Santa Monica Wrongful Death Lawyers
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim can be brought on behalf of a deceased individual (known as the “decedent”) by eligible surviving family members when the decedent’s death was caused by the negligent or wrongful conduct of another. Like a personal injury claim, a wrongful death claim seeks compensation for specific damages, or losses, endured by the party bringing the claim (known as the “plaintiff”). These include both financial losses, such as funeral expenses or lost income, and non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering, loss of love and support, and lost consortium.
If someone you love died tragically as a result of someone else’s negligence, you could have grounds for a wrongful death claim—and Custodio & Dubey LLP can help. We serve clients throughout Los Angeles County, including in Santa Monica and the entire west side. Our wrongful death attorneys offer compassionate and personalized service, as well as tireless advocacy in and out of the courtroom. We are known for our aggressive approach to litigation and our long history of success, including over $50 million recovered for our clients.
What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Claim?
The purpose of filing a wrongful death claim is twofold: first, you can hold the responsible party accountable for the death of your loved one and, second, you can recover monetary compensation for both economic and non-economic damages related to your loss. At Custodio & Dubey LLP, we know that there is no settlement or verdict that can undo the tragedy you have endured, but we also recognize that a fair financial recovery can provide you with the resources you need to manage unexpected expenses so that you can focus on healing.
Depending on the specific details of your case, you may be able to recover the following damages in your wrongful death claim:
- Medical expenses related to your loved one’s final care
- Funeral/burial expenses
- Income/financial support the decedent would have provided
- Gifts, benefits, and inheritance the decedent would have contributed
- The value of household services the decedent would have provided
- Loss of guidance, support, companionship, love, comfort, assistance, protection, etc.
- Loss of consortium/enjoyment of intimacy by a partner or spouse
California does not have a universal cap on wrongful death damages, meaning there is no limit to the amount a plaintiff may recover for either economic or non-economic damages. However, certain statutory limits on different types of cases, including medical malpractice-related wrongful death claims, may apply.
What Is the Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death Cases?
The statute of limitations, or filing deadline, for most wrongful death lawsuits in California is two years from the date of death. This means that you typically only have two years from the date on which your loved one passed away to sue the liable party for damages.
It is important that you act quickly if you believe you have a wrongful death case, as missing the filing deadline will almost certainly result in you losing your right to recover compensation or hold the at-fault party accountable. We encourage you to reach out to our Santa Monica wrongful death attorneys right away to learn more during a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.
How Is a Wrongful Death Case Different from a Homicide, Murder, or Manslaughter Case?
Wrongful death claims are examples of civil cases—they pass through the civil court system, rather than the criminal justice system. Whereas a homicide, murder, or manslaughter trial seeks criminal penalties, a wrongful death lawsuit is meant to financially compensate surviving family members and loved ones for their losses.
Because they are entirely separate, a wrongful death lawsuit and a criminal case against the at-fault party may proceed at the same time, independent of one another. The outcome of a criminal case does not necessarily affect the outcome of a wrongful death claim; however, a guilty verdict could serve as valuable evidence in a wrongful death case.
How Our Wrongful Death Attorneys Can Help
Dealing with the sudden death of a loved one is an unimaginably difficult thing. Right now, you should be focused on spending time with your loved ones and healing; you shouldn’t have to worry about how you are going to pay for unexpected medical bills, funeral expenses, and everyday bills now that you have lost the income provided by your spouse, parent, or family member.
When you trust your case to our Santa Monica wrongful death attorneys, you can rest assured that we will handle every legal detail, including but not limited to:
- Gathering applicable evidence to build your case
- Talking to witnesses and obtaining their statements
- Compiling medical records and other important documents
- Completing and submitting necessary paperwork
- Meeting all important filing deadlines
- Communicating with the insurance company for the liable party
- Negotiating a fair settlement on your behalf
- Preparing you and your case for litigation, if necessary
- Representing you in court
Our attorneys have extensive experience handling all types of complex wrongful death claims, including cases involving serious car accidents, motorcycle accidents, commercial truck collisions, unsafe premises, defective products, medical malpractice, and more. We understand the challenges you are facing, and we are prepared to help you fight for the justice you and your family deserve.