Wrongful Death

For immediate help or to get answers about wrongful death damages claim, contact our experienced and trusted California wrongful death lawyers at 949.328.4818. We will discuss your options with you and if we are able to help you, we’ll provide a no payment guarantee that if we don’t win your wrongful death case, you won’t pay a penny.

In addition, we relieve you of the burden of paying the cost of litigation by advancing all costs until your case settles. We have experienced wrongful death trial attorneys and litigation staff.

Recovering from the loss of a family member is one of life’s most difficult challenges. Following your loss, the weight of the new responsibilities that rest upon your shoulders may seem too difficult to bear. But our experienced attorneys are here for you. We understand how to treat clients recovering from debilitating grief and will give you straightforward answers to help you put your life back on track. Whether you have a wrongful death damages case or not, you can count on Gerard Law’s Personal Injury Attorneys to give you straightforward answers and advice to help you make the best decision for you and your family.

If you have lost a loved one as a result of someone’s negligence, contact us today to take advantage of our free professional consultation.

Damages That Can Be Recovered From a California Wrongful Death Claim

A California wrongful death claim can be complicated, which is why it is so important to have an experienced wrongful death attorney on your side. As the survivor of a loved one, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit for the recovery of the following three kinds of damages:

  1. The loss of the love, companionship, comfort, affection, society, solace, moral support, and (if a spouse is a claimant) consortium of the decedent;
  2. The value of the household services the decedent would have provided in the future if any, and
  3. The value of the financial support which the claimant would have received from the decedent but for the death.

After a loved one has passed away, there are only certain people who may file a wrongful-death claim. First in line are the surviving spouse, children, and surviving issue of deceased children of the decedent. These survivors can file separately or jointly. If these types of claimants do not exist, next in line are the person’s: parents; then brothers and sisters; then the children of deceased brothers and sisters; then grandparents; and then their lineal descendants

A second group of claimants, which are not covered in the first group are: putative spouse (a person who can prove that he/she had good faith belief that they were married to the decedent, but were not married by law); children of putative spouse; stepchildren and parents of decedent

The only way that those qualified under the second group can file a wrongful death claim is if they can prove that they were dependent upon the decedent at the time of death.

The final class of claimant is any minor who can prove that they were a resident of the decedent’s household for 180 days prior to the death and that they were dependent upon the decedent for at least 50% of their support at the time of death.

The Potential Value of a California Wrongful Death Claim

The value of a wrongful death claim is usually determined by the defendant’s liability insurance coverage or his or her assets.  However, an experienced California wrongful death attorney can help victims’ families obtain maximum compensation by carefully examining the specific aspects of the case at hand. For example, when there are several individuals claiming compensation, a probate estate may need to be created. The wrongful death claim will then be brought in the name of the estate rather than the individual claimants.

Another important step in a wrongful death case is to establish the life expectancy of the decedent. Some of the factors that may be taken into consideration include the victim’s age, lifestyle, medical history and occupation. It can also be a challenge to determine how much financial support survivors lost as a result of their loved one’s death. This would require an assessment of the decedent’s employment and salary history, anticipated future wages including promotions, raises, etc.

Wrongful Death versus Murder

What is the difference between wrongful death and murder? Wrongful death lawsuits are a civil action. These are lawsuits brought forth by the deceased victim’s estate or family members, most often, immediate family members. The claimants attempt to prove that the defendant was responsible or civilly liable for the deceased person’s death as the result of a careless, deliberate or negligent act. The burden of proof is also different and lesser in civil lawsuits.

Murder or homicide cases, on the other hand, are criminal cases. The burden of proof in criminal cases is on the prosecution. The prosecutor must prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the person committed the murder. It is important to remember that the wrongdoer will be punished and ordered to pay restitution in a murder case. But only a civil wrongful death claim can help compensate victims’ families monetarily for the losses sustained.

Contacting an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney

The experienced wrongful death attorneys at Gerard Law will skillfully handle your case while treating you with sensitivity and compassion. We understand what families are going through after a loved one’s death. We understand that no amount of money can bring back a beloved family member. But, we are here to help you through this difficult time and do everything in our power to help you get justice and fair compensation for your losses.

To determine if you are eligible in any category to file a California wrongful death claim, it is important to have a knowledgeable attorney on your side. By retaining a California wrongful death attorney from Gerard Law, you can be assured that we will take care of all the paperwork, research, and answer all of your questions. Please call our office for your free and confidential consultation with one of our wrongful death attorneys. We can help you answer any questions and tell you how to handle the case.