Agoura Hills Wrongful Death Lawyer
Not many things in life are more devastating than the sudden loss of a family member. When that loss is unexpected, caused by the negligent actions of another person, it can be even more difficult to comprehend. While nothing can fill the hole left by a loved one, a California wrongful death claim can help ease the financial burden and ensure that the responsible parties are held to account for the devastation they have caused. The dedicated wrongful death attorneys at the Halpern Law Firm have been representing negligence victims and their families throughout Southern California for over 40 years. We fight to ensure you and your loved ones get fully compensated for the harm you have suffered as the result of a wrongful death.
What is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death claims arise when someone has been killed as a result of someone else’s negligence or recklessness. In essence, wrongful death claims take the place of the negligence-based personal injury claims that an accident victim would have been able to bring had they survived. Wrongful death claims allow surviving family members or a representative for the estate to sue a tortfeasor (negligent party) for the compensation that would have been owed to the accident victim and, depending on the estate, for additional damages the family members themselves suffered as a result of the loss of a loved one.
A wrongful death claim is typically available after an accidental death such as a car accident or slip & fall. The negligent person, business, or other entity responsible for the death may be held liable for the death and other harms caused. Not every accident-related death gives rise to a wrongful death claim, but many do. To bring a wrongful death claim, the plaintiff must demonstrate at least three elements: (1) there was negligence or some other wrongful act; (2) there was a correlation between the negligence and the death of the victim; and (3) the negligence caused some sort of damages, such as medical bills or pain and suffering.
Who Can Bring a California Wrongful Death Claim?
Wrongful death laws vary by state. Each carries its own laws concerning who can bring a wrongful death claim and what types of damages they can seek. In some states, surviving family members can bring wrongful death claims on their own behalf, seeking damages for the harm they have suffered as a result of the loss. In other states, wrongful death claims are only available to the estate of the deceased and are generally limited to the damages that would have been available to the decedent had they survived.
In California, the parties entitled to bring a wrongful death claim are covered by Code of Civil Procedure Section 377.60. A wrongful death claim may be brought by an appointed representative of the decedent’s estate or by one of the listed surviving family members. Typically, wrongful death claims in California are brought either by surviving spouses/domestic partners, surviving children or grandchildren of the deceased, or surviving parents of the deceased. Certain other more distant family members may be able to file a claim if no closer family members are alive and eligible.
What Compensation is Available in a Wrongful Death Case?
The specific amount available in a wrongful death case varies depending on the nature of the negligent conduct and other factors. Wrongful death claims in California cover both damages to the estate of the deceased person as well as certain damages to the surviving family members. Damages available to the estate include things like:
- Medical bills and other costs incurred during the deceased’s final injury or illness;
- Burial expenses
- Lost income, including future income the decedent would have earned had they survived
Damages available to surviving family members can include:
- Loss of anticipated future income
- Loss of potential inheritance
- The value of household contributions
- Loss of companionship, love, emotional support, and guidance
An experienced California wrongful death attorney can walk you through the potential damages and help you maximize the value of your wrongful death claim, providing much-needed financial support and holding the negligent party accountable for the harm they caused.
If someone in your family has been killed as a result of another’s negligence, you need seasoned and compassionate legal help to recover the compensation you are owed. The dedicated wrongful death legal team at the Halpern Law Firm is ready to fight for your rights and your family. Call us today so we can take action to make sure you obtain the best recovery possible for your case. In order to do that – we need to hear from you!
Contact the Halpern Law Firm at (818) 785-5999 for a Free No-Risk Confidential Consultation.