Los Angeles Wrongful Death Attorney
When a relative’s death was caused by another person’s wrongful act or failure to act, surviving family members may be entitled to monetary compensation for the tragic loss. At Ellis Law, we know that no cash award, regardless of its size, can ever fully offset the devastating emotional damage resulting from a family member’s passing. But a monetary recovery can at the very least assist a family with the financial losses caused by a breadwinner’s death, or establish a fund in memory of a young child who died before her time.
For over 20 years, wrongful death attorneys at Ellis Law has been helping families in Los Angeles and neighboring Southern California communities put their lives back together after the death of cherished family members. We can determine whether your family member died due to someone else’s wrongful action or failure to act. We fully investigate the surrounding circumstances of the death, calculate the financial and other losses, and file all of the paperwork required of these highly sensitive and emotionally charged lawsuits.
Though many of these cases settle out of court, our attorneys are prepared to take your case to trial and show the jury exactly what wrongful actions or inactions caused the death of your spouse, child, or domestic partner as well as the financial and emotional losses that followed.
Understanding wrongful death claims
In Los Angeles and LA County, family members can file a wrongful death case if a close relative died because of the action or neglect of another person. Some wrongful death cases involve criminal acts. But it is critical to distinguish between a criminal prosecution and a civil personal injury lawsuit. In a criminal case, a government prosecutor seeks to punish the wrongdoer for his or her offenses. If found guilty, a criminal defendant may go to prison, pay steep fines to the government, or both. A criminal prosecution focuses on the harm to society of the offender’s misconduct.
In a wrongful death case, on the other hand, the emphasis is on the damage to families due to the death of a loved one. Those who wrongfully caused the death must compensate surviving family members for their loss by paying money damages to the family.
Ellis Law attorneys represents families in wrongful death cases caused by:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Fires, including inhalation of smoke and toxic gases
- Poisoning with drugs or toxic chemicals
- Firearms, including accidents and intentional acts
People can be found responsible for causing a wrongful death even if they did not intend to cause harm. If they acted carelessly, negligently, or recklessly and the result was death, those persons can be held liable to surviving family members. Even failing to act may be enough to establish liability depending on the legal duty imposed on certain classes of individuals or entities, such as a homeowner who fails to fence in a backyard pool.
What kinds of losses can a family recover?
When wrongful death is at the center of a lawsuit, the legal team at Ellis Law takes special investigative measures to ensure that survivors get the maximum amount of compensation they deserve.
In Los Angeles and LA County, family members can recover losses for:
- Financial support the decedent would have provided over a lifetime, including wages and other income
- Economic benefit that would have been provided, for example by a stay-at-home mother or father raising children, or an adult caring for an aging parent
- Companionship, comfort, emotional support, marital relationship including sexual relations, parental relationship including physical care for small children, and the like that the decedent would have given family members during his or her lifetime.
In some circumstances families can recover damages for their loved one’s medical bills, lost earnings, property damage or other losses incurred before death. If the wrongdoer flagrantly disregarded known dangers, or acted with extraordinary recklessness, sometimes a family can obtain punitive damages – a monetary award designed to punish the responsible party and deter others from acting similarly in the future.
Our highly skilled team can help you explore the specifics of your situation and determine whether recovering damages of these types might be possible. The personal injury lawyers at Ellis Law follow all California statutory updates and precedential case holdings to provide our clients with the highest caliber and personal level of legal advice.
Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit?
California law permits close family members to file a wrongful death case. Specifically, the law allows cases to be filed by a surviving spouse, domestic partner, child, grandchild (if his/her parent is dead), or any minor who lived in the household for six months and was dependent on the decedent for at least half of his or her support.
We work with you to be sure that all family members get the representation they deserve. We understand that family relationships can be complicated, and will make sure to protect everyone’s interests even under the most difficult circumstances.
We encourage you to contact us if a member of your family has died and you believe that another person’s action or neglect was responsible. We represent residents from all over Los Angeles, LA County, and neighboring Southern California communities. We offer free evaluations of potential cases over the phone. Please call us at 1-800-INJURED or in the Los Angeles area at 310-641-3335 to speak with an Ellis Law attorney.
[Andy Ellis]: “One of the saddest cases we get are wrongful death, these type of cases require a lot of hand holding. In wrongful death cases we sometimes are accompanied by a criminal matter of the defendant, which here at Ellis law 1-800-INJURED, we are going to go down to that hearing with you and hold you hand and make sure that the prosecutor is doing the right thing.
We’re also going to seek out all opportunities to get the family back up and see, Where is the money coming from?
Was this the breadwinner of the family? Is there going to be a loss of that income for the rest of that family’s life? Are some of the kids going to miss college? We’re going to do our best to prevent that from happening.
In wrongful death cases many times the only party that gets to give their story is the person who may have caused the accident and they’re going to give a story more favorable to them, that is why our investigation is that much more important in these type of cases.
Getting out there looking for videos, getting out there seeking out witnesses, taking measurements on the road, were there skid marks before they get overrun by rain or other elements, having our engineers look at this. It’s important to make sure that we get all the information quickly to not allow someone to avoid taking responsibility for the loss of a loved one.”