If a loved one dies due to the negligence or misconduct of another person, you may be entitled to a financial recovery for wrongful death. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Dordulian Law Group work hard on behalf of those with wrongful death claims in the Los Angeles area and throughout California. We have recovered over $100 million for our clients over the years, including winning many wrongful death cases, and will help you secure the compensation you deserve. Along the way, we will treat you with compassion and work to protect your rights, focusing on the priorities that matter to you.
When a person dies because of someone else’s negligence or misconduct (up to and including murder), this can give rise to a wrongful death claim. Unlike an assault or homicide case, which are criminal matters brought by the state, a wrongful death claim is filed in civil court by the spouse or family members of the deceased person. Alternatively, someone who represents the decedent’s estate can bring a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death claim can involve everything from major car accidents to medical malpractice.
If the case succeeds, the court will order the defendant to pay money damages to the decedent’s survivors. No jail time or other criminal penalties are imposed in a wrongful death lawsuit, although there might be a concurrent criminal case involving the same defendant and conduct. Even if there is a criminal case and the defendant is acquitted, a wrongful death claim can still succeed because the standard of proof is lower in a civil lawsuit.
One of the most famous wrongful death verdicts involved the O.J. Simpson murder case. Even though Simpson was found not guilty of murder in the criminal trial, he was found liable for murder in the civil lawsuit brought by the families of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald L. Goldman. Other high-profile wrongful death cases have involved Porsche and Fiat Chrysler. One of Dordulian Law Group’s ongoing wrongful death cases involves a tragic bus rollover accident.
Unfortunately, wrongful death incidents are not uncommon. In the U.S., the following statistics related to wrongful death cases are staggering:
If you’re one of the thousands of people whose loved one has died due to someone else’s negligence or misconduct, call a DLG attorney today at 800-880-7777. We have more than 20 years of experience in personal injury and wrongful death cases, and will provide a free consultation to determine whether or not you have a viable case. During your free consultation, we will explain all of your rights under the law and answer any questions you may have regarding your wrongful death claim.
In a wrongful death case, the decedent’s heirs can sue for both economic and non-economic damages.
The purpose of economic damages in a wrongful death case is to compensate heirs for the financial support they could reasonably have expected to receive from their loved one if he or she had not died. This type of financial injury is usually determined primarily by considering the circumstances at the time of the decedent’s passing. Factors can include the decedent’s age, income potential, and life expectancy, as well as his or her health before the injury. Additional factors can include the income, parental, and other needs of family members or representatives who were affected by the death.
Economic damages include things that can be calculated, such as:
Non-economic damages are more intangible, and fall under California’s loss of consortium law. “Loss of consortium” applies to a surviving spouse or domestic partner, and can result in damages for the loss of:
DLG’s experienced attorneys will need to make an extensive inquiry to determine how much you may be entitled to in your wrongful death case. We will consider all of the factors listed above in an effort to secure the largest possible settlement given your specific situation. If we take your case, we will conduct exhaustive research into everything that could possibly affect the financial damages you may be owed. You can have confidence that we, as your legal representatives, will always put your best interests first.
In California, a wrongful death claim can be based on any type of wrongdoing, including negligence, gross negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct. These claims can include, for example, cases involving death as a result of:
In some situations, the defendant may be liable for wrongful death under the doctrine of “strict liability,” even if they weren’t negligent. In California, these cases include most dog bites and injuries caused by defective products.
Under California law, the following family members or personal representatives may bring a wrongful death lawsuit:
Because so many types of accidents and situations can lead to wrongful death lawsuits, it’s important to talk to a wrongful death attorney at DLG before you decide whether to pursue a claim. We have the expertise and experience to explain whether you have a solid case, and if so, how best to pursue financial damages. As our clients will attest, we will fight for you every step of the way to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.
Normally, a wrongful death settlement is paid by the insurance company that provides liability coverage for the responsible party. However, there are limits to what some insurance policies will pay. If the judgment or settlement is above a certain amount, the insurance company will only pay up to the coverage limit. The defendant is personally liable for the remainder of any judgment or settlement that his or her insurance company doesn’t pay, including your legal fees in the case. Such cases can result in the defendant’s wages or bank accounts being garnished, or their assets being seized.
The Internal Revenue Service states that most wrongful death settlement payments can’t be taxed if they are compensatory, meaning the payments are designed to compensate the survivors for their pain and suffering due to the victim’s death. If you think you will receive a wrongful death settlement, talk with a DLG attorney about the tax implications before accepting it.
Someone filing a wrongful death claim may also have a claim for “survival” on behalf of the decedent’s estate. Unlike a wrongful death action, a survival action seeks financial compensation for the decedent’s economic losses caused by the defendant’s negligence or misconduct, as opposed to losses suffered by the decedent’s family. According to Code of Civil Procedure 377.30, damages that can be awarded in a survival action include “the loss or damage that the decedent sustained or incurred before death that the decedent would have been entitled to recover had the decedent lived.” This can include medical expenses and lost wages, as well as penalties and punitive or exemplary damages. Essentially, California’s survival statute allows an heir to recover these damages on behalf of the decedent. However, damages for pain, suffering, or disfigurement are not recoverable in a survival action.
Ready to file a claim and pursue justice through a financial damages award? Our expert attorneys are available online or by phone now.
In California, you generally have two years following the date that the deceased individual passed away to file a wrongful death claim. However, an exception called the “discovery rule” may apply if:
In these cases, you may have more time to file a claim – specifically, two years after the date on which the person’s death was (or should have been) known, or the cause of death giving rise to the wrongful death claim was determined.
There are other exceptions as well. For example, if you’re suing a public entity in California for wrongful death, you usually need to file a claim against the public entity within six months of the person’s death. If the claim is denied (which it often is), you will have an additional six months to sue in court.
In medical malpractice cases, you must file a wrongful death claim within three years of the date of injury, or one year after you reasonably should have discovered the injury – whichever is earlier.
There are other rules governing wrongful death cases filed by minors injured as a result of the death of a loved one or representative. A survival action can be brought up to two years from the date of the injury, or six months after the decedent’s death – whichever is later.
Because the statutes of limitations in wrongful death and survival actions vary depending on the circumstances, it’s important to talk with a DLG wrongful death attorney who can advise you as to exactly when your filing period expires. Our attorneys have more than 20 years of experience successfully litigating wrongful death cases, and we will work hard to obtain the compensation you’re entitled to receive.
It’s important to file your wrongful death claim as soon as possible following the death in question. This is, in part, to preserve any evidence you may need to prove your case. We will work with medical experts and other investigative professionals like our in-house Chief Investigator with 30 years of experience in the LAPD, Detective Moses Castillo. Our team will help gather and preserve crucial evidence that will strengthen your case.
Don’t miss the deadline for filing a claim. If you do, you will waive your right to seek financial compensation for damages.
California Code of Civil Procedure 377.60 allows family members or personal representatives to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. This specifically includes:
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Wrongful death damages are a means for compensating heirs for the value of financial support they could reasonably have expected to receive from the decedent, should he or she have lived. Financial injury is the primary measure of damages in a wrongful death action. Typically, the main consideration in awarding damages is the decedent’s circumstances at the time of death. Said circumstances can include age, his or her earning potential, life expectancy, health prior to the incident, and the circumstances of the family members or representatives affected (such as loss of income or loss of parental guidance).
Determining the appropriate financial figure for you to claim in your case involves an extensive inquiry on the part of Dordulian Law Group’s expert analysts, factoring in all of the above criteria to successfully secure the largest possible settlement given your specific set of circumstances. As part of your case, we research every possible variable related to the financial damages impacting you, providing you with the necessary confidence and trust that your legal representatives always prioritize your best interests.
There are several reasons to choose Dordulian Law Group to represent you in your wrongful death case. First and foremost, we have the most talented, most experienced, and most respected wrongful death attorneys in California. Our clients tell us again and again how thrilled they are with the level of service we provide and the results we obtain for them.
In addition, we don’t get paid unless you win your case and recover financial damages. If your case isn’t successful, we won’t charge you anything for our services. This means you will never have upfront expenses if you choose DLG. With DLG’s no fee guarantee, your personal financial situation should never keep you from filing a wrongful death claim and recovering the compensation you deserve. We have recovered more than $100 million for our clients with a 98% success rate. You won’t regret choosing DLG to represent you, because we won’t take your case unless we are confident we can win.
Our attorneys are available seven days a week to discuss your case with complete confidentiality, giving you the respect and attention you deserve. During your consultation, you will have an opportunity to ask questions, and we will help you understand your legal rights and options, as well as the statutory time limits that may apply to your case.
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