Los Angeles Wrongful Death Lawyer


A wrongful death lawsuit often helps families recoup financial losses and provides a sense of justice when a loved one has been killed. If you’ve lost someone due to another party’s negligence, recklessness, or malice, contact the experienced Los Angeles wrongful death attorneys at Wilshire Law Firm. We will fight for your justice and the compensation you deserve. 

Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Los Angeles

Under California law, a wrongful death lawsuit in Los Angeles may be brought to civil court when a victim dies due to another party’s negligence, recklessness, or otherwise wrongful actions (whether a business or another individual). This claim differs from any criminal charges pursued against the responsible party and only concerns securing financial compensation for the bereaved.

Our experienced California personal injury law firm can help you navigate complex wrongful death laws unique to each state.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Los Angeles?

Only survivors of the victim can file a wrongful death claim. California Code of Civil Procedure 377.60 notes that those closest to the deceased, such as surviving partners and dependent children, receive the highest entitlement in the wrongful death case[1].

The following parties are those most entitled to a Los Angeles wrongful death claim:

Spouses and Domestic Partners – If your spouse or domestic partner was the victim of wrongful death in Los Angeles, California, you are legally entitled to file a lawsuit and seek compensation for the loss. You may be entitled to many economic and non-economic damages as the surviving spouse.
Children – If you have lost your biological or adoptive parent, you are entitled to seek wrongful death compensation in Los Angeles. Several additions exist in this category, including stepchildren who can prove financial dependence and any minors living with the victim for at least 180 days before death who can demonstrate some financial independence. Children under the age of 18 may also seek legal representation. A personal injury lawsuit may be permitted for minors when a parent or legal guardian files a personal injury claim on their behalf [2].
Parents – If you are the deceased’s parent, you are entitled to file for a Los Angeles wrongful death claim. This only applies if your child was a minor at the time of death or was an adult with no descendants.
Other Heirs – If no spouse, child, or parent considered a survivor of the victim can be found, another surviving family member may qualify as an “heir.” Heirs are deemed to legally and logically inherit the deceased person’s property, assuming the victim passed without a viable will.

Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations in Los Angeles – How Long Do I Have to File?

Each state follows specific statutes determining how long you have to file a wrongful death claim. In Los Angeles, California law dictates that survivors of the victim have exactly two years following the accident to file a wrongful death suit in court [3]. That is why it is crucial for survivors of the decedent to contact a reputable Los Angeles wrongful death law firm and file the lawsuit as soon as possible following the incident.

 What Is Wrongful Death?

In California, wrongful death is defined as a death caused by another person or party’s negligence or wrongful act. This includes any injury sustained by an individual that ultimately led to their death.

Common Causes of Wrongful Death

Various causes of wrongful death can lead to a wrongful death claim. Each involves a careless and largely preventable mistake. Keep in mind there are no set criteria on exactly which types of events open up the ability to file a wrongful death claim. No matter what incident occurs, you need to be able to prove that the responsible party breached their duty, causing your family member to lose their life.

The most common causes of wrongful death include:

Motor Vehicle Accidents

 The single largest cause of wrongful deaths is traffic incidents including:

  • Car Accidents
  • Truck Accidents
  • Motorcycle Accidents
  • Bicycle Accidents
  • Bus Accidents
  • Pedestrian Accidents
  • Boat Accidents
  • Train Accidents

These accidents are frequently caused by speeding, dangerous or reckless driving, distracted driving, DUI, and more. 

Workplace Accidents

The workplace is another common place where a fatal accident may occur. These incidents may include:

  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Defective products  – including defective equipment
  • Construction Accidents

Wrongful Death from Medical Malpractice

Another common cause of wrongful death, medical malpractice, includes situations such as when a medical professional commits medical negligence by administering an improper medication or dose or the doctor fails to diagnose a condition like cancer properly.

How a Los Angeles Wrongful Death Lawyer Helps Victims Recover Damages

When a fatality occurs from another party’s negligence, the decedent’s survivors suffer economic and non-economic damages. The emotional and financial distress of a loved one’s death can be paralyzing.

Young women upset over Los Angeles wrongful death

Survivors of the victim may recover wrongful death damages based on:

Fixed Expenses Such as Medical Bills and Funeral Costs – These may include medical expenses before the death, funeral and burial expenses, including casket or urn. You should not have to be responsible for the expensive costs of a loved one’s accident.

Loss of Future Earnings of the Victim – If you can prove financial dependence on the victim, you may be able to recover damages based on the future earnings of the deceased.

Lost Benefits – If the victim was set to receive medical benefits, a pension, or other possible future benefits, you may also be able to receive compensation.

Loss of Consortium– The loss of companionship, love, affection, comfort, and guidance that your loved one provided is just one of the damages a Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer at Wilshire Law Firm can aim to help you recover.

Punitive Damages in Wrongful Death Cases in Los Angeles

California civil courts may also consider punitive damages when malicious or reckless actions cause your family member’s death. These damages further punish the person responsible for the fatal injuries, but the payout goes to the person filing the lawsuit.

Punitive damages add to the total compensation package, but they’re not based on the surviving family members’ losses.

Survival Action vs Wrongful Death

In California, for example, individuals generally cannot seek punitive damages except in cases of felony homicide or if the family files a survival action claim [4]. For the latter, the survival action claim allows the family to recover damages relating to the victim’s pre-death pain and suffering or disfigurement. Then, they can seek punitive damages as well.
Call on our best wrongful death attorneys in Los Angeles to fight for the justice and compensation your family deserves. We’re here for you 24/7.

Frequently Asked Questions About Wrongful Death

How Much Can You Sue for a Wrongful Death in Los Angeles?

Wrongful death lawsuits have resulted in multi-million dollar payouts and compensation totaling far below the million-dollar mark. Every case is unique, and the total amount you may collect depends on the economic and non-economic damage calculations.

Some common factors determining wrongful death payouts may include:

  • Age and overall health of the victim
  • Victim’s annual income
  • Future investment growth
  • Related medical bills
  • Burial and funeral costs
  • Pain and suffering of all involved
  • Loss of care and companionship

Compensation cannot replace a loved one and merely attempts to recoup your financial losses and hold the at-fault party accountable for their actions.

How are wrongful death proceeds divided in Los Angeles, California?

When multiple family members file a wrongful death lawsuit in Los Angeles and throughout California, they’re usually given the freedom to decide how to divide the proceeds. If they cannot come to an agreement, the courts may divide up the payout evenly, depending on the specifics of the case.

Free Case Review from a Trusted Los Angeles Wrongful Death Law Firm

When you need to contact a wrongful death lawyer in Los Angeles, the attorneys at Wilshire Law Firm are here for you. If a loved one has recently died due to the negligence of others, our lawyers aim to guide you through every step along the way. Reach out to a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer.

Our contingency fee structure means you pay no fees unless you win.

Contact our experienced team of Los Angeles wrongful death attorneys today to begin your free and confidential case evaluation. We’re here for you 24/7 at (800) 501-3011.

Wilshire Law Firm
Los Angeles
3055 Wilshire Blvd., 12th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90010
Tel: (213) 335-2402

Open Mon – Sun
Available 24 Hours

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By submitting this form, you agree to receive telephone calls and text messages at anytime, which include hours outside of business hours (8:00 a.m. PST - 9:00 p.m. PST). This is so that we may reach you as soon as possible in order to consult on your potential case.