When a tragic fatal accident occurs, it sends aftershocks throughout the lives of the survivors. In addition to mourning the loss of a loved one, families must cope with a mountain of financial problems.
If someone else’s carelessness caused or contributed to an accident that killed your loved one, you may be entitled to compensation. Our Los Angeles wrongful death lawyers can help you today.
Life is priceless, but filing a wrongful death claim can still bring some much-needed relief. Don’t let heartless insurance companies deny you the closure you deserve. Fight for justice with a Los Angeles wrongful death attorney by your side.
When you partner with us, you don’t become just another case number. We believe families impacted by a wrongful death deserve empathy and compassion every step of the way. Our client-first approach ensures you will receive updates during every stage of the legal process, and we will fight aggressively to secure the compensation you deserve.
Below our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys bring you more information on how to file a wrongful death claim, and what to expect throughout the process.
What is A Los Angeles Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Section 377.60 of the California Code of Civil Procedure defines a wrongful death as a death “caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another.”
In the state of California, car accidents are the main cause of all fatal accidents for which you might need a wrongful death attorney. Los Angeles streets have plenty of distracted drivers and drunk drivers contributing to these car accidents. However, there are numerous categories of fatal accidents, including:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Bus accidents
- Motorcycle and bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Drunk driving accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Construction accidents
- Plane crashes
- Swimming pool accidents
- Domestic or wild animal attack
- Assault and battery
- Nursing home abuse or neglect
- Medical malpractice, including misdiagnosis and overdose
- Harmful medication
- Defective products
If a life has been lost due to someone’s careless actions or gross negligence, don’t let them get away with it or deny liability. Hold them accountable. A Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer may be able to help with the aftermath of these fatal accidents.
How Does a Los Angeles Wrongful Death Lawsuit Work?
Generally, when a wrongful death claim is filed, it will include the following steps:
- Collect evidence
- Determine the at-fault party
- Calculate the value of the claim
- Negotiate settlement amount with insurance companies
- File a lawsuit, if necessary
- Present evidence to judge and jury
- Disburse compensation
Every accident is unique. Thus, every wrongful death case will have its own unique trajectory. A variety of factors will determine what happens in a wrongful death lawsuit.
If you are researching how to file a wrongful death claim, consult a Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer who can guide you through the process.
Keep in mind that a wrongful death case is different from a murder case. Murder charges are brought forth by the state, whereas wrongful death claims are civil matters filed by surviving loved ones. If criminal charges or arrests have been made in connection to the accident, and the other party has been fined and/or sentenced to prison time, you can certainly use this as evidence in your claim. However, wrongful death cases proceed separately from criminal prosecution.
Additionally, you may still have a valid wrongful death claim even if the party was not charged. For more clarification, explore your options with a Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer.
What are Damages in Los Angeles Wrongful Death Claims?
When a loved one passes away, survivors cope with many hardships and expenses. These losses are also known as “damages.” Damages in a wrongful death claim may include but are not limited to:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral and burial costs
- Lost wages and lost earning potential
- Lost inheritance
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of emotional support, guidance, and counsel
- Pain and suffering
Other household contributions, like housework and childcare, are also immensely valuable and may be included in the claim.
Regarding lost wages and inheritance, your Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer can also consult investigators and economists to estimate how much the decedent would have earned over the course of their life, had it not been cut short.
Punitive damages may also apply. Unlike the above compensatory damages, punitive damages exist to punish the at-fault party. If they are convicted of a crime, such as homicide, punitive damages are much more likely to be included.
All together, these will determine how much can you get in a wrongful death suit. Even still, this list doesn’t even begin to describe the scope of emotional anguish one experiences after the death of someone close to them.
A grim truth: insurance companies only care about safeguarding their profits. They’ll show you no sympathy, and they will try to take advantage of you at your lowest point. When you file a wrongful death claim, insurance companies will pressure you to settle for far less than you really deserve.
However, getting a lawyer involved can turn up the heat.
It doesn’t matter whether we’re squaring off against a trucking company, a product manufacturer, a property owner, a surgeon, a drunk driver, or another reckless party. We always fight fiercely for fair compensation.
For more help estimating the value of your wrongful death claim, reach out to a Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer now. We are skilled negotiators with decades of local and national experience in wrongful death lawsuits.
Who Gets the Money in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
When a fatal accident occurs, who can file a wrongful death claim? After a fatal accident in Los Angeles, a victim’s spouse, domestic partner, or child has a right to file a wrongful death claim. In certain cases, parents or legal guardians may also be able to file.
When it comes to how to divide a wrongful death settlement, a claimant’s relationship to the victim is relevant. The amount of compensation a claimant receives will depend on how reliant the claimant was on the victim — financially, emotionally, and in daily life. The closer the claimant was to the victim, the greater percentage of the settlement award they will receive.
In addition, a representative of the victim’s estate may be able to file a survival action.
What’s the Difference Between A Wrongful Death Claim and A Survival Action?
A wrongful death claim’s purpose is to compensate surviving loved ones for the financial and emotional losses they experience after a victim’s death.
A survival action, on the other hand, relates to the victim’s estate and to their own personal losses. It is similar to the personal injury claim the victim could’ve filed if they had survived the accident.
The main difference is that only a representative of the decedent’s estate may file a survival action.
Damages in a survival action include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages and lost earning potential
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
The representative of the estate will have a time window of either six months after the date of death to file, or two years after the day the accident occurred.
Who Is At Fault for Wrongful Death Accidents in Los Angeles?
Fault for a deadly accident can fall on many parties. In the case of a fatal car accident, the other driver is usually at fault. However, in the case of workplace accidents, defective products, or medical malpractice, then businesses, manufacturers, and doctors may also be liable, respectively. It all depends on the specifics of the accident: who was involved, where it occurred, and how it happened.
Often, wrongful death cases have multiple liable parties. Identifying all at-fault persons and entities is an important step in any wrongful death case and is necessary for obtaining the maximum amount of compensation.
How Do You Prove A Los Angeles Wrongful Death Claim?
In order to file a wrongful death claim, you must have substantial evidence that the victim died as a result of negligence or intentional recklessness from another person or entity.
In other words, you must provide evidence that the at-fault party violated a “duty of care” and caused fatal injuries as a result of that violation.
Evidence in a wrongful death case may include:
- Police report or accident report
- Surveillance footage
- Witness testimony
- Photos from the scene
- Medical bills and medical records
- Autopsy reports
A Los Angeles personal injury lawyer can help you compile this evidence and develop a unique legal strategy, but with everything else on your plate right now, it’s unlikely you have time to research the best wrongful death attorney in Los Angeles.
Let us make it easy for you.
Call or click here for a free consultation. Our experienced, compassionate experts will listen to your story and let you know all about your options.
Los Angeles Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims
The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in Los Angeles is two years. This means you have two years from the date of the victim’s death to file your claim. Beware: Los Angeles courts may throw out your case entirely if you miss this deadline.
If you don’t act quickly, you may miss your chance to recover any compensation at all.
We are proud to provide 100% free, convenient, and confidential virtual consultations. Reach out now to learn more about your legal options and begin your fight for justice.
For Best Results, Hire A Los Angeles Wrongful Death Lawyer Now
Grief is a journey. You deserve to take it at your own pace, free of financial burdens and legal worries.
A Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer can help you navigate this complex process and deliver the best possible outcome. When you partner with us, we can assist you by:
- Compiling evidence, filing paperwork, and meeting important legal deadlines
- Handling all communications with insurance companies
- Calculating the true value of your claim
- Negotiating with insurance adjusters
- Securing the maximum settlement amount possible
In addition, our Los Angeles wrongful death attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. We’re not here to take advantage of grieving families by slapping them with exorbitant legal fees and more headaches. In fact, you pay us nothing at all upfront. Instead, we deduct our fees from a percentage of your final settlement award one the case is successfully closed. If we do not win your case, we do not get paid. It’s as simple as that.
If you are looking for a wrongful death lawyer in Los Angeles, look no further. With over 20 years of experience, we’ve helped thousands of families across Los Angeles.
For the aid you need and the compassion you deserve, speak with a member of our Los Angeles wrongful death law firm today. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Los Angeles Office
3600 Wilshire, Ste. 1136,
Los Angeles CA 90010
Local Phone: (213) 410-5323
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Since starting his firm in 1999, Stewart J. Guss has had the honor of representing clients from all over the world, helping them recover from even the most catastrophic injuries.
Today, thanks to a strong belief in those values of compassion, respect, and approachability, the firm has grown to employ over 120 legal professionals in numerous offices across 4 states, with nationwide reach.