Contact Our Firm to Begin Your Wrongful Death Claim

Losing a loved one can be an emotionally taxing experience, as you plan funeral arrangements, ceremonies and tend to your family. Taking any legal action might be the last thing on your mind. The process is often challenging as you relive what occurred in court. But you are not alone. At Gutierrez Law, our lawyers can help you understand how the legal process works. It is vital to know when to file wrongful death settlements and hold a negligent person accountable.

In recent years unintentional injuries or accidents accounted for 6% of all deaths. In a single year, more than 167,000 people died in 2018 from car accidents, falls, and poisoning, according to Statista. It also accounts for medical malpractice and workplace injuries, but the list is ever changing and ongoing. In this article, we explain the basis of wrongful death claims.

Wrongful Death in California

In California, wrongful death suits arise when an individual dies because of someone else’s actions, such as:

  • Negligence-based incidents such as public pool drownings and car crashes
  • Unintentional harm from a healthcare provider
  • Intentional acts or crimes (ex. abuse, assault, neglect)

These claims fall under personal injury in court. As a family member or loved one, the defendant’s liability will be offered to you in the form of financial compensation after an attorney for wrongful death in LA successfully wins the lawsuit. Keep in mind that personal injury suits are not criminal homicide cases. The defendant will not get tried or go to jail. If you choose to pursue a criminal case afterward, an attorney must prove the accused’s guilt or intention to harm.

The following family members can file a lawsuit in California:

  • Domestic partners
  • Children
  • Surviving spouses
  • Dependent Stepchildren (50% of financial support or more)
  • Grandkids (if the deceased person’s children are no longer living)
  • Other qualifying individuals are entitled to the deceased’s estate.

A lot goes into a successful wrongful death case. Therefore, it is best to receive legal advice and guidance if you hope to recover maximum economic and non-economic damages for:

  • Burial expenses
  • Funeral costs
  • Financial support (deceased’s earned income)
  • Compensation for loss of companionship and intimacy
  • Loss of guidance

It is important to note that claims vary drastically from survival actions. A survival suit compensates the estate for losses before death. Unlike wrongful death, the survival action will not offer you or other family members financial restitution directly.

Statute of Limitations

A “statute of limitations” is a legal term that designates how long plaintiffs must file a lawsuit and settle in court. Bringing a claim after the statute expires is grounds for dismissal. You can refer to the California Code of Civil Procedure 377.60 or consult with a wrongful death lawyer in LA for more information.

Like most states in the U.S., wrongful death victims have two years from the date of the decedent’s passing to sue. For example, if someone dies instantly in a car crash, family members should file immediately after the accident.

Exceptions To the Two-Year Statute

Cases of medical malpractice are one exception to this rule, pushing the statute to three years from the date of death. For instance, if the victim wound up in a coma for several months before passing, that statute would begin from the date of their death – not the accident that caused it.

In court, the Los Angeles personal injury lawyer you retained will help establish what occurred at the hospital or doctor’s office to prove if the medical injury was because of:

  • Carelessness, or
  • A failure to act.

The discovery rule is another exception to the two-year time limit. Per federal law, the rule states the statute of limitations does not begin until the victim’s surviving family members find out about his or her passing. If specified correctly, the time you have to file will increase. It varies per client.

Claims Against a Public or Government Entity

If a government entity or an employee was responsible for the wrongful death, the statute of limitations is six months from the date of the victim’s passing. It may have been an accident at a public school or an accident involving a government-owned vehicle. Regardless of the circumstance, going up against any private institution is not an easy task. You will certainly need help from a LA attorney for unintentional deaths.

Can Minor’s Sue for The Death of a Parent?

Children (minors) suing on behalf of a deceased parent have a unique statute of limitations rule to pursue damages. In this situation, they must file within two years after turning 18. For instance, if a parent suddenly passes in a work-related accident, it is incredibly challenging for a young child to file a claim. Not only can expenses accumulate, but they need to wait years before being able to recover.

For more information on California law and how it may apply to your wrongful death claim, reach out to our law firm for advice.

Call Today To Speak With an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney

Our law firm specializes in helping those injured due to an accident or someone else’s negligence. Navigating the insurance agencies and legal framework for compensation can be difficult, especially if English is not your first language. That’s why you should call the bilingual lawyers of The Law Offices of Oscar H Gutierrez to make sure you get compensated for your pain and suffering.

When you meet with one of our English-speaking and Spanish-speaking personal injury attorneys, you can tell them how your accident occurred and who might be responsible. Your attorneys will then launch an investigation into your accident and the events surrounding it to find who is responsible. If someone was negligent and their lack of care led to your injury, we will build a case to make sure they pay your medical bills. You should contact our law firm if you got injured in a:

  • Car accident
  • Motorcycle accident
  • Bike accident
  • Rideshare accident
  • Pool accident
  • Dog attack
  • Workplace accident

We can also help you with product liability and premises liability suits. Don’t leave your medical bills and property damage to chance; instead, hire a law firm that can win you the maximum settlement. Contact our office for a free consultation at 323-999-3500 or email us at