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Wrongful Death

The death of a loved one is an incredibly difficult process to endure. In the event that the death was caused by the negligence of another party, financial worries and legal action prosecuting those responsible can intensify feelings of loss and stress. When it comes to recovering the damages suffered after a family member's death, it is vital to retain legal counsel to learn your rights and help file a timely wrongful death claim.

Help for Victims' Families

When a person dies due to the fault of another person, that person's living relatives may be able to file a wrongful death claim. A death may occur as a result of a car-accident, trucking accident, motorcycle accident, bicycle accident, pedestrian accident, or a fall on someone's property (premises liability accident). Sometimes a person incurs hospital or medical bills because of the accident and then dies of those injuries. All of these situations are wrongful death claims. Wrongful death claims were created to protect the rights and well-being of a victim's family and filing them correctly is crucial to being adequately compensated.

Who can file a wrongful death claim?

Wrongful death claims are filed on behalf of the survivors who suffer any damages, expenses and extenuating circumstances as a result of the decedent's death.

According to California Civil Procedure section 377.60, the following people, or a representative on their behalf, may file wrongful death claims:

  • Immediate family members (spouses, children and parents of unmarried children)
  • Life partners or domestic partners
  • Putative spouses (a domestic partnership entered into in good faith)
  • Minors residing with and dependent on the decedent 6 months prior to the death

What are the elements of wrongful death compensation?

Compensation for family members or individuals filing claims typically involves three general types of damages. These damages include economic damages, non-economic damages and punitive damages.

  • Economic damages consist of any financial support or monetary benefit the victim would have provided to the survivors during the victim’s life, funeral expenses. A survivor’s loss of financial support is defined broadly to be any financial support, gifts, benefits, and the value of household services that the victim would have contributed to his or her household. If medical expenses are incurred prior to death, these would be recoverable economic damages for a personal injury claim that could be filed at the same time as the wrongful death claim by survivors.
  • Non-economic damages are considered less tangible, though not less valuable, forms of support the deceased victim would have provided. For example, the surviving family's loss of love, companionship, comfort, loss of care, protection, guidance, moral support, and advice of a loved one are all forms of non-economic damages for which a negligent party is required to pay compensation. These forms of loss and suffering are not determined by any formula or financial calculation. They are determined by the evidence presented by the survivors of their relationship to the deceased victim.
  • Punitive damages are rare, but occasionally applicable, and can be awarded the families of victims in order to punish those responsible for the wrongful death and can vary considerably from case to case. The law allows punitive damages if malice, oppression, or fraud is proven. Oppression may be defined as the conscious disregard for the rights of others.

Providing Victims with Legal Help

Calculating damages can be a very complicated, emotionally demanding, and very difficult experience for victims. x. These cases can involve complicated areas of law, intricacies in financial matters and an uncompassionate legal atmosphere, making wrongful death procedures easily misunderstood without experienced legal advice. Our firm takes pride in the fact that we establish a close and genuine relationship with our clients, competently assess their particular case and do everything available under the law to recover all compensation to which the survivors are legally entitled. We understand that wrongful death claims create additional burdens to an already difficult situation and Swartz & Kennedy handles all the legal and insurance aspects of the wrongful death claims allowing our clients to focus on the difficult family situation surrounding the loss of a loved one.

Contact us to discuss your situation and how we can help.

We've Fought and Won for Our Clients

See the Results
  • $5 Million Auto v. Auto (Commercial)
  • $3 Million Auto v. Truck (Wrongful Death)
  • $1 Million Auto v. Auto
  • $1 Million Premises Liability
  • $850 Thousand Auto v. Truck (Agricultural big rig and trailer)
  • $850 Thousand Auto v. Truck (Big Rig and trailer)
  • $850 Thousand Auto v. Truck (Commercial)
  • $500 Thousand Auto v. Auto
  • $465 Thousand Autos v. Motorcycle Accident
  • $450 Thousand Auto v. Auto
  • $300 Thousand Homeowners Liability
  • $300 Thousand Homeowners Liability
  • $205 Thousand Auto v. Bicycle