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 deceased loved one, you need the effective and experienced legal representation of a Los Angeles wrongful death attorney 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.
We understand the sensitive and emotional nature of wrongful death lawsuits and will work hard to ensure that you and your family members receive a financial settlement that's both fair and a fitting reflection of just how much your loved one meant to you.
There are a variety of aspects to consider in the tragic event of wrongful death: how the wrongful death occurred, where it happened, and who the decedent left behind all matter in these cases. Here, we explain some of these details and circumstances so you can better make a decision about your case. No matter how the tragedy occurred, hiring an experienced wrongful death lawyer helps you and your family avoid adding the stress of navigating a lawsuit to the grief and hardship you are already experiencing during this difficult time.
What Is Considered 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.
Los Angeles limits wrongful death lawsuits to the survivors of the victim, including the survivors of the victim include close relatives, dependents, and spouses or partners. These people are the only ones who have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit if this tragedy were ever to occur. Below is a detailed list of who qualifies as a survivor of a wrongful death victim:
- Spouses or Partners – The victim’s spouse or domestic partner qualifies as a survivor.
- Surviving Children – Any children of the victim who are still alive have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Surviving Stepchildren – Stepchildren have the same rights as biological children in regard to filing wrongful death cases.
- Inheritors – This includes anyone who would be entitled to the decedent's property via intestate successions, such as the decedent's parents or siblings.
- Financial Dependents – Those who were financially dependent on the decedent before their death may file a wrongful death lawsuit. This includes putative spouses and the children of the putative spouse.
- Parents – Surviving parents of a wrongful death victim have the right to file this type of lawsuit.
If any of the above describes you and your situation, you are a survivor and have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. It should be noted there is a timeframe for when you are able to take legal action. In California, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death case has a two-year filing deadline. This means that if it’s been more than two years since the tragic incident, you won’t be able to file for damages.
Los Angeles Survivors: How They Should Pursue Their Wrongful Death Case
As a survivor of a wrongful death victim, the first step you should take is hiring a Los Angeles wrongful death attorney. A trial lawyer with experience in these cases know the right questions to ask, what details to look for, and how to approach each client’s unique situation.
This is a difficult time for you and your family, there’s no need to add to it the stress of facing a lawsuit alone. Contact Steinberg Personal Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation with an experienced wrongful death attorney in Los Angeles, California.
How Steinberg Injury Lawyers Can Help With Your Los Angeles Wrongful Death Claim
With the help of Steinberg Injury Lawyers, the decedent's survivors can seek wrongful death claim compensation for a wide range of economic and non-economic damages, including:
- Funeral Costs – This includes the cost of a funeral and burial for the deceased.
- Medical Bills – This includes medical visits and hospital bills related to the final illness or injury of the decedent.
- Loss of Income – This is especially detrimental if the decedent was the financial provider for their family members. Compensation in this case often includes any lost income and earning potential (which is a calculation of what the decedent would have been expected to earn during his or her lifetime).
- Household Services Cost – If the victim handled any or all of the household services, compensation in the wake of their death would cover the cost of these services.
- Loss of Affection – Losing someone dear to you takes away the love, companionship, community, affection, guidance, and moral support that would have been provided by them.
- Loss of Financial Support – If the decedent provided financial support for their survivors, compensation would help cover this loss.
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 claim 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.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death in Los Angeles
While criminal behavior may be one of the first things that come 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 or negligence. 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
There are many causes of wrongful death, and each case has details and aspects that are important to your wrongful death suit. Below is a list of some of the most common instances of wrongful death.
Wrongful Deaths Are Often the Result of Accidents and Incidents
While wrongful death can be the result of a variety of accidents and incidents, some accidents are more common than others. At Steinberg Injury Lawyer, our experienced wrongful death attorneys have noticed that the following list of incidents contains some of the most common causes of wrongful death:
- Motor Vehicle Accidents – This includes car and truck accidents, motorcycle and bicycle accidents, and pedestrian accidents.
- Defective and Dangerous Drugs – Recreational, over-the-counter, or doctor-prescribed drugs can be included in this situation. Perhaps the dosage instructions were incorrect, the prescription was mixed up, or the drugs were tainted.
- Defective Medical Devices – Wrongful death caused by defective medical devices is typically either a result of medical malpractice or a manufacturing mistake.
- Medical Malpractice – This includes birth injuries, injuries caused by nursing home abuse, delayed or missed diagnosis, or surgical errors.
- Premises Liability – These incidents happen when the caretakers of a location don’t maintain their property correctly, making it an unsafe environment.
- Work-related Injuries – These injuries can be anything from slip-and-fall accidents, falls from great heights, or electrocution.
- Pedestrian Accidents – These accidents are often the result of careless or inattentive drivers.
- Defective Products – If a defective product or device is the reason behind a wrongful death, the manufacturer is liable.
Tracing who the liable party is and all the evidence pertaining to the wrongful death takes time. These cases benefit from being handled by someone with experience. This is why it is a good idea to hire a skilled Los Angeles wrongful death attorney to handle your lawsuit.
Statute of Limitations in Los Angeles Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Losing a loved one unexpectedly is shocking and devastating for families. However, it is crucial that survivors act quickly to protect their legal rights after a wrongful death in California.
California law imposes a strict 2-year deadline to file a wrongful death lawsuit from the date of the individual's death. This statute of limitations applies regardless of whether a criminal case is pending against the liable party.
Waiting too long could permanently jeopardize the chance to hold negligent parties accountable and recover fair compensation. Our experienced attorneys have seen otherwise strong wrongful death cases dismissed simply because the statute of limitations expired.
Some critical points on California's wrongful death statute of limitations:
- The clock starts ticking on the filing deadline from the date your loved one passed away. This remains true even if the cause of death was not immediately known.
- For surviving minors, the 2-year deadline is temporarily extended until they reach age 18. However, cases with minor plaintiffs should still be filed as soon as possible.
- There are limited exceptions that could "toll" (pause) the statute of limitations deadline. One example is if the liable party could not be located and served despite reasonable efforts.
- Waiting to file close to the deadline can undermine the strength of a case as evidence gets lost and memories fade.
Given the strict filing limitations, it is imperative that grieving families contact our wrongful death attorneys right away for a free consultation.
We will immediately begin investigating the case and collecting time-sensitive evidence. Call us 24/7 or use our online form to schedule an appointment today.
Hiring a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Los Angeles
An experienced wrongful death attorney can guide you through each and every step of the wrongful death lawsuit process. Handling the loss of a loved one is a difficult task; there’s no need to add a stressful lawsuit on top of these worries. By hiring a skilled wrongful death attorney, you put your case into capable hands, decrease your stress, and are able to focus on mental and emotional healing.
Call Steinberg Injury Lawyers Today
At Steinberg Injury Lawyers, we understand that this is a difficult time for you and your family, and our Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer will work diligently to ensure that you receive a positive outcome and a fair financial reward.
Here at Steinberg Injury Lawyers, we have experience handling a range of wrongful death cases. Each of these tragedies has a unique set of circumstances and details that are important to your case. Thanks to the cases we’ve handled, we can help you get the compensation that is rightfully yours. This is a difficult, devastating time for you and your family. Let us carry some of the stress for you by skillfully handling your case and helping you get the financial compensation that is rightfully yours.
We offer a free initial consultation so we can better understand the details and circumstances of your case and how we can best help you.
Contact Us to Speak with an Experienced Los Angeles Wrongful Death Lawyer