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A wrongful death — one that was caused by someone else’s negligence or misconduct — is especially hard for the families who must carry on. Losing a loved one results in more than just the emotional impact; families must also contend with loss of income, loss of support, and costs related to the death.
If you are considering legal action related to wrongful death, the experienced Los Angeles wrongful death attorneys at Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP can help you navigate the legal system and get the best results during a difficult time. We also handle cases of wrongful death in Orange County and across California.
Why Choose Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi for Your Wrongful Death Claim?
- We have obtained record-setting settlements and jury verdicts for fatal accidents.
- We succeed in over 99% of cases we take. Our results have surpassed $2 billion for past clients throughout California.
- We are skilled negotiators who understand how to deal with insurance companies, even when the insurer is denying accountability.
- We are here to help you and your family through this difficult time. We can work closely with you throughout the entire process, not just while filing your claim.
- We accept wrongful death claims on a contingency fee basis, meaning we only charge our clients if we recover financial compensation for them.
Navigate This Page:
- Do I Have a Wrongful Death Case?
- How Much Does a Wrongful Death Lawyer Cost?
- California Wrongful Death Laws
- What Are the Most Common Types of Wrongful Death Cases?
- Wrongful Death Frequently Asked Questions
- Wrongful Death Verdicts & Settlements
Do I Have a Wrongful Death Case?
The death of a loved one is always a tragedy, but it will only qualify a family for a civil lawsuit in certain circumstances.
First, the death must meet the state’s definition of wrongful death. California Code of Civil Procedure section 377.60 defines wrongful death as a death from the wrongful act or neglect of another person. You will only have grounds for a claim if someone else caused or substantially contributed to your family member’s death, such as a drunk driver or negligent doctor.
Second, you must be within your statute of limitations. You have two years from the day your loved one died to bring a wrongful death claim, in most cases. If you miss this deadline, a lawyer may be unable to help you. The courts in Los Angeles generally refuse late cases on principle, with few exceptions. If you are not sure whether you have missed the deadline to file your case, speak to an attorney for assistance.
A Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer will understand how to handle your claim to maximize the odds of success. Call an attorney if your loved one lost his or her life in a car accident, workplace accident, fall, animal attack, act of violence or another circumstance that could point to someone else’s fault. A lawyer can review your wrongful death case for signs of wrongdoing and help you bring a claim forward, if applicable.
How Much Does a Wrongful Death Lawyer Cost?
One of our goals at Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP is to make the legal process as simple and rewarding as possible for our clients. We understand that people who come to us for help are going through some of the most difficult times of their lives. We are not here to add to the burden with high legal fees or hidden costs. We are upfront and straightforward about our fees, which we charge on a contingency basis.
- Free initial consultations
- No upfront costs to retain our services
- Zero attorney’s fees if we do not win
- Pre-approved fee arrangement before we start your case
- Fees deducted directly from your settlement or verdict if we win
- No out-of-pocket legal fees or court costs, ever
- No hidden costs or surprise service fees
We pride ourselves on providing honest, dependable and affordable legal representation in Los Angeles and are prepared to answer your questions regarding potential costs. A wrongful death suit that requires a trial, for example, may have higher legal fees. We will never leave you in the dark about how much we charge and when.
California Wrongful Death Laws
Wrongful death claims are a separate category from personal injury. They come with unique laws in California. Search for a wrongful death attorney in Los Angeles to walk you through the legal process, not just any lawyer. These cases are unique and require particular legal experience. An attorney will understand the laws, so you do not have to. In the meantime, learn a few of the most important statutes to help guide your claim according to California law.
- Restrictions on who may file a wrongful death lawsuit. In California, the law gives the ability to file this type of suit to a surviving spouse, domestic partner or child. If these parties do not exist, anyone entitled to the deceased person’s property by intestate succession may file.
- Damages available. Many different damages are recoverable through a wrongful death claim. A successful wrongful death lawsuit could result in payment for medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, the value of the decedent’s household services, lost inheritance, and more.
- Statute of limitations. Injury claims come with a common exception called the discovery rule, which tolls the deadline until the date of injury discovery. Wrongful death claims, however, have no such exception. The courts abide strictly by the two-year limit on most wrongful death cases.
Your wrongful death lawyer can help you interpret California’s laws in relation to your specific case. He or she can also help you follow the laws, so you do not miss anything important, such as a deadline or key filing requirement. Speak to an attorney as soon as possible after the death of a loved one to start your claim.
What Are the Most Common Types of Wrongful Death Cases?
Any circumstance in which one or more parties contribute to the death of someone else could be grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit in California. At Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP, we have helped hundreds of clients claim damages after tragic and unexpected accidents resulting in the death of a loved one. In our experience, certain types of accidents result in wrongful death claims in LA more often than others.
- Auto accidents
- Criminal activity
- Defective products
- Truck accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Negligent security
- Nursing home abuse
- Pedestrian accidents
- Premises accidents
- Workplace incidents
Whether you lost your loved one in a common or unusual fatal accident, we can help. We will investigate your case for signs of wrongdoing and help you build a claim against one or more at-fault parties in LA. Our Los Angeles wrongful death attorneys have experience going up against drivers, corporations, truck companies, product manufacturers, property owners and others in pursuit of justice.
Wrongful Death Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Los Angeles?
In most cases, you have a two-year window from the day your loved one passed away to initiate a wrongful death lawsuit in Los Angeles. Missing this deadline could potentially limit a lawyer’s ability to assist you. The courts in Los Angeles generally follow a policy of rejecting cases filed after this time frame, with a few exceptions. If you’re unsure whether you’ve exceeded the deadline for filing your case, it’s recommended to seek guidance from an attorney.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in California?
Under California law, certain individuals have the legal entitlement to file a wrongful death lawsuit. It’s important to note that only one wrongful death claim is allowed, encompassing all other parties that are eligible for compensation, who can be designated as plaintiffs within that single claim. Individuals who are eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit in California include:
- The spouse of the deceased
- Domestic partner
- Grandchildren (in cases where the children of the deceased are no longer living)
- Parents or siblings, if no living spouse/partner or children exist
- Stepchildren or minors who were financially reliant on the deceased for at least 50% of their financial support
- Additional parties who could inherit from the deceased in accordance with California’s intestate succession laws
What Is the Difference Between Wrongful Death Claim and a Survival Claim?
After losing a loved one in an accident, you and your family may be able to bring two different types of civil claims. One, a wrongful death claim, serves to compensate surviving loved ones for their damages. Another, a survival action, provides compensation to the decedent’s estate for his or her specific losses. Surviving family members may bring a wrongful death claim, while only a representative of the estate may file a survival action. The representative will have the later of six months after the death or two years from the wrongful act to file a survival action.
The damages available in each of the claims differ as well.
A wrongful death action focuses on reimbursing the family for the emotional and financial losses they suffered because of the death. These may include compensation awards for mental anguish, psychological trauma, lost parental guidance, lost spousal love and support, lost household duties, reasonable funeral and burial expenses and medical bills the family paid. Dependents will have to establish the economic damages they experienced after the loss of life to obtain an award.
A survival cause of action could result in compensation similar to what the deceased person could have received in a personal injury claim, had his or her injuries not been fatal. Recovery amounts could cover personal property repairs, medical expenses, the loved one’s lost wages, lost inheritance, out-of-pocket expenses, funeral expenses, and punitive damages. The California courts will determine an appropriate amount to award during a survival action.
Wrongful Death Verdicts & Settlements
Results the firm has obtained for families affected by a wrongful death include:
- DOES v National Company in which the firm secured a settlement of $50,000,000 in a case involving an explosion.
- DOES v. Trucking Company in which the firm secured a settlement of $39,500,000 in a case involving a truck accident.
- Allen et al v. City of Beverly Hills in which Brian Panish, Deborah Chang, Tom Schultz and Austin Ward obtained a $32.5 million settlement for two clients who were catastrophically injured and two clients whose father was killed in two car accidents on Loma Vista Drive in Beverly Hills, California.
- Sherman v. Courrege, in which Brian Panish obtained a $25.5 million jury verdict for the survivors of a family of three killed by a drunk driver.
- Lee v. Pupil Transportation Cooperative in which Brian Panish, Rahul Ravipudi and Robert Glassman obtained a $23.5 million settlement for the parents of Hun Joon “Paul” Lee, a non-verbal autistic student who was left aboard a school bus on one of the hottest days of the year.
- Yoon v. United States, in which Brian Panish and Kevin Boyle obtained a $17.45 million award for a man whose family was killed when a military jet crashed into his San Diego home.
- DOES v. Multinational Delivery Company in which the firm secured a settlement of $17,250,000 in a case involving a truck accident.
- Cuthbertson v. LACMTA, in which Brian Panish and Deborah Chang obtained a $17 million verdict for the mother of a visually impaired man who was killed when he slipped between rail cars and was crushed by a train.
- Wu v. Singapore Airlines in which Brian Panish and Kevin Boyle obtained a $15 million jury verdict for the children of two people killed in the crash of Singapore Airlines Boeing 747-400.
- Preza v. City of Hawthorne in which Brian Panish, Rahul Ravipudi and Erika Contreras obtained a $13 million settlement for the family of woman killed by a speeding police car.
- DOES v. Furniture Company in which the firm secured a settlement of $12,000,000 in a case involving a truck accident.
- DOES v. ROE in which the firm secured a settlement of $12,000,000 in an auto accident case.
- Pierce v. Murrieta Valley Unified School District in which Rahul Ravipudi and Robert Glassman obtained a $11 million settlement for the family of a 13 year old middle school student who drowned during a school-sponsored swim party.
- Cisler v. Capistrano Unified School District in which Brian Panish and Tom Schultz obtained a $10 million verdict for the parents of a young boy who died on a school bus on his way home from preschool when he was strangled by the straps of his wheel chair.
- Corona v Orange Unified School District in which the firm secured a settlement of $7,500,000 in a premises liability case.
- Bermas v Waterstone Garden Investments in which the firm secured a settlement of $7,500,000 in a premises liability case.
- Martinez v. Whittier Uptown Association in which David Rudorfer and Tom Schultz obtained a $6,300,000 jury verdict for the family members of a man who suffered fatal injuries as a result of being struck by a vendor vehicle at a Farmers’ Market.
- Troupe v. Pavestone, LLC in which Adam Shea, Ryan Casey and Nicholas Yoka obtained a $5,000,000.00 compensatory verdict, and a finding by the jury that Defendant’s conduct warranted imposing punitive damages, for the parents of 22-year old man killed by a big rig whose driver had fallen asleep at the wheel.
Request a Free Consultation With Our Los Angeles Wrongful Death Lawyers
The dedicated team at Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP is ready to serve as the strength by your side during this difficult time. Contact our Los Angeles law firm for a free consultation (310) 477-1700.
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