Best Wrongful Death Lawyers Los Angeles, CA Of 2024 – Forbes

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The loss of a loved one is one of the things we dread the most. If you’ve suffered a loss, you may not immediately be thinking about bringing a lawsuit. Unfortunately, the clock is ticking, and you only have a certain amount of time. Speak with an attorney as soon as you’re able for the best chance of getting justice for your loved one.

Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Suit in California?

Not just anyone can file a wrongful death lawsuit. In California, the people who can bring this action are as follows:

  • Surviving spouse
  • Surviving domestic partner
  • Surviving children
  • Surviving grandchildren
  • Any minor who lived with the deceased for the previous 180 days and relied on them for at least half of their support.

If none of the above exist, then the person or people who would receive the deceased’s property under California’s intestate succession laws.

What Counts as a Wrongful Death?

A wrongful death happens when one party (like a person or a company) acts in a way that causes harm to another party, and that action leads to the death of the second party.

However, just because Person A caused the death of Person B does not necessarily mean that Person A is liable for wrongful death. At least one of the following must be present to establish liability:

  • Negligence
  • Gross negligence
  • Recklessness
  • An intentional wrongful act

Many different sorts of actions can lead to death, but here are some of the more common:

  • Vehicle accidents, including car, truck and motorcycle accidents
  • DUI offenses
  • Mass transportation accidents, such as plane, bus, or train accidents
  • Dangerous products
  • Dangerous premises
  • Medical malpractice
  • Assault and battery
  • Abuse or neglect

California Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations refers to how long you have after someone’s death to bring a lawsuit. In California, the wrongful death statute of limitations is two years from the date of death. If it has been more than two years, you may be outside the statute of limitations, but it’s worth consulting an attorney to see what options are available.

Identifying Fault in a Wrongful Death Case

California is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that everyone involved in a situation that led to wrongful death may bear some responsibility. The court determines how much fault is assigned to each side. For example, imagine that Person C ran a red light and hit and killed Person D, who was texting while driving. The court may determine that Person C is 75% responsible for running the light, but Person D was 25% responsible due to their distracted driving.

In a wrongful death case, Person D’s family cannot collect more than 75% of damages, because Person D bore some responsibility for the accident.

How Can an Attorney Help You?

Lawsuits are long and sometimes messy processes, especially those involving death. Working with an attorney is highly recommended for the following reasons:

  • An attorney can help handle the paperwork. There are specific filing procedures in a lawsuit, and it’s very difficult for someone without a legal background to keep track. Your attorney can handle this paperwork for you.
  • An attorney can provide clear-headed advice. In the aftermath of the death of a loved one, no one could blame you for not thinking straight. Your attorney provides you with advice that looks at the big picture, instead of being overwhelmed with grief.
  • An attorney can negotiate a settlement or take your case to court. Many personal injury cases end in a settlement, rather than going to court. But the amount of that settlement can vary drastically. A lawyer has experience negotiating the value of these settlements. If a settlement can’t be reached, a lawyer can assist you in court.
  • An attorney can be a local contact if you don’t live in the area. The wrongful death case will take place in the state where the death occurred. If this isn’t your home state, you can plan to spend a substantial amount of time in that state to resolve the case. An attorney in the city or state where your loved one was killed can handle much of this for you.

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