Los Angeles Wrongful Death Lawyers
Helping California families seek justice for the loss of their loved ones
A wrongful death incident can shatter someone’s life within moments. No amount of money is ever going to make up for the loss you have suffered; however, the responsible person or party should be held accountable for that negligence. You are going to face financial hardships you could not have anticipated and stresses you could not have foreseen.
At McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP, our Los Angeles wrongful death attorneys fight to ensure that such actions will never be repeated. We understand the unique challenges involved in filing a wrongful death claim. Your loved one is not alive to explain what happened. Your loved one is not alive to support, comfort, and guide you. Our lawyers have a strong record of handling personal injury claims and wrongful death claims. We fight so that families can receive the maximum amount of compensation the responsible defendants should pay.
- What is a wrongful death claim?
- What is the difference between a wrongful death claim and a survival action?
- Can you claim punitive damages in a wrongful death claim?
- What are the common causes of fatal injuries in Los Angeles?
- Why do I need a Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer on my side?
- Do you have a wrongful death lawyer near me?
What is a wrongful death claim?
Wrongful death occurs when the negligence or willful act of another person or persons results in the fatality of one or more persons. Under California law:
A cause of action for the death of a person caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another may be asserted by any of the following persons or by the decedent’s personal representative on their behalf:
(a) The decedent’s surviving spouse, domestic partner, children, and issue of deceased children, or, if there is no surviving issue of the decedent, the persons, including the surviving spouse or domestic partner, who would be entitled to the property of the decedent by intestate succession. If the parents of the decedent would be entitled to bring an action under this subdivision, and the parents are deceased, then the legal guardians of the decedent, if any, may bring an action under this subdivision as if they were the decedent’s parents.
The damages include:
- Burial and funeral expenses
- Loss of future income
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of household support
- Loss of guidance for minors
Under most circumstances, you only have two years from the date of your loved one’s death to file a claim. If the death was the result of negligence by a government official or entity, that time limit drops to six months. It is important that you speak to a Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer quickly to preserve your rights after a loved one dies to the fault of others.
What is the difference between a wrongful death claim and a survival action?
California also has a law regarding survival actions. Where wrongful death claims compensate survivors for the losses they sustained, survival actions are filed on behalf of the estate of the deceased. This is because the right to sue survives, even if the injured party does not.
In a survival claim, the estate (via a personal representative) can seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, the decedent’s pain and suffering before death, and property damage. Generally, the wrongful death claim and the survival action are filed together.
Can you claim punitive damages in a wrongful death claim?
Punitive damages are intended to punish a wrongdoer. Under the law, “where it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant has been guilty of oppression, fraud, or malice,” the injured party may seek punitive damages. Therefore, if your loved one’s death was the result of “oppression, fraud or malice,” you could be entitled to punitive damages.
Often, we work with prosecution because when the wrong is inexcusable, there are likely to be criminal charges. For example, if your loved one died because a driver was severely intoxicated, our Los Angeles wrongful death lawyers will likely include a punitive damage claim with the wrongful death and survival claims. We will work with the prosecution who will likely file a driving under the influence criminal charge.
What are the common causes of fatal injuries in Los Angeles?
Sometimes, a fatal injury occurs instantly. Other times, it can take weeks, months, or even years before a person succumbs to his or her injuries or illness. In Los Angeles County, accidents and unintentional injuries were the fifth-leading cause of death between 2018 and 2020.
Some of the more common causes of fatal accidents include:
- Defective products
- Accidental poisonings
- Toxic exposures
- Fires and burns
- Medical malpractice
- Acts of violence
Aviation accidents and mass transit accidents also account for a number of wrongful deaths, though less frequently.
Many victims with other catastrophic injuries die as a result of an accident.
Why do I need a Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer on my side?
We understand that dealing with any death is already traumatic. Many clients we have spoken with feel overwhelmed and pressured with the aftereffects of such a loss, and the idea of going through a lengthy legal battle may seem too much to bear. Other people feel uncomfortable about the process; they don’t want to appear greedy to their own friends and loved ones, let alone to strangers who may read about their experiences.
That is not, at its heart, what a wrongful death claim is about. When a texting driver hits a pedestrian, or a defective rocker causes a child to suffocate, or a company cuts corners and a family is exposed to deadly carbon monoxide, these are types of actions that should never have occurred. A wrongful death claim is a way to hold those negligent parties accountable for their actions, and to ensure that other families do not suffer the same fate.
You should not have to pay for the medical treatments your spouse needed because of someone else’s negligence. You should not have to pay for the property loss you sustained when you lost your home to a preventable wildfire, or a loved one to smoke inhalation. You should not have to pay when a company like Boeing installs a faulty system in its jets that leaves pilots unable to control their aircraft. And you should not have to spend the rest of your life worrying about how you will clothe your children, keep a roof over their heads or help them with college. The negligent parties should be responsible for those losses.
At McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP, we fight to do just that by seeking the maximum allowable compensation under the law. Our Los Angeles wrongful death attorneys have secured millions of dollars on behalf of our clients, including:
When your family is hurting and you don’t know where to turn, the McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP family is here to help you. Founded by three generations, our Los Angeles wrongful death law firm offers compassion and knowledge to guide families through the difficult aftermath of a wrongful death.
Do you have a wrongful death lawyer near me?
We meet the families of loved ones who died in an accident at our Los Angeles office in Westwood located at 10866 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1400. We are also available for video consultations.
We work with the police, investigators, and others to show how the accident caused the death of your loved one and why the accident was preventable.
Contact our Los Angeles wrongful death lawyers. We’ll protect your future.
While we cannot turn back the clock on an accident, our lawyers can help you seek justice by working to secure the compensation to which you are entitled. The highly skilled team at McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP understands the complexities of wrongful death lawsuits and has achieved exceptional results in these types of cases. Contact us or call us today to schedule a free consultation.