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Costa Mesa Wrongful Death Lawyer

wrongful deathWrongful death causes of action are for each heir of a person who dies as a result of a wrongful act or negligence of another. This cause of action is set forth in California Code of Civil Procedure section 377.60, which allows each heir to recover monetary damages on his or her own behalf for the loss suffered due to the decedent’s death.

Normally in California, the lawful heirs are the decedent’s surviving spouse and children, however other family members, such as the decedent’s parents or siblings may also have claims as heirs in a wrongful death case, under a few circumstances, including if they can show financial dependence on the decedent. All of the possible claimants must be joined together in a single wrongful death case, also known as the one action rule.

Under a wrongful death claim, eligible family members and/or heirs can seek for compensation due to loss of support, loss of services, funeral and burial expenses, loss of companionship and sexual cohabitation. As a general rule, a jury will award an undivided lump sum award to the heirs, regardless of ow many persons are making a claim as an heir. The monetary award will be divided either by agreement, or if the heirs cannot agree, by the court in whatever way it deems most fair.

If you have come to this page to seek advice and direction after the death of a loved one, we are truly sorry for your loss. We want you to know that our Costa Mesa wrongful death lawyers are beside you in your pursuit of justice for your loved one, and ready to meet with you in a complimentary consultation. You do not need to navigate the economic and emotional burden of this situation alone.

Please contact us today at (949) 541-9944 for a complimentary consultation of your case.

When does wrongful death occur?

Under California law, a “wrongful death” occurs any time the negligence or misconduct of a person, business, or government entity results in the death of an individual. The underlying circumstances giving rise to a wrongful death claim can be very broad and include, but are not limited to:

  • Car accidents
  • Bike accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Bus accidents
  • Negligent supervision
  • Premises liability (killed by dangerous property conditions)

Who can file a wrongful death claim in California?

California law allows children, parents, siblings, spouses, and registered domestic partners to file a wrongful death claim against a party they allege to be responsible for the death of their loved one. California has a One Action Rule to prevent numerous lawsuits against a defendant for the same wrongful death. Under this rule, multiple plaintiffs or family members must join together in a single lawsuit against the defendant. So, if a child or sibling was not included as a plaintiff in a wrongful death lawsuit, they cannot later bring a second claim against the defendant.

What do you need to prove in a wrongful death claim?

The specific facts and elements you will need to prove to succeed in a wrongful death claim depend heavily on the underlying event or condition that caused the victim’s death. Most wrongful death claims are based on the theory of negligence. In order to prevail in a negligence claim, the plaintiff must prove four elements: duty, breach, causation, and damages.

Specifically, they must prove that the defendant had a legal duty to act as a reasonable person under the circumstances or, if the defendant had special knowledge, they had a duty to act as a person with their special knowledge and experience would under those circumstances. For example, if a wrongful death claim is based on an allegation of medical malpractice committed by a doctor, that doctor will be held to the standard of care that a reasonable physician with their education and experience would provide under the same circumstances.

Next, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant failed to conduct themselves with that standard of care in the situation that resulted in the victim’s death.

Then, they must prove that this failure was the cause in fact of the victim’s death.

Finally, the plaintiff must prove that the victim did in fact die and must also prove any other expenses or damages caused by the defendant’s negligence.

What expenses can a wrongful death claim compensate?

While a lawsuit can never erase the pain of losing your loved one, it can provide a sense of justice to the situation and compensate your family for a number of expenses and damages you may have incurred as a result of your loved one’s death. These damages can include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Loss of consortium
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Lost wages while the victim was still alive
  • Loss of financial support as a result of their death

Once the defendant’s negligence and causation of your loved one’s death are established, your legal team will work to prove each of these expenses were also the result of the defendant’s negligent action or inaction.

Contact Costa Mesa Wrongful Death Lawyer Aaron Hicks at Hicks Law Firm

If you have lost a loved one due to the action or inaction of another person, we are truly sorry for your loss and all of the stress associated with this tragedy.

At Hicks Law Firm, we are a team of compassionate yet highly-effective Costa Mesa accidental death lawyers who are here to aggressively pursue your claim, achieve justice for your loved one, and help you recover from the financial impact of your loved one’s death.

Our years of experience can guide you through this difficult period and do our very best to minimize the stress of this process and efficiently, yet effectively recover compensation for your loss. Please call us today at 949-541-9944 or fill out our online contact form so we may discuss your case.