and burial expenses: The victim’s family may be able to recover the costs of the funeral and burial. This is an expense that is only incurred as a result of the victim’s death.
Non-economic damages are those that do not have a specific monetary value, such as:
- Loss of companionship: The victim’s family may be able to recover damages for the loss of the victim’s companionship. This includes the loss of love, affection, and guidance the victim provided.
- Pain and suffering: The victim’s family may also be able to recover damages for the pain and suffering the victim experienced before their death. This can be difficult damages to calculate, but an experienced Los Angeles attorney will be able to help you determine the value of your claim.
- Mental anguish: The victim’s family may be able to recover damages for the mental anguish they have experienced since the victim’s death. This can include grief, depression, and anxiety.
- Punitive damages: In some cases, the court may award punitive damages. These damages are designed to punish the wrongdoer and deter others from engaging in similar behavior. Punitive damages can be awarded in addition to economic and non-economic damages.
Do I Need a Wrongful Death Attorney in CA?
While you are not required to have a wrongful death or personal injury attorney to file a wrongful death claim, it is highly recommended. Wrongful death cases can be complex, and an experienced attorney will be able to:
- Educate on all applicable laws in place: A qualified wrongful death lawyer will have a complete understanding of the state laws that apply to your case and how they may impact your claim.
- Communicate with all parties on your behalf: Once retained, your lawyer will handle all communication with the other parties involved in your case. This includes insurance companies, employers, and witnesses. This will allow you to focus on your grief and healing.
- Conduct a thorough investigation: A thorough investigation is essential to building a strong case. Your attorney will have the resources and knowledge necessary to conduct a complete investigation.
- Build a strong case: An experienced wrongful death attorney will know how to build a strong case that maximizes the value of your claim.
- Negotiate with insurance companies: Insurance companies are known for their aggressive tactics when it comes to settling claims. Your attorney will be able to stand up to the insurance companies and fight for the full value of your claim.
- File a lawsuit: If necessary, your attorney will file a wrongful death lawsuit on your behalf and fight alongside you in court, walking you through each part of the process.
The long-term gains provided through a successful suit justify hiring an experienced wrongful death attorney to handle your claim in California, as the additional compensation an attorney can secure on your behalf is more than worth the investment.
Wrongful Death Lawyer FAQs
Q: How much is a wrongful death lawsuit worth in California?
A: The specific number of damages you’ll potentially be able to recover in a wrongful death lawsuit will vary depending on a number of factors. Wrongful death claims are eligible for both economic and non-economic damages and may involve claims against more than one party. In general, you can expect to recover damages for medical, funeral, and burial expenses; loss of earnings, benefits, and other income from the victim; and non-economic damages for pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and punitive damages against the at-fault parties.
Q: How much do wrongful death attorneys cost?
A: In most cases, Los Angeles wrongful death attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This means that you will not owe the attorney anything unless they recover compensation on your behalf. The contingency fee is a percentage of the total recovery, so you will only pay if you are successful. However, other fees may be charged in addition to the contingency fee. You should discuss all potential fees with your attorney before hiring them to ensure there are no surprises.
Q: How long do I have to file a wrongful death claim?
A: The amount of time you have to file a claim is known as the statute of limitations. In California, the wrongful death statute of limitations claims is six months. It is important to note that there are some exceptions to the statute of limitations that may extend the deadline. These exceptions can be complex, so it is important to speak with an experienced wrongful death attorney to determine if they apply to your case.
Q: What damages are available for wrongful death in California?
A: In California, medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses, loss of earnings, loss of companionship, pain and suffering, and punitive damages may all be available in a wrongful death claim. These damages are intended to compensate the surviving family members for their losses. The specific damages available in your case will depend on the facts of your case and the relationship of the deceased to the surviving family members.
Contact Canlas Law Group Today
If you lost a beloved family member or friend due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. The skilled and experienced wrongful death attorneys at Canlas Law Group can help you navigate each angle of the legal process and fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. We proudly serve clients in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Ventura. No one in California should have to go through the grieving process alone; let us help you today.