Our Los Angeles wrongful death lawyers help you recover financial compensation if a family member died because of another person’s wrongful acts. Under California Code of Civil Procedure 377.60, the surviving family members or the estate of a decedent can sue for damages when a person dies as the result of someone else’s
- recklessness, or
- intentional acts.
Contact our law firm now and let us help obtain justice on your behalf.
Some common causes of a person’s wrongful death include when the person suffers fatal injuries because of:
- a physician’s medical malpractice,
- a driver’s negligence, and
- an employer’s reckless business acts.
If your family member dies as the result of another’s wrongful acts, our experienced wrongful death attorneys can file a lawsuit on your behalf. If you succeed (either at trial or via a settlement), you can recover compensation for such losses as:
- burial and funeral expenses,
- amounts the deceased would have earned as income, and
- compensation for the loss of the deceased’s companionship and support.
In addition to filing a legal claim, our personal injury attorneys can:
- advise you on your legal rights and options,
- help ensure that you meet all court filing requirements and deadlines,
- calculate your possible damages, and
- help you gain the maximum compensation for your losses.
The Shouse Law Group is a personal injury law firm with law offices in Los Angeles and throughout California. Our skilled Los Angeles wrongful death attorneys have years of experience, work tirelessly for all their clients, and aim to get you the biggest settlement possible. Contact our law firm today to get the legal help you deserve.
Who can sue in wrongful death cases?
Under California law, a deceased person’s surviving family members, or the person’s estate, can initiate a wrongful death action if the person’s death was caused by someone else’s wrongful act – whether the act was negligent, reckless, or intentional.1
The pertinent wrongful death law is set forth in California’s Code of Civil Procedure 377.60.
This statute allows the following family members (or their personal representatives) to bring a wrongful death claim:
- surviving spouses,
- domestic partners,2
- grandchildren (if the deceased person’s children are also deceased),
- other minor children (such as stepchildren) who were dependent on the deceased for at least 50% of their financial support, and
- anyone else who would be entitled to the deceased’s property under California’s laws on intestate succession.
What are some common causes of a person’s wrongful death?
Car accidents are perhaps the most common type of event that triggers a wrongful death lawsuit.
Consider, for example, the scenario where a drunk driver causes an auto accident that results in the death of another motorist. Here, the surviving family members of the deceased motorist could file a wrongful death claim against the negligent and intoxicated driver.
Other causes of wrongful death may include:
- a doctor’s medical malpractice,
- motorcycle accidents,
- truck accidents,
- workplace accidents,
- drownings, and
- fatal accidents caused by someone’s wrongful intentional acts.
Note that you can sue a person for wrongful death even if that person was acquitted in a related criminal case.
What can you recover in a wrongful death lawsuit?
If you succeed in bringing a wrongful death claim, you may recover both:
- economic damages, and
- non-economic damages.
Compensable economic losses can include:
- the financial support the deceased would have contributed to your family during his/her lifetime,
- the loss of gifts or benefits you could have expected to receive from the deceased,
- funeral expenses and burial expenses,4 and
- the reasonable value of household services the deceased would have provided.5
“Non-economic damages” may include compensation for the loss of the deceased’s:
- society and companionship,
- moral support,
- training and guidance, and
- sexual relations.
As of 2022, you can also get damages for the decedent’s pain, suffering, or disfigurement.6
Oddly, noneconomic damages may not include amounts for your or another heir’s grief, sorrow, pain and suffering, or emotional distress caused by your loved one’s death.7
You are also typically not entitled to recover:
- the medical bills related to the deceased’s medical care, and
- punitive damages.8
What is the role of a personal injury lawyer in these cases?
Wrongful death attorneys play an integral role in these personal injury cases.
They can help you and other heirs by:
- advising you of your legal rights and options,
- helping you secure medical care due to any emotional or psychological trauma caused by your family member’s death,
- communicating with your family member’s medical providers to collect all relevant medical records,
- gathering evidence to help increase the strength of your case,
- appointing experts to help interpret evidence and explain it to a judge or jury, and
- representing you in court.
Please also keep in mind that it is sometimes difficult to assign a dollar value to certain financial losses in wrongful death cases (for example, the amount for the loss of a decedent’s companionship). Personal injury attorneys can step in and help approximate a reasonable award for these losses.
Note, too, that the California wrongful death statute of limitations is two years. An injury lawyer can help ensure that you file your case within this two-year period.
What is the benefit of a Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer?
A wrongful death attorney provides reliable and passionate help during this very difficult time. They can also help maximize the compensation for your losses.
As stated above, personal injury attorneys can help you calculate your economic and non-economic damages to deliver you the largest payout possible.
Injury lawyers can also help discover hidden value in these cases to make sure responsible parties truly pay for their wrongful acts.
Further, lawyers take care of the day-to-day administration and management of a case. This means, from the first moment an attorney takes your case on, you can focus on healing and recovering from your losses.
While a wrongful death lawyer cannot turn back the clock, they can help you get through this sorrowful period.
Note that most personal injury attorneys provide free consultations. A free case evaluation means you can get legal advice for no fee.
For additional help…
If a family member died because of another person’s wrongful acts, we invite you to contact our legal team at the Shouse Law Group. Our California personal injury attorneys provide both free consultations and skilled and effective legal representation.
We work tirelessly to get you the maximum compensation available for your case, and we help clients in the Los Angeles County area and throughout southern California.
- See California Code of Civil Procedure 377.60 CC.
- A “domestic partner” is a person who, at the time of the decedent’s death, was a registered domestic partner in accordance with California Family Code 297b. In some cases, the putative spouse can sue as well. See Stennett v. Miller (2019) 34 Cal. App. 5th 284. See also A.G. v. County of Los Angeles (2018) 28 Cal. App. 5th 373.
- See, for example, Barrett v. Superior Court (1990) 222 Cal.App.3d 1176.
- Vander Lind v. Superior Court of Orange County (1983) 146 Cal.App.3d 358.
- CACI No. 3921. Wrongful Death (Death of an Adult), Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2022 edition).
- See California Senate Bill No. 447 (2021).
- Krouse v. Graham (1977) 19 Cal.3d 59.
- CACI No. 3921.