Modified: December 30, 2022

Wrongful Death Lawyers – What Does a California Wrongful Death Attorney Do?

Families who have lost a loved one due to another’s negligence or wrongful behavior can turn to a wrongful death attorney for assistance. A death is considered “wrongful” if it was caused by a breach of contract or warranty, illegal conduct, default, or negligence. The decedent’s estate or surviving family members may bring a civil lawsuit in certain situations.

Attorneys handling wrongful death claims typically have experience with cases involving personal injury. An experienced lawyer at Ehline Law Firm can assist your family in pursuing monetary compensation from those who are at fault for your losses.

We provide free consultations to help you further explore your legal options. If you suspect your loved one’s death was the act of another’s wrongdoing, give us a call to schedule a case review with one of our wrongful death lawyers!

What Does a California Wrongful Death Attorney Do?

Wrongful death attorneys will determine whether you have a legal basis to file a wrongful death claim. They also gather evidence, prove that the act was caused by negligence, and represent you in court if necessary. Let’s take a closer look at what wrongful death attorneys do.

1. Determining Whether You Have a Case

One of the first and most important tasks in wrongful death lawsuits is determining whether the surviving relatives have a legal basis for seeking restitution from the party at fault.

A necessary element of wrongful death cases is typically the decedent’s capacity to file a personal injury claim had they lived. Your California wrongful death lawyer will schedule a consultation to review your case and help you determine whether you can file a wrongful death claim for the loss of your loved one.

2. Explaining Your Legal Rights

Your lawyer will also explain who is legally permitted to pursue restitution for the wrongful death. Laws differ from state to state, so it’s important to understand what rules apply to your case. An attorney will also inform you of the statute of limitations that applies to your wrongful death claim and ensure that you don’t miss out on wrongful death settlements.

3. Gathering Evidence to Support the Wrongful Death Claim

Once your attorney has established just cause for a wrongful death lawsuit, he or she will gather supporting evidence.

Certain elements must be proved to win a wrongful death suit, much like in a personal injury case. You must understand that the individual responsible for the death of your loved one does not necessarily need to be prosecuted for a criminal act.

Although criminal liability could still warrant a wrongful death claim, civil liability can also be just cause for a wrongful death action. Medical malpractice that resulted in a person’s death, for example, could be considered wrongful death.

Your attorney will look at surveillance footage, witness statements, police reports, and more to prove that you have a case of criminal or civil liability.

4. Proving the Chain of Causation in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Although it is not a necessity for a wrongful death case, you must be able to demonstrate that the person’s actions were careless, negligent, or willful. Furthermore, you must show that the person’s reckless, malicious, or negligent actions were the direct cause of the demise of your loved one.

You must also prove that the death caused you or a member of your immediate family to suffer harm. To establish negligence, one must show that the person who caused the death did not take precautions or act with reasonable care. Your wrongful death lawyer will help you do this.

What Is “Reasonable Care?”

To obtain a wrongful death settlement in California, you must prove that the at-fault party’s actions that ultimately led to the loss of your loved one lacked ordinary care or caution. You will also have to demonstrate that the at-fault party lacked the skills that any reasonable person would have exhibited in the same situation.

5. Connecting Negligent Actions to Injuries

A wrongful death lawyer must demonstrate negligence before proving that the act caused your loved one to die. A person won’t be held liable if it can’t be proven that their actions led to the fatality.

After making a diagnosis, a doctor would not be held responsible for medical malpractice if the patient chose not to get treatment.

The doctor was not responsible for the person’s death because he or she decided not to receive treatment after making the correct diagnosis. There would not be grounds for a wrongful death claim in this scenario.

6. Calculating Damages for Wrongful Death Claims

When you file a wrongful death lawsuit, it’s important to understand what a fair settlement offer is. Your wrongful death lawyer will tell you which damages you may claim. This includes both economic and non-economic damages.

Here are some examples of losses that you may claim in a wrongful death lawsuit:

  • Funeral expenses
  • Loss of companionship
  • The emotional distress caused by the wrongful death
  • Loss of benefits
  • Pain and suffering experienced by the deceased before their death
  • Lost wages and lost future earnings.

In some cases, you could file a claim for punitive damages. These additional penalties serve as a deterrent to others to refrain from similar conduct and penalize the guilty party for grave misconduct.

An attorney with experience managing wrongful death claims may review all the pertinent information and determine an appropriate amount of compensation for your wrongful death case.

7. Assistance with Administration

Wrongful death cases are often challenging, so an attorney can guide family members through them. Your lawyer will also help you determine whether a personal representative was designated in the deceased’s will or if a court appointment is required.

Moreover, your legal representative will also handle all the paperwork that often accompanies a wrongful death case.

8. Providing Legal Representation in Court

The truth is that most personal injury claims never go to court. They are often settled out of court. However, if the parties involved cannot come to an agreement, the case is taken to court. Wrongful death lawsuits, on the other hand, often go to trial. When that happens, you need reliable legal representation.

California wrongful death lawyers represent their clients in court, presenting the evidence they gathered to prove the negligence or intentional misconduct of the other party or parties.

What Causes Wrongful Death?

Incidents of all kinds have the potential to cause wrongful death. In certain accidents, the person dies right away, but in other circumstances, the sufferer may incur injuries that eventually cause their death. This might happen after one incident, or it might happen after frequent exposure.

The deceased person would have been eligible for financial compensation if they had lived through these circumstances for expenses such as lost wages, medical bills, and other losses directly attributable to the event. In the case of a deadly accident, the surviving family members may be entitled to financial compensation instead.

Common Causes of Wrongful Deaths in California

Here are some common causes of wrongful death:

  • Medical malpractice
  • Murder
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Construction accidents
  • Work-related death
  • Defective products.

Regardless of the reason for your loved one’s untimely death, we can provide reliable legal representation. We will review your wrongful death case to determine who can be held liable.

Is a Lawyer Necessary When Filing a Wrongful Death Claim?

You should speak with a wrongful death lawyer if you think a loved one’s death may have been prevented. In the event that you decide to proceed with legal action, lawyers can offer valuable information and counsel.

They will also be better equipped to negotiate a reasonable settlement because they are familiar with insurance companies strategies. Your rights and the parties accountable for your loss can both be better understood with the assistance of an experienced lawyer.

You will require a knowledgeable lawyer in California if you decide to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Why Work with Ehline Law Firm?

When filing a wrongful death lawsuit, you want to deal with a lawyer who acts in your best interests. This is why choosing the right attorney is crucial. Why work with Ehline Law? The answer lies in experience.

At Ehline Law, we have a long track record and have won millions of dollars in settlements for surviving family members.

Here are more reasons to choose our law firm:

  • We work on a contingency-fee-basis, which means we don’t get paid unless you receive compensation!
  • Our team offers free consultations to review your case.
  • You can use our 24/7 helpline to obtain legal assistance at any time of the day or night!
  • We are well-versed in California law and can help you file a successful wrongful death claim.

Our team of legal experts will represent you and assist you in determining the best course of action.

Contact a California Wrongful Death Lawyer Today!

At Ehline Law, we know that no amount of money will compensate for the loss of a loved one. However, you shouldn’t have to endure catastrophic financial and emotional repercussions when a family member dies due to someone else’s irresponsible, willful, or careless behavior.

You can pursue justice for the loss of a loved one and ease the burden as you grieve by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. 

Even if it involves taking your wrongful death suit to court, our award-winning team of wrongful death attorneys will work tirelessly to help you recover compensation.

Consider speaking with one of our attorneys if you think the guilty party should have acted more responsibly to prevent the death of a loved one. You can reach us by calling (213) 596-9642 or using the contact form.

Our attorneys will assess the details of your case and work with you to choose the best course of action.

Top Notch American Injury Lawyer, Michael Ehline

Michael Ehline

Michael is a managing partner at the nationwide Ehline Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC. He’s an inactive Marine and became a lawyer in the California State Bar Law Office Study Program, later receiving his J.D. from UWLA School of Law. Michael has won some of the world’s largest motorcycle accident settlements.

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