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California Wrongful Death Attorney
Helping Families Fight for Justice & Full Compensation
If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence or wrongful acts of another, you may have grounds to take legal action. In California, certain surviving family members can file civil lawsuits to hold at-fault parties accountable for their careless acts, and financially responsible for the damages families suffered.
For families grappling with wrongful death, there are risks of being further victimized by defendants and insurance companies that work aggressively to evade liability. Fighting back for the justice and compensation you deserve requires the support of skilled and experienced attorneys.
Drake Law Firm: We Fight for Families
Drake Law Firm is passionate about fighting for families who have suffered due to wrongful death. Led by Attorney Benjamin Drake, our team is devoted solely to fighting for the injured and the wronged, and has the necessary resources to take on even the most powerful opponents.
You can be confident about choosing our team because:
- We have recovered more than $150 million in compensation for our clients.
- We focus exclusively on representing victims of personal injury and wrongful death.
- Our attorneys, paralegals, and support staff draw from over 100 years of combined experience.
- We care about our clients and make personal attention and client satisfaction our priorities.
During these difficult times, caring and compassionate advocates can make all the difference in your legal journey to justice. To speak with an attorney about your rights, call for a FREE consultation.
How Does a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Work in California?
Wrongful death lawsuits are civil claims (known as “torts”) brought against an individual, entity, or multiple parties who are accused of causing a person’s preventable death due to their negligence or intentional misconduct.
Wrongful death claims can involve any number of fatal accidents and forms of misconduct, including:
- Fatal car accidents
- Commercial truck accidents
- Dangerous property conditions (premises liability)
- Preventable explosions or fires
- Construction accidents, including falls or falling objects
- Fatal bicycle or pedestrian accidents
While every case has its unique facts, there are some general elements victims will need to prove in order to prevail in their claims. Generally, this includes the need to prove:
- A legal duty between the defendant and the victim, such as the duty of care a motorist owes to others around them, a landowner’s duty to take reasonable measures in addressing potential hazards on their property, or a contractor’s duty to safely operate heavy equipment on a construction site.
- A breach of duty, or the defendant’s failure to meet their duty of care. Typically, this means proving negligence. A motorist, for example, may breach their legal duty to safely operate their vehicle by driving distracted or driving drunk.
- Causation, which means proving that a defendant’s negligent or wrongful act more likely than not caused the victim’s death.
- Damages, which requires victims to establish that they suffered actual physical, financial, and emotional losses.
Who Can File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit in California?
Under California Code of Civil Procedure § 377.60, certain surviving family members of the decedent, or a personal representative, are eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This can include:
- A surviving spouse
- A surviving domestic partner
- Living children
- Grandchildren, if the victim’s children are deceased
- Minor children who were dependent on the decedent (i.e. stepchildren)
- Other surviving relatives who would be entitled to the estate
California also permits the filing of a survival action (CA Code of Civil Procedure § 377.30). Generally, wrongful death actions are meant to compensate a victim’s surviving family members for their own losses, while survival actions compensate the victim’s estate for losses arising from the injuries which resulted in their death (i.e. medical bills), or for claims they would have otherwise been able to file had they lived. These claims are typically brought together.
Our legal team can help you better understand how wrongful death and survival actions work in California and assist you in taking the appropriate steps toward a financial recovery.
What Damages Can Be Recovered?
Wrongful death lawsuits are meant to compensate families for the economic and non-economic damages arising from their loved one’s death.
Damages can vary from case to case, but generally include losses such as:
- Lost emotional support and companionship
- Lost financial support
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost consortium
- Lost protection, affection, and guidance
- A decedent’s pain and suffering
How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Like other personal injury lawsuits, wrongful death suits are subject to a statute of limitations – in essence, a deadline beyond which no claims can be filed, and no compensation recovered.
In California, eligible family members typically have two years from the date of a victim’s death to bring a wrongful death lawsuit.
Because there are some exceptions to the statute of limitations which may make the time deadline shorter or longer, such as cases where families do not discover the cause of their loved one’s death until a later time, it is important to speak personally with an attorney as soon as possible so they can help you understand what deadline may apply to your claim.
Call for a FREE Consultation
Drake Law Firm was founded as a practice that prioritizes personal attention. Our team knows the suffering and grief our clients experience can be overwhelming, and we work tirelessly to support them through every step of the process. Attorney Benjamin Drake is invested in helping families pursue the justice and compensation they deserve, and makes himself personally available to answer any questions you may have, whenever you have them.
To request a FREE and confidential case evaluation, contact us today.