When to Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney

When to Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney

stack of papers labeled wrongful deathLosing a loved one is never an easy experience, particularly when that loss results from preventable acts of negligence or wrongful conduct. While grieving families must face the profound task of repairing their lives, they should also understand they have legal rights when death was preventable – rights that can provide them with the justice and compensation they deserve.

At Biren Law Group, our Los Angeles wrongful death attorneys act as the advocates families need during difficult times. For more than 40 years, families across Southern California have placed their trust in our caring and compassionate legal team, and have received the support, resources, and legal firepower they needed to navigate the challenging wrongful death process.

Because California’s wrongful death statute outlines the rules and procedures for pursuing a lawsuit, and because those rules can impact one’s ability to bring legal action and the overall trajectory of a case, our firm wanted to provide a few important points of information to help families better understand their rights and when they should contact an attorney.

  • Negligence or wrongful acts caused death – Whether or not you are able to pursue a wrongful death action over the loss of a loved one depends on the circumstances surrounding their death. Under California law, wrongful death lawsuits can only be filed when they have a basis in negligence, recklessness, or intentional wrongful acts. For example, families may not have a valid claim when their loved one died in an accident where they were found to be at fault. However, they may have grounds for a claim when the negligence of another more likely than not caused a preventable accident that led to their loved one’s passing. This can include victims killed in car accidents caused by drunk drivers, drowning incidents where negligent property owners failed to provide adequate supervision, and product liability cases involving defective products that resulted in preventable death. Proving negligence, or an intentional act of wrongdoing, is the foundation of any wrongful death claim, and it is a requirement that must be met in order for families to take action.
  • You are eligible to bring legal action under law – Under § 377.60 of the California Code of Civil Procedure, only certain family members, or their personal representatives, are eligible to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. These include immediate family members commonly impacted by their loved one’s death, including spouses or domestic partners, surviving children, and grandchildren (if there are no surviving children). In some cases, eligible parties may also include minor children (i.e. stepchildren) dependent on the deceased, or other parties who may have been entitled to the deceased’s estate under intestate succession laws (parents, siblings, etc.). Our legal team can assist you in determining your eligibility to bring a wrongful death action based on your relationship to your loved one.
  • Loss created damages – While California’s wrongful death law provides an opportunity to hold wrongdoers civilly accountable for causing preventable death, it can also prove instrumental in helping victims manage the resulting financial and emotional losses. When the loss of your loved one creates economic burdens due to medical expenses, funeral costs, and lost financial support, as well as non-economic damages such as loss of companionship, loss of consortium (or intimacy), and other emotional injuries, wrongful death claims can provide the compensation needed to address these needs.
  • You understand you need help – Although a legal endeavor may be the last thing you want following a tragedy, it is important to understand that working with an attorney can make the process much easier. This is especially true when families are still grieving from their loss, and have little to no understanding of the laws involved and legal work required of them. Additionally, attorneys can make the difference when insurance companies representing defendants or companies defending themselves work aggressively to protect their bottom lines and dispute, deny, or attempt to underpay claims. For example, at-fault companies may seek quick and quiet settlements with families in order to keep newsworthy cases from harming their brands, and insurers may also seek settlements when they think they can get away with paying less than a family deserves. Working with an attorney not only provides you with guidance and support to navigate difficult cases, but also the representation to ensure you are not taken advantage of by corporations that care more about their profits than they care about doing “the right thing.”

If you have recently lost a loved one due to another’s negligent or wrongful acts, Biren Law Group is readily available to help. Backed by decades of collective experience and a genuine commitment to serving families facing the most difficult times imaginable, our legal team is prepared to make the difference for you. Learn more about wrongful death lawsuits, your rights, and how our firm can help by contacting us for a free and personalized consultation.

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