Our Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help You Seek Justice After a Loved One's Wrongful Death

The loss of a loved one can be difficult, regardless of the specific circumstances surrounding their death. However, when it's discovered that a loved one died because of another person's mistake or negligence, the roller coaster of emotions that you experience can be even more devastating. Should you decide to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of your lost loved one, you need effective and experienced legal representation that you can trust. Steinberg Injury Lawyers has been providing the same high-quality level of compassionate and respectful representation to its clients since 1982. White Lily on a Black CasketWe understand the sensitive and emotional nature of wrongful death lawsuits and will work hard to ensure that you and your family receive a financial settlement that's both fair and a fitting reflection of just how much your loved one meant to you.

Steinberg Injury Lawyers has five conveniently located law offices in California, where we work diligently to meet the needs of our clients. Regardless of what type of case you bring to us, we offer you the compassionate, respectful, and attentive service you deserve. You can arrange to meet with us for a free initial consultation at any of our five conveniently located law offices in California—or we can come to you. Best of all, our attorneys work on a contingency basis, so we don't get paid until your case sees a positive resolution.

What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?

In California, a wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit that's brought when a loved one dies as the result of negligence or a wrongful act. Unlike a criminal lawsuit in which jail or prison time can be imposed, wrongful death lawsuits concern themselves only with financial damages, allowing the decedent's survivors to pursue compensation for the loss of their loved one. This means that the decedent's family is able to file a wrongful death lawsuit, even if the state is already pursuing criminal charges in the same case.

However, wrongful death lawsuits can't be filed by just anyone. The law limits wrongful death lawsuits to the survivors of the victim, including:

  • The surviving spouse or domestic partner

  • The decedent's surviving children

  • Anyone who would be entitled to the decedent's property via intestate succession, such as the decedent's parents or siblings

  • People who were financially dependent on the decedent, such as a "punative spouse" or children of the punative spouse

  • Stepchildren

  • Parents

The decedent's survivors can seek compensation for a wide range of economic and non-economic damages, including:

  • The cost of the decedent's funeral and burial

  • Medical visits and hospital bills related to the final illness or injury

  • Lost income and loss of earning potential (a calculation of what the decedent would have been expected to earn during his or her lifetime)

  • The cost of household services provided by the decedent

  • Loss of love, companionship, community, affection, guidance, and moral support that would have been provided by the decedent

  • Loss of expected financial support

If the decedent did not immediately die from his or her injuries, the estate's personal representative can opt to file a survival action, which allows the representative to seek compensation for damages the decedent would have been entitled to had they lived, such as medical expenses and lost wages.

Another thing to keep in mind when considering filing a California wrongful death lawsuit is that the law only allows for the filing of one lawsuit per victim, meaning that the survivors must come together to file a single lawsuit on behalf of their lost loved one, rather than filing multiple suits.

What You Have to Prove in a Los Angeles Wrongful Death Case

Wrongful death lawsuits are notoriously difficult to prove, as the burden of proof rests on the plaintiff (or plaintiffs), who must show that the defendant not only owned the victim a duty of care, but failed to provide that care in a way that directly resulted in the decedent's injuries and subsequent death. Considering that many wrongful death cases involve going up against powerful and well-funded organizations, such as insurance companies, as the survivors of wrongful death victims, it's easy to feel a bit like David did when facing the legendary giant Goliath. Fortunately, having the skilled representation of an experienced personal injury attorney can help level that playing field, making it more likely that you and your family are able to walk away with the financial award you need and deserve.

Common Causes of Wrongful Death

While criminal behavior may be one of the first things that comes to mind when thinking of the term “wrongful death,” these types of deaths are rarely caused by masked strangers who lurk in alleyways. In fact, many wrongful deaths occur under the most mundane of circumstances, such as when a medical professional administers the wrong dose of medication or otherwise makes a careless and largely preventable mistake. Common causes of wrongful death include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents, including car and truck accidents, motorcycle and bicycle accidents, and pedestrian accidents

  • Defective and dangerous drugs

  • Defective medical devices

  • Medical malpractice, including birth injuries, injuries caused by nursing home abuse, delayed or missed diagnosis, or surgical errors

  • Premises liability incidents, such as slip-and-fall accidents

  • Work-related injuries

Statute of Limitations in California Wrongful Death Lawsuits

The unexpected death of a loved one due to wrongful death can leave family members confused and unsure of how to proceed. However, in order to ensure that survivors are able to pursue compensation for the loss of their beloved family member, they must move quickly. California law mandates that wrongful death lawsuits be filed within two years of the death in question. Waiting too long and allowing the statute of limitations to run out can cause even otherwise strong wrongful death cases to be dismissed. Don't let this happen to you and your family.

Hiring a Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney

An experienced personal injury attorney can guide you through each and every step of the wrongful death lawsuit process. At Steinberg Injury Lawyers, we understand that this is a difficult time for you and your family, and will work diligently to ensure that you receive a positive outcome and a fair financial award. Contact us today for a free initial consultation to find out what we can do for you.

 

Peter Steinberg, Esq.
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Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Since 1982