Oakland Wrongful Death Lawyer
If there is anything worse than the loss of a loved one, it is knowing that his or her death did not have to happen. Because of the actions or neglect of another party, your family member is gone, and you and your family are plunged into grief.
Nothing will return your loved one, but the Oakland personal injury lawyers at Ellis Injury Law can help hold those responsible for the death accountable and work to help you receive maximum compensation. Our skilled attorneys have recovered over $350 million in settlements and verdicts for clients.
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A wrongful death occurs when it results from an intentional, reckless, or negligent act by another individual or entity. Wrongful death runs the gamut from murder to medical malpractice to motor vehicle accidents. Other common wrongful causes include:
- Defective products
- Firearms accidents
- Nursing home abuse
- Slips and falls
Wrongful death lawsuits are filed in civil court, even if the death resulted from a crime. These lawsuits are separate from any criminal case against the defendant.
Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit
Only family members may file wrongful death lawsuits. In priority order, these include the surviving:
- Domestic partner
- Grandchildren, if children are deceased
If the deceased did not have these surviving relatives, the state laws of intestate succession apply. In this priority, they are surviving:
- Stepchildren or “putative spouse” if they were financially dependent on the deceased.
A putative spouse is a person who believes they were married legally to the deceased, even if that is not true.
The time factor
In California, family members have up to two years after the date of the death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. There is a possible exception to this statute of limitations if the cause of the person’s death was not discovered until after the individual died. Such circumstances may occur in medical malpractice or defective products cases. In this situation, a wrongful death lawsuit must commence within two years of the discovery of the cause of death.
There is another exception to the time limit involved in filing a wrongful death lawsuit, and that happens when the defendant in the case is a government agency. For example, if a pedestrian died because they were struck in a public transportation bus accident, a wrongful death claim requires filing in just six months.
There are a few other exceptions, but by obtaining advice from a wrongful death lawyer right away, your case should meet the necessary deadlines.
Contact Oakland City wrongful death lawyers
If a family member died due to another party’s negligence or recklessness, you need the services of a seasoned Los Angeles personal injury attorney at Ellis Injury Law. Use our online contact form to arrange a free consultation, or call or text us at any time. We will review the circumstances of your loved one’s death to determine whether you have a case. Since we work on a contingency basis, there is never a fee unless we win.