California Wrongful Death Attorney
In California, a surviving member or their legal representative may be able to bring a claim when a loved one dies as the result of the wrongful act or negligence of another individual or entity.
LA Century Law can represent you if you have lost a loved one because of someone else’s actions. We are wrongful death lawyers in California. We handle wrongful death claims based on a variety of causes, including:
- Car accidents
- Truck, motorcycle, bicycle, and pedestrian accidents
- Workplace injuries
- Slip and fall, premises liability
- Dangerous and defective products; product malfunctions
- Chemical and toxic exposure
- Assault and battery; homicide
- Senior abuse and neglect
- Medical malpractice
- Other personal injuries
We help our clients receive compensation for injuries, damages, and harms. Our lawyers work aggressively on your behalf to fight for justice.
A wrongful death claim is very important for surviving family members. Not only is it a way to recognize your loved one and hold responsible parties accountable, but it also gives you the financial relief that you need and deserve. We are licensed, trained, and experienced lawyers who can represent you throughout the entire process.
Lawyers for Wrongful Death in California
If you have lost a loved one, we invite you to contact our lawyers for a free and confidential consultation about your case.
California Wrongful Death Laws and Claims
What is wrongful death?
A death that occurs because of a wrongful act of another qualifies as a wrongful death. Even though most wrongful deaths are accidents, the underlying cause may be the negligence or recklessness of another party. Their actions may be the basis of a legal claim. A case may also be based on intentional conduct.
A wrongful death claim is a legal action for monetary compensation.
Can you sue for wrongful death in California?
A wrongful death lawsuit is available to qualifying family members. California Code of Civil Procedure § 377.60 lists the individuals who may qualify to sue for wrongful death:
- Surviving spouse
- Domestic partner
- Descendants of deceased children
- Individuals entitled by intestate succession
- Legal guardians of the decedent
- Other relatives who were dependent on the victim, including putative spouse and stepchildren
Who can bring the claim may depend on the circumstances. For example, grandchildren may claim if their parents are deceased. Stepchildren must have been dependent on the victim for 50% of their financial support. For a domestic partner, there is a definition of who qualifies. Our lawyers are happy to review your case to determine who can file the claim.
What is the California law for wrongful death?
The California law for wrongful death is California Code of Civil Procedure § 377.60. A qualifying person may bring a legal cause of action based on the wrongful death or neglect of another.
California Wrongful Death Compensation
What is the statute of limitations for wrongful death in California?
The statute of limitations for wrongful death in California is two years from the victim’s death. A survival action may be brought two years after the date of injury or six months after death.
What damages are available in a wrongful death claim in California?
Damages for wrongful death in California include:
- Unearned income of the victim
- Household services the victim would have provided
- Burial and funeral expenses
- Lost relationship, companionship, and guidance
- Loss of sexual relations
- Affection and society
- Pain, suffering, or disfigurement suffered by the victim
Grief and sorrow are not recoverable damages.
The jury may award what’s fair and reasonable. Our lawyers may assist you with determining what is appropriate and gathering the evidence to support the request. Then we negotiate a settlement on your behalf or make a compelling argument to the jury for a fair award. There is no calculator or specific limit for non-economic damages in a California wrongful death claim (except in medical malpractice claims).
Can pain and suffering be recovered in a California wrongful death claim?
California amended its wrongful death law in 2022 to allow for the recovery of pain, suffering, or disfigurement suffered by the victim before death. There is a sunset provision, so the ability to claim pain and suffering is set to expire on January 1, 2026, unless the legislature further amends the law. (California Code of Civil Procedure § 377.34; Cal. Senate Bill 447).
Are punitive damages available in a California wrongful death action?
Punitive damages are not available in wrongful death actions in California, but they are recoverable in a survival action.
California Wrongful Death Lawsuits
What happens in a wrongful death lawsuit?
In a wrongful death lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove several things:
- Standing to bring the case, as a qualifying relative
- Legal responsibility falls of the defendant for causing an accident (negligence, recklessness, or intentional conduct)
- As a result of the accident, the victim lost their lives
- Surviving family members have damages to claim, including lost income, lost relationship and companionship, and burial expenses
Both parties can gather evidence and exchange information relating to the case. The parties may negotiate a settlement or resolve the case through a trial. A lawyer may represent family members bringing the claim.
Is there a deadline to take action?
California requires that claimants be joined in a single action or lawsuit. This rule has been called the “One Action Rule”. This means that all matters must be brought together and that the claimants cannot be more than one lawsuit against the negligent party. California has enacted this rule for judicial efficiency and to avoid the responsible party from defending multiple actions.
In most cases, an individual must bring a claim within two years from the date of loss. This is called the statute of limitations. However, this will change when the action is brought against a health care professional or is otherwise based on professional negligence.
Civ. Proc. Code § 340.5 states that a lawsuit against a health care provider/professionals’ negligence that resulted in death must be brought “three years after the date of injury or one year after the plaintiff discovers, or through the use of reasonable diligence should have discovered, the injury, whichever occurs first.”
Do most wrongful death lawsuits go to trial?
Few wrongful death lawsuits go to trial. Our lawyers work diligently to build your claim and resolve it in the best possible way for you. If your case goes to trial, we prepare with you, so you walk into court with confidence.
What is a structured settlement in a wrongful death claim?
A structured settlement in a wrongful death claim is a payment over time. Rather than the plaintiff receiving their compensation in one lump sum, they receive a structured settlement of multiple payments over a period of time. The purpose of a structured settlement is to ensure that the victim has the compensation that they need now and into the future.
One of the ways our lawyers assist you is by reviewing a proposed settlement. It’s essential that you understand the terms of the proposed settlement and your options for resolving a case.
What is a survival action?
In addition to a wrongful death action, the victim’s estate may bring a survival action to compensate the estate for losses suffered by the victim. (California Code of Civil Procedure § 377.30)
Taking New Cases
Our California wrongful death lawyers are taking new cases.
About LA Century Law
- Ryan J. Daneshrad, Esq. is our founder and President. He created LA Century Law to be an aggressive advocate for clients
- Experience in bench and jury trials. We are not afraid to fight as long as it takes!
- A history of success in a wide variety of personal injury claims; our team has the skill, experience, and determination to provide aggressive representation for your wrongful death case
- Millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts
- Accolades from peer-review organizations like Super Lawyers, American Academy of Attorneys Top 40 Under 40, and the International Advisory Experts Award for Personal Injury
- Free case evaluations directly with our lawyers
At LA Century Law, we are proud of our track record of success. See how we can represent you with no upfront cost to you and no fee for our services unless we win your case.
Wrongful Death Lawyers – Free Consultation
Time is limited, so don’t wait to call or message and talk to our wrongful death lawyers. We want you to learn about your case and your options, so reach out today for your free consultation.
See how LA Century Law can help you and your family during this difficult time. We look forward to hearing from you.