A Compassionate Wrongful Death Attorney — California

flowers at a funeral

Losing a loved one is an incredibly painful experience, especially when their death is caused by someone else's negligence or intentional actions. At Alpha Accident Lawyers, we understand the emotional turmoil that families go through during such difficult times. 

Our team of compassionate wrongful death attorneys in California is dedicated to helping grieving families navigate the legal complexities surrounding wrongful death claims. Our award-winning California personal injury lawyers have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our clients. Call us today to schedule a no-obligation, free consultation.



What is Wrongful Death?

A wrongful death occurs in a situation where someone dies due to another party's negligence or misconduct. These cases can occur due to various circumstances, such as car accidents, workplace accidents, medical malpractice, or intentional acts of violence. Surviving family members can bring a wrongful death action to seek compensation for their loss and hold the responsible party accountable.


What Are Common Types of Wrongful Death Cases

car accident

Traffic accidents are a common cause of wrongful death in California. In 2021, there were 4,285 deaths caused by auto accidents. This was a 7.6% increase from the previous year. Common types of wrongful death cases include the following:

Car Accidents

Car accidents are unfortunately common causes of wrongful death. The impact of high-speed collisions or reckless driving can lead to fatal injuries. Factors such as speeding, distracted driving, reckless driving, or drunk driving often contribute to these kinds of accidents.

Truck Accidents

Truck accidents, involving large commercial vehicles, can result in devastating consequences. Due to the sheer size and weight of trucks, collisions often lead to fatal injuries for occupants of smaller vehicles. Wrongful death cases arising from truck accidents typically involve complexities such as multiple parties, including trucking companies and manufacturers. An experienced wrongful death attorney will assess factors like inadequate training, fatigued driving, or equipment failure and hold the responsible parties liable.

Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrians have little protection against vehicles, making them vulnerable to serious injuries or fatalities. There were 1,108 pedestrian deaths in 2021. Pedestrian fatalities increased by 9.4% from 2020. Wrongful death claims involving pedestrians often focus on proving the driver's negligence. Common causes of pedestrian accidents include failure to yield, distracted driving, or disobeying traffic signals. Establishing these factors is essential to hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions.

Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle accidents frequently result in fatal injuries due to the lack of protection for riders. In California, there were 565 motorcyclist fatalities, which was an increase of 3% from 2020. These kinds of wrongful death claims may include factors such as visibility, road conditions, and the actions of other drivers.

Rideshare Accidents

The rise of rideshare services has brought forth a new category of accidents leading to wrongful deaths. Rideshare accidents involve passengers, drivers, or pedestrians in incidents related to rideshare vehicles. Determining liability in rideshare accidents can be complex due to the involvement of multiple parties, including the driver, the rideshare company, and potentially other motorists.

Workplace Accidents

Workplace accidents resulting in fatalities are not uncommon, especially in high-risk industries such as construction, manufacturing, or transportation. Wrongful death cases arising from workplace incidents necessitate an examination of safety protocols, training procedures, and equipment maintenance. Establishing employer negligence or the actions of third parties is vital.


Should I File a Wrongful Death Claim?

The decision to file a wrongful death claim is deeply personal and often driven by the need for justice and financial stability. A common reason people file wrongful death claims is to hold the responsible party accountable for their actions and ensure they face legal consequences. Compensation can help the surviving family members cover funeral costs, medical bills, and lost future earnings. 


Who Can Bring A Wrongful Death Lawsuit in California?

grieving family member

In California, specific individuals are eligible to bring forth a wrongful death lawsuit. These parties include:

The Deceased Person's Surviving Spouse

In California, the surviving spouse of the deceased person holds the right to bring forth a wrongful death lawsuit. The surviving spouse, often deeply affected emotionally and financially by the loss, has the legal standing to seek justice and compensation for their profound loss.

The Individual's Domestic Partner

Domestic partners, in the eyes of California law, have a relationship akin to spouses, sharing their lives, responsibilities, and often finances. This recognition ensures that domestic partners are not excluded from seeking legal recourse and compensation in the event of their partner's wrongful death.

The Decedent's Parents

Parents, as the primary caregivers and providers during the formative years, have a strong legal standing to file a wrongful death lawsuit in California. The loss of a child is an unimaginable tragedy, and parents are entitled to seek justice against those responsible for their child's untimely demise. This provision allows parents to hold accountable individuals or entities whose actions led to the loss of their child.

The Deceased Person's Children

The biological or adopted children of the deceased person have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit in California. The law recognizes the significant emotional and financial impact the loss of a parent can have on a child's life.

Minor Children Who Were Dependent on the Deceased Person

Minor children who lived with the decedent for at least six months and were dependent on the deceased person for at least half of their financial support may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

A Personal Representative of the Deceased Individual's Estate

Apart from immediate family members, a personal representative of the deceased individual's estate holds the authority to file a wrongful death suit in California. This representative acts on behalf of the deceased person's estate and the beneficiaries. By doing so, the representative seeks justice for the deceased and ensures that any compensation obtained benefits the rightful heirs and addresses the financial aspects of the loss.


Elements Of A Wrongful Death Lawsuit

To establish a successful wrongful death claim, certain elements must be proven:

Duty of Care

Duty of care refers to the legal obligation one party has to avoid causing harm or injury to another person. In the context of wrongful death, it means proving that the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased person. Therefore, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant had a responsibility to act reasonably and prudently, considering the circumstances.

Breach of the Duty of Care

The plaintiff must prove that the defendant failed to fulfill their obligation and, as a result, caused the decedent harm. To establish a breach, it is necessary to provide evidence showing that the defendant's behavior fell below the standard of care expected in the given situation. This evidence might include witness testimonies, expert opinions, or documentation proving the defendant's negligence.


The plaintiff must prove the defendant's actions or negligence directly led to the fatal injuries. This element is often complex and requires expert testimony and compelling evidence. Establishing causation is crucial for the court to understand that the defendant's breach of duty was the primary cause of the wrongful death. Without clear causation, it becomes challenging to hold the defendant liable.


Showing the financial, emotional, and other losses suffered by the surviving family members due to the death. Establishing the extent of the wrongful death damages is crucial for calculating the compensation that the surviving family members are entitled to receive.

Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Lawsuits

In California, there is a specific time limit within which a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed. Generally, certain surviving family members must file a wrongful death suit within 2 years from the date of the decedent's death. There may be exceptions in certain cases, which is why it's important to consult with an experienced wrongful death lawyer promptly.


How Can a California Wrongful Death Attorney Help?

california wrongful death lawyer giving legal advice to clients

Navigating a wrongful death case can be complex and overwhelming, especially when dealing with the emotional aftermath of a loved one's death. Our experienced California wrongful death attorneys can help your case in the following ways:

Conduct a Thorough Investigation – Our California wrongful death lawyers will thoroughly investigate the case to gather crucial evidence such as medical record, police reports and surveillance footage.

Build a Compelling Case – Our wrongful death attorney will provide strategic legal advocacy, and construct a strong legal argument in support of the wrongful death claim.

Collect Witness Statements – We will interview and gather statements from witnesses who can provide essential insights into the incident.

Connections with Expert Witnesses – Our law firm has connections with professionals who can testify about specific aspects of the case, adding credibility.

Deal with Insurance Companies – We will facilitate communication with the insurance companies and negotiate fair settlements on behalf of the family.

Ensure Error-Free Paperwork – Our wrongful death lawyers handle all legal paperwork meticulously and ensure all necessary documents are submitted on time.

Provide Court Representation – Our skilled trial lawyers will present the California wrongful death case persuasively to secure the best possible outcome for the family.


Types of Compensation Available in a Wrongful Death Claim

In a wrongful death case, compensation can be awarded for various losses suffered by the surviving family members. Damages can be both economic and non-economic and can vary widely based on the circumstances of the case.

Economic Damages

Economic damages include objective financial losses that are typically easy to calculate. These damages can include the following: 

  • Medical expenses
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Lost income
  • Lost healthcare and benefits

Non-Economic Damages

However, non-economic damages are more subjective and include intangible losses such as: 

  • Emotional trauma
  • Pain and suffering
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of companionship, love, affection, care, guidance, and support
  • The overall impact of the loss on the family's quality of life


How Long Does a California Wrongful Death Case Take?

The duration of a wrongful death case can vary based on several factors, including the complexity of the case, the willingness of the parties to settle, and court availability. While it's challenging to provide an exact timeframe, a typical wrongful death case might take a few months to two years to reach a settlement or proceed to trial.


Contact Our California Wrongful Death Lawyers Today

california wrongful death attorneys

If you've lost a loved one due to someone else's negligence or intentional actions, it's crucial to seek legal guidance promptly. At Alpha Accident Lawyers, our compassionate and experienced California wrongful death lawyers are here to support you during this challenging time.

By entrusting us with your case, you can focus on grieving and healing while we work tirelessly to secure the compensation and justice your family deserves. Call us today for a free consultation.

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You will never be charged any fees unless we win your case. If you have been injured in an accident, contact us for your free consultation today.

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