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San Fernando Valley Wrongful Death Attorney

I'm Sorry for your Loss

When a loved one is wrongfully taken from this world, the pain and disruption to life experienced by the decedent's heirs is indescribable. Death is a part of life, but we all hope and pray that our loved ones die of natural causes. When someone else is responsible for the death of a loved one because of a negligent or wrongful act, the loss of life is called wrongful death.

If your loved one suffered a wrongful death, you will undoubtedly be feeling the deepest pain. For that reason you should focus on healing to the best of your ability. As an heir, California law grants you legal rights to compensate you for your loss. And even though it may feel too difficult to consider taking legal action against the responsible party, you may believe that it is important to seek some measure of justice.

As a san fernando valley wrongful death attorney, I can help you find a little justice. Tragically, no one can bring back your loved one. But, I can make sure that the responsible party understands the full extent of the damage that they caused you and your family. And they should be held accountable for their conduct.

Wrongful Death Defined

The purpose of California's wrongful death statute is to compensate the decedent's survivors, to deter wrongful conduct and to define which damages are recoverable.

Wrongful death can occur because of car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents and even medical malpractice. A wrongful death attorney must have a comprehensive understanding of how to handle each type of personal injury case that may have brought about decedent's death.

The claim of wrongful death is broken up into two categories. One category is for the death of an adult. The other category gives parents the right to recover for the death of a minor child. Within both categories lie two measures of damages for wrongful death plaintiffs: (1) Economic damages and (2) Noneconomic damages.

Economic Damages (this list is the same for both categories of plaintiffs mentioned above):

  • Loss of future financial support
  • Loss of benefits or gifts from the decedent
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Value of household services that decedent would have provided

Noneconomic Damages (there are important differences in this list for both categories):

  • Loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, moral support.
  • Loss of enjoyment of sexual relations (*this element is obviously not compensable for parents suing for the death of a minor child).
  • Loss of decedent's training and guidance (*this element is also not available for parents suing for the death of a minor child).

It is noteworthy that the wrongful death statute does not provide for the right to recover for pain and suffering, grief, or mental and emotional distress. The statutory purpose of the wrongful death claim is to compensate the family members or other individuals who qualify for the loss of support—financial and emotional.

Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death?

Because the right to sue for wrongful death is created by California statute, the law only permits certain people to recover for this claim. Further, the explanation of who qualifies to sue is rather complex. Suffice it to say that in most cases the permitted heirs include the following individuals or the decedent's representative on their behalf:

  • Surviving spouse
  • Domestic partner
  • Children
  • Issue of deceased children

If the following individuals can prove they were financially dependent on the decedent, they will qualify as plaintiffs:

  • Putative spouse
  • Children of the putative spouse
  • Stepchildren
  • Parents

Also, minors who do not qualify under the above examples may sue if at the time decedent passed, the minor lived at the decedent's house for the previous 6 months and was financially dependent on the decedent at least half of the minor's support.

Contact My Office to Learn about Your Rights

When you call my office, I will speak to you at no charge so that we can fully discuss the facts surrounding the passing of your loved one. Due to the complexity of wrongful death litigation, you want to make certain that you hire an attorney that has experiencing handling wrongful death cases. Such experience is necessary in order to properly initiate discovery, preservation, and analysis of relevant evidence.

If my office is retained to provide legal representation I would initiate a complete investigation and hire any experts who may be necessary to prove the liability of the responsible parties. These steps should be taken as soon as possible.

Of course, I will handle your wrongful death case on a contingency fee basis. This means my fee comes out of the settlement or jury award. If there is no recovery, there is no fee.

CALL me today to learn the full scope of your rights.

Telephone: (818) 588-0653