Areas of Practice
Los Angeles Wrongful Death Lawyers
Any death that could have been prevented is a wrongful death. Unfortunately, thousands of wrongful deaths occur each year. When a person dies as the result of the negligence of another, that person’s family can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent person. That’s the most they can do for their lost loved one. There’s nothing more that they can possibly do that can ever bring back that family member who was lost.
We’re compassionate in our understanding of the flattening devastation that the sudden death of a family member can bring. Tragedy can strike as quick as lightning. In the blink of an eye a family can lose a parent, the loss of their love, moral support, companionship and earnings. Six figure unanticipated medical bills fall on the family, and then there are funeral and burial expenses. A family that’s grieving from their loss is stunned and traumatized from all of this coming at them at once. Holding the negligent person accountable and responsible for that death is all that can be done to provide at least some degree of consolation.
Authority for wrongful death claim
A wrongful death action is a statutory claim. The California Code of Civil Procedure governs wrongful death actions. Section 377.60 permits each of the heirs of the deceased person to join in a wrongful death action. Domestic partners are included. Each person designated in the statute is allowed to recover damages. The statute controls who might participate in the wrongful death case. It’s unlikely that a person not named in the statute would be permitted to bring an action or recover damages.
General Statute of limitations
A California wrongful death action is required to be filed within a specified period of time. Failure to file the action within that period can operate to forever bar the decedent’s heirs from any recovery whatsoever. The general statute of limitations requires that the action must be filed within two years of the date of the decedent’s death. In a medical malpractice case, it’s three years from the date of injury or one year after the injured party discovered or reasonably should have discovered the injury, whichever comes first. A negligence suit against a government entity should be filed within six months. Statutes of limitation can be complex and must be examined closely. All have exceptions.
Many different types of accidents can result in a wrongful death. The most widely seen cause is negligence resulting in a motor vehicle accident. Whether it’s a semi-tractor or a Honda Civic, all drivers must operate their vehicles in a safe and careful manner, giving due regard to traffic conditions and their use of the roadway. Construction accidents are probably the second leading reported cause. They’re the leading cause of industrial deaths in the country. Patients also die as a result of medical malpractice. Healthcare professionals have a duty to render care and treatment in accordance with certain standards of care. A deviation from that standard of care can result in the death of the patient. Defective products like the recent General Motors ignition defect are also blamed for wrongful deaths. Faulty designs, manufacturing defects, or a failure to adequately warn about the use of a product can result in deaths giving rise to death cases.
Wrongful death and the survival actions
Because it’s a separate statutory action, wrongful death damages aren’t part of the decedent’s estate. Economic damages might include, but not be limited to loss of the financial support that the decedent would have contributed to the family during his or her lifetime, loss of gifts or benefits expected to have been received from the decedent, the reasonable value of their household services and funeral and burial expenses. Non-economic damages might include, but not be limited to the loss of the decedent’s love and companionship, society and affection and sexual relations. As opposed to living family members, the survival action permits the decedent’s estate to bring a claim for the injuries the decedent sustained before he or she died. In the survival action, any damages recovered go to the decedent’s estate to be distributed pursuant to the provisions of a will. If there’s no will, it’s distributed pursuant to state law. Family members won’t be allowed to pursue damages for their personal losses if only a survival action is filed. In California, both wrongful death and survival actions can be brought at the same time.
With extensive experience and aggressive litigation we have been highly successful in our representation of families in wrongful death and survival cases. Your family will have the benefit of highly trained and experienced attorneys who will provide you with the legal advice, counsel, courtroom technique and the litigation support necessary to compel both the economic and non-economic money damages that your family deserves. Our Los Angeles wrongful death lawyers have obtained millions in wrongful death settlements and verdicts for California families. Our exceptional results had earned us a superior reputation with both our colleagues and opponents. All consultations are at no cost. Because we work on a contingency fee basis, there are no charges for our services until we successfully conclude your case. If you have questions, feel free to call us. We’re pleased to talk with you, and it won’t cost you a penny.