Wrongful Deaths

Have You Lost a Family Member Due to the Actions of Another?

Seek Justice Now.

If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence or intentional act of another, your family is facing the both the loss of someone dear to you and the fact the death should not have occurred. You have the right to seek justice, as well as compensation, in a wrongful death claim.

You are not alone with your loss. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2010, 120,859 Americans died in accidents. The FBI estimates that in 2011, 12,664 Americans were the victims of murder. There were 1,794 homicides in California that year, according to the state’s Attorney General.


Wrongful Death Lawsuits Can Benefit Surviving Family Members.

A wrongful death lawsuit could provide compensation to the family of a person who died due to the negligence or intentional acts of another. Such a lawsuit must be brought within two years from the time the death occurred.

To win a wrongful death lawsuit the plaintiff must show the defendant was negligent (or intentionally killed the deceased). It must be shown the negligence was the proximate, direct cause of the death.

Wrongful Death Lawsuits Can Result When Negligence Causes the Death of a Loved One.

Wrongful death lawsuits can occur any time one’s negligence or intentional actions caused another person’s death. Such a lawsuit can occur in the following types of cases:

  • Medical malpractice.
  • Nursing home negligence.
  • Product liability.
  • Motor vehicle accident.
  • Dog bite.
  • Slip and fall.

Depending on the type of case, there are different standards of proof required to be successful. In some cases, such as product liability or dog bites, strict liability is applied, and the plaintiff does not need to show negligence, only that some prohibited act or outcome happened and that death resulted. If that can be shown, the defendant is automatically liable.

Family Members and Those Dependent on the Deceased Can Bring Legal Action.

Under California law, the following can be plaintiffs in a wrongful death action:

  • A surviving spouse or domestic partner.
  • Children and grandchildren of the deceased.
  • If there are no surviving children or grandchildren, those who would be entitled to the decedent’s property under state intestacy laws.
  • Stepchildren or parents who were dependent on the deceased for support.
  • Any minor who lived in the deceased’s home for 180 days prior to the death and who depended on that person for half or more of his/her support.

Damages Cannot Bring Back A Loved One, But May Make Plaintiffs Economically Whole.

Any damages may be awarded under California law that “under all the circumstances of the case, may be just.” The law permits the estate of a deceased victim to recover damages that the decedent would have been entitled to if he or she survived, including penalties and punitive damages, but not including damages for pain, suffering, or disfigurement. California law also permits the plaintiff in a wrongful death lawsuit to recover additional damages:

  • Funeral expenses.
  • Loss of any future earnings the deceased person would have gained , had he or she lived.
  • Any benefits (including medical benefits or 401K benefits) that were lost.
  • Pain and suffering by the survivors caused by the death.
  • Loss of companionship.

Those of us at Agnew Brusavich understand that your loved one was invaluable to you and money cannot compensate for your loss. However, it can provide a step forward in a family’s recovery and healing and, possibly, a step toward obtaining justice. To obtain compensation, we use our ability to build cases that explain the full impact that the wrongful death of your loved one has had on your life. We understand and communicate the many ways that your loved one contributed to your family. We make it clear why you need and deserve compensation.

If you have lost a loved one due to the negligent or intentional act of another, contact our office so we can talk about your situation and your options to help you obtain justice for the death of your loved one.