Wrongful Death Lawsuit When a Family Member Dies
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento wrongful death lawyer. State laws cover who can place a wrongful death claim following the death of a loved one caused by negligence. In this way, the family of the decedent can seek legal remedy through a civil suit for the financial loss caused by the wrongful death. It also allows the family to seek justice against the individual or entity that caused the untimely death of their loved one.
Eligibility to File a Claim for Wrongful Death
Not all accidental deaths are eligible for compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. Neither are all family members eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The following persons are permitted to file in California:
- Spouse or partner
- Children from the marriage
- Grandchildren of a deceased offspring of the decedent
- Stepchildren of the decedent if they were being supported by that person
- Any other minors who had lived in the household for at least 180 days and were dependent upon financial support by the decedent
Recoverable Compensation in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Financial amounts awarded can vary depending on each individual wrongful death claim. Factors include the age, education, health and job held by the decedent, whether there are children in the family and other considerations. Financial losses that can be recovered by surviving family members in California include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost income, which includes bonuses, health insurance coverage for family members, pension, and other associated expenses
- The financial value assigned to household contributions, which might consist of preparation of tax returns, paying bills, tending to children, cooking or yard work
- Loss of inheritance because the estate left by the decedent would have grown throughout the years if he or she had lived
- Loss of future earnings
- Loss of emotional support, guidance, love, and companionship
- In the case of the spouse or partner, loss of consortium
Accidents That Can Lead to a Wrongful Death
When thinking about the major causes of a California wrongful death, what comes to mind for most people is traffic accidents. Because 94 percent of motor vehicle crashes are caused by driver error, negligence is a significant factor. Some of the causes are speeding, drunk driving, distractions, and fatigue behind the wheel. However, other areas of negligence can cause the unnecessary death of a loved one through negligence, including:
- Slip and fall accidents that occur in residential, commercial or government buildings or on other public properties.
- Medical malpractice encompasses not only negligent physicians but pharmacists, nurses, hospitals and any other healthcare setting.
- Defective products encompass a wide range of products from tainted food to defective automobile parts and medical devices.
- Premises liability applies to both private and public places where an unrepaired danger caused someone’s demise. In the event the accident occurred on public property, a government entity such as the county or state would be liable.
- Nursing homes are liable for a wrongful death if it can be shown that abuse or neglect caused your loved one’s death.
Sacramento Wrongful Death Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento wrongful death lawyer. Losing a loved one because of wrongful death is tragic and impacts the entire family for a long time to come. Being compensated for the financial loss does not help alleviate the sense of grief but can help take away the financial worry. If you lost your loved one due to negligence, I am here to offer you compassionate, friendly and free advice. Just phone me at (916) 921-6400 in Sacramento. If you are calling from elsewhere in Northern California, I can be reached at (800) 404-5400 toll-free.
As a California member of Million Dollar Advocates, I join other trial attorneys who have won an amount in excess of $1 million for a former client in either a settlement or a verdict.
Please feel free to look over client reviews and a list of some of our past cases at:
It has been my honor to have represented Sacramento and Northern California residents in their personal injury cases for more than 36 years. In that time, I have obtained fair compensation for the injured in all types of car accidents and traumatic injuries such as brain injuries.
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