Proving a California Wrongful Death Lawsuit - Step by Step

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Below is the latest cutting-edge legal info available on proving a wrongful death case. This data covers the most devastating tort claim known.

Furthermore, this information below gets thoroughly discussed by a proven lawyer. Here, tort lawyer, Michael P. Ehline, explains it all. But if you need more info call toll-free at (213) 596-9642. Table of Contents:

Your injury claim must get filed within the two-year time limit in the state of California. But exceptions apply..

Wining Wrongful Death Claims - Knowing Each Element Aids in Success.


Definition of wrongful death: The death of a close family member or life partner under a “civil union.”  When a loved one passes away from natural causes, a dark tragedy befalls the whole family.

But when a wrongful death occurs, the situation becomes worse. A non-natural death makes the survivors feel cheated. Because another person took away in many cases, the sole provider, bankruptcy looms around the corner.

Be that as it may, the family has rights. As a result, dependents can file a claim against the negligent party. (the defendant). By and large, this acts to reclaim losses due to the death of a loved one. (the decedent).

But the ends of justice become served. Now families have closure. At this point, the family can move on with their lives.

Who Knows if the Death Meets the Legal Elements of an Injury Claim?

A wrongful death attorney should get hired right away. Only a trained expert can properly and successfully handle a wrongful death case. The good news for injured families?

Experienced legal help stands ready 24/7 at Ehline Law Firm Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC. But the important thing remains educating survivors about their rights.

Basic elements of a wrongful death suit in a nutshell:

  • A death of a person caused by;
  • The negligence; or wilful intent of another, that causes one or all of these.
  • Loss of love, affection. (aka emotional support).
  • financial support, physical support, such as yard work, doing dishes, etc. (past, present, and future).

Element One:

Was the Passing Caused by DEFENDANT's Negligence or an Intentional Act? Or Was it Something Else?

The first element remains causation. In other words, if the defendant did act negligently, is that why someone died? Or was it another cause? Was it a natural cause?


For example, a family cannot sue a doctor or hospital if their loved one dies naturally from cancer. But if the caretakers exposed the patient to radiation or bad drugs, there could be a case.

In that rare case, cancer came from a wrongful act or negligence. But your lawyer must show the defendant or its agents caused the death. For example, there may be other defendants who caused decedent's cancer. (such as an asbestos maker).

Element Two:

If Defendant Caused, the Damage was it Negligent or Intentional?

Did the defendant do it on purpose? So the next element deals with two sub-elements, with the same outcome; that is whether:

  • Negligence or;
  • A Willful Act caused the death.


A willful act would include shooting someone in the head at point blank. Contrast this with negligence. A negligent act is rear-ending someone while busy talking on your cell phone. (This could also qualify as a “Reckless Act” depending upon the given facts).

Element Three:

Did the Survivor suffer a Loss?

One would think this would prove easy. But you would get surprised to see how many families have estranged relations. For this reason, they would probably recover more in “intestate succession" than in a lawsuit!

Wrongful Death Losses Explained:

  • Loss of love: And it includes things like sex, and just the love loss itself.
  • Financial Support: Money remains a big factor. How much did your loved one provide? Was he or she a doctor, or a lawyer? Or was the dead person a garbage collector? Was he or she contributing to an education fund for the survivors, etc.?
  • Physical support also has financial value. So if your husband provided house-work etc., chores, you have to pay someone. Or you must take time from your job. Understood? And yes, you become entitled to money for the past, present, and future.

More Detailed Requirements Under CA Law:

Your injury claim must get filed within the two-year time limit in the state of California. But exceptions apply. So it could get limited by statute or the Government Code, for example. The court will want the facts and the evidence. So the judge needs to see that the negligent party was strictly accountable for the death.

Obviously, the deceased victim will have left behind a family. These close relatives are usually able to file the survivors’ claim legally. Close family means parents, a spouse, children, or stepchildren, and in some cases, grandparents. Also, life partners get covered under civil unions.

Children, if minors, will have the lawsuit filed by a parent or guardian ad litem (learn more here.) As discussed above, proof of monetary damages will need to get proven in court.

Pursuing Your Negligent Killing Claim.

To pursue a wrongful death suit, one must prove the elements. Presently, decedent’s survivors must prove, among other things; they suffered a financial loss. Sad relatives must also show loss of love and affection. Plus they should show other emotional damages. (this could be billed for psychology treatments, and anti-depression meds).

Also, the executor/executrix of the estate generally makes this claim. This person represents the decedent's wishes on behalf of all other parties. But parties can include the spouse, the children, other immediate or dependent loved ones. Last, family, such as parents or siblings, or beneficiaries, remain potential parties.

Plus, it must get demonstrated to the court that the parties suffered losses. Last, they must have a monetary value. So examples include medical, funeral, and burial costs. But they also include loss of a supporting income in the family. Also, they can include the loss of your potential inheritance or the loss of a caretaker.

Ehline Law Firm Helps The Survivors of Death Claims.

With decades of experience at hand, the attorneys at Ehline Law Firm are your best option when dealing with a case of wrongful death. Our lawyers have been in this field for many years. Also, they know how things can be made difficult for victims. First of all, the insurance company of the offender and the offender is usually less than helpful.

But insurance adjusters can only stonewall and evade for as long as they see you alone on the matter. By having our experienced and insightful attorneys by your side, you can always expect that you will be receiving justice. Hence, you can rest assured your loss will get compensated in the most satisfying way possible.

That’s the Ehline Difference. Proven outcomes and Millions recovered. “Do or Die.” Hire award-winning, and nationally renowned tort lawyer, Michael P. Ehline, Esq. Call for a FREE legal consultation. No recovery, no attorney’s fee. (213) 596-9642.

Why Choose Us?

We offer the “Ehline Difference.” We return phone calls and, a real attorney, not a secretary, answers that call. The wrongful death lawyer at Ehline Law Firm will be prominent in proving your case to the court.

They can assure that all the elements of a wrongful death suit get met. Hence, chances for the success of the survivors of the decedent become improved significantly.

How Much is My Case Worth?

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