Hermosa Beach Wrongful Death Lawyers
Since the loss of your loved one, your life and your family’s lives have changed forever. Sometimes the grief is overwhelming, made worse by the knowledge that another person or entity’s negligent or reckless action took your loved one from you.
No one can return your family member to you, but the Hermosa Beach personal injury lawyers at Ellis Injury Law can work to hold those responsible for the death liable so that you might receive maximum compensation. Over the past 25 years, our compassionate attorneys have recovered more than $350 million for clients in settlements and verdicts.
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit
Unlike many states, it is not the personal representative of the estate who may file a wrongful death lawsuit under California law. Instead, family members must do so, although a spouse or surviving child may also serve as the personal representative. Any claimants must join in filing the wrongful death lawsuit, as California does not permit multiple claims on this issue.
Wrongful death statute of limitations
Under California law, a personal injury lawsuit requires filing within two years of the incident date. A wrongful death lawsuit requires filing within two years of the death date, which is often not the same date as the incident.
There are exceptions to the two-year deadline. If the other party involved was a government agency, such as a motor vehicle accident involving a city-owned or public school bus, the statute of limitations is very short. Such claims require filing within six months of the death date.
While a wrongful death lawsuit seeks compensation for the survivors, another type of lawsuit, known as survival action, allows the estate to seek damages for losses incurred by the injured person before his or her death. Survival actions are filed by the personal representative.
If the person died instantly, survival actions cannot go forward, as some type of economic damage is necessary for such a lawsuit. However, even if the person survived just a short time, a survival action may prove appropriate. While this claim does not compensate for pain and suffering by the deceased, a jury may award punitive damages when the entity responsible for the death acted in a particularly egregious or heinous manner. A wrongful death lawyer can bring a wrongful death lawsuit and survival action separately, or combine them into one lawsuit. Keep in mind they are separate causes of action with different rules.
Wrongful death damages
Wrongful death damages, or compensation, in California may include:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of future income
- Loss of companionship and support.
Survival damages may include:
- Medical bills relating to the injury and death
- Lost wages
- Property damage
Contact Hermosa Beach wrongful death lawyers
If your loved one died because of another party’s actions or inactions, you need the services of an experienced personal injury attorney at Ellis Injury Law. Call us today to schedule a free consultation or contact us online. While most cases are settled, we will go trial when necessary. There is never a fee unless we win.