cemetery wrongful death

Steps to Take When Filing a Wrongful Death Case in Los Angeles

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

If your close relative died because of someone else’s carelessness or wrongful act, you might have a wrongful death claim. You need to understand the steps to take when filing a wrongful death case in Los Angeles. Wrongful death claims often involve more money than injury cases, so you can expect the defendant to defend aggressively.

You do not have to go through this experience by yourself, especially while dealing with the loss of a loved one. A California wrongful death attorney can fight your battles for you and protect your legal rights. 

Finding Out Who to Sue in a Wrongful Death Claim

Your lawyer will investigate the event that took the life of your close relative to determine what caused the death and if a wrongful act played a part in your relative’s passing. A wrongful act could be simple negligence, like a car crash caused by a distracted driver, or an intentional act, like an assault turned deadly. 

You cannot automatically sue everyone involved in the fatal incident. You will have to show that the defendant committed a wrongful act that caused or contributed to your relative’s demise. For example, if your loved one died in a car accident, you can only sue the at-fault driver, not every driver involved in the collision.

Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim in California?

California allows close relatives like a surviving spouse, domestic partner, child, or grandchildren who are the descendants of a deceased child to participate in a wrongful death claim. Sometimes other dependents can seek money damages for the loss of a loved one.

Making Sure That You File Your Los Angeles Wrongful Death Lawsuit Before Time Runs Out

You only have two years to file a wrongful death claim against a person, company, or another non-governmental party in California. If you think that a government agency might be responsible for the death of your loved one, you must file an administrative claim against the government within six months. You have to exhaust administrative remedies before filing a lawsuit against a government agency in civil court.

The consequences of missing the filing deadline are severe. After the filing deadline passes, you can lose all right to seek compensation for the loss of your loved one. You will not be able to hold the guilty party accountable for taking the life of your relative.

Negotiating with the insurance company or anyone else does not satisfy the filing deadline. Sometimes, the claims adjuster will drag out the claim process as a strategy to trick a claimant into missing the filing deadline. After that date, the adjuster will stop answering your calls and emails because their client no longer has any legal liability.

Recoverable Damages in Wrongful Death Cases in Los Angeles

Our state lets successful wrongful death claimants recover compensation for the last medical bills and funeral and burial expenses, as well as the loss of the decedent’s income that supported the family. Depending on the relationships, some family members can receive money damages for the loss of the love, guidance, and companionship of the deceased person. You will want to talk to a California personal injury attorney right away to learn your rights after the death of a close relative. Get in touch with our office today for a free consultation.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.