California Wrongful Death Lawyer | Sargent Law Firm

Wrongful Death

The tragedy of losing a loved one is difficult to overstate. Many families have to cope with the emotional pain of their loss while simultaneously dealing with the financial burdens that accompany wrongful deaths.

Wrongful Death

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    California Wrongful Death Lawyer

    The pain, grief, and emotional trauma can be overwhelming. Ryan Sargent has helped clients recover settlements for individuals who had suffered the unexpected loss of a family member or loved one.

    Often, families involved in wrongful death cases suffer great financial losses, both immediately and in the future. These losses can include the deceased’s medical care, burial costs, and lost future earnings. The pain and suffering the surviving family members endure are incalculable.

    A qualified California wrongful death attorney can explain your rights and help you through the process of filing a wrongful death lawsuit to help you get justice for your lost loved one.

    When someone’s negligent, reckless, or criminal action causes the death of another, the deceased’s surviving family can sue the person responsible.

    If your family has suffered such a loss, contact a California wrongful death lawyer today.

    Your personal injury attorney can pursue justice for you and your loved one in court. To learn more about filing a wrongful death lawsuit in California, read the information below. Then, call an experienced wrongful death lawyer to discuss your claim.

    What Constitutes a Wrongful Death

    Wrongful deaths often occur as the result of someone’s negligence. In many cases, the deceased suffered fatal injury in an accident, such as a car accident. While not every accident-related death is considered a wrongful death, many are.

    When someone fails to take reasonable care to avoid injury, that failure can cause serious injury to others. This is negligence. When someone’s negligence causes another’s death, it is considered a wrongful death.

    California law allows certain surviving family members to sue the negligent person, business, or other entity responsible for the death of their loved one. To do so, the surviving family should contact a California wrongful death lawyer.

    What Our Clients Say

    Wrongful Death Claim Explained

     A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil legal action where the surviving family of the deceased can file a claim against another individual or a separate entity whose negligent actions caused the death of their family member. 

    Wrongful death cases are separate from criminal court proceedings, and when fault is proven in a wrongful death lawsuit, the surviving family members receive a financial award. If your wrongful death claim is successful, the responsible party or parties will be ordered by the court to pay a sum of money to the victim’s family members who brought forth the claim. 

    The court will award monetary damages which can include compensation for the following:

    • Medical expenses
    • Funeral costs
    • Emotional distress
    • Lost income and future earnings

    How a Wrongful Death Attorney Helps

    Filing the Lawsuit

    The first step is to file the lawsuit and get a trial date set in the court system. Many requirements must be met in the filing process, and a top-flight wrongful death attorney understands how to be persuasive enough to present your case, even against a strong defense. 

    Evidence Gathering

    Through investigations, depositions, information requests, police reports, and other forms, your attorney will use this evidence to prepare a complete case on your behalf.

    Defending your Claim

    It is the job of the defense to try to counter any evidence you might present, and to provide evidence on their behalf. A qualified attorney will be able to challenge the defense and protect your rights to fair compensation. 

    Negotiate your Settlement

    Your attorney will negotiate the best possible settlement on your behalf. Many wrongful death cases are settled out of court, and a professional attorney will make sure the settlement offer you receive is fair and equitable.


    If your lawsuit needs to go to trial, your attorney will be there representing your interests every step of the way. A reasonable attorney will present your case thoroughly and aggressively to ensure you receive the compensation you and your family deserve. 

    The Role of a Wrongful Death Attorney

    A qualified California wrongful death attorney has a team of experts to help build a strong case. The attorney will hire consultants to conduct an independent investigation into the accident to determine the exact details and collect any necessary evidence for the victim’s family.

    The attorney will evaluate all the evidence from the police and the private investigation to begin to build a wrongful death case. It is the job of the attorney to show the court exactly who the victim was and the extent of the damage this loss caused for those whose lives were intertwined with the victim. 

    Through videos, statements, pictures, and other pieces of evidence, a good attorney can show how much value the victim had in the lives of the family members left behind after a tragic loss. 

    Car Accidents? Workplace Accidents? The Sargent Firm Handles It All

    Elements of a Wrongful Death Case

    Each wrongful death case has three different factors that must be satisfied for your lawsuit to be successful. In California, all of the following elements must be proven for the victim’s family to receive compensation. These elements are:

    • Death of an individual
    • That death was the result of negligence or intent to harm
    • The victim’s family is suffering from financial hardship as a result of the victim’s death

    Element 1: Accidents and Intentional Acts

    There are a variety of accidents that can be the cause of death in a wrongful death lawsuit. The different types of accidents include:

    Intentional acts that can be the basis for a wrongful death claim include some of the following:

    • Manslaughter
    • Assault
    • Arson
    • Murder
    • Other intentional acts that were meant to cause harm

    Element 2: Negligence

    Proving negligence on the part of the offending party is the essential aspect of a wrongful death lawsuit. You have to be able to prove that your family member’s death was a result of negligent actions or conduct by another party. For example, you are unable to sue a vehicle manufacturer for an error on the part of the driver; however, if the accident were a result of a defective part or service, then that would be grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit. 

    A qualified attorney understands that causation is the most crucial element in a wrongful death lawsuit, and they will prepare your case to give you the best opportunity to receive the settlement that you and your family deserve. 

    Element 3: Loss

    You have to be able to prove that the death of your loved one is directly responsible for financial hardship, emotional support, or household contributions. Other losses include medical bills, funeral costs, and additional costs associated with the death of your loved one. 

    Without the services of a qualified attorney, it can be challenging to determine the value of your wrongful death claim and calculate the damages you are ultimately entitled to receive. 

    How a California Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help

    Experienced California Wrongful Death Attorney

    While compensation from a lawsuit cannot make up for the loss of a loved one, it can ease the financial burdens for families. If your loved one suffered a wrongful death, contact a California wrongful death lawyer today.


    Filing a Wrongful Death Suit in California

    When a wrongful death occurs, the deceased’s family can file a civil lawsuit seeking financial compensation for the harm they suffered as a result of the death. California law only permits specific family members to file a wrongful death suit. California Code of Civil Procedure 377.60 specifies which family members can bring such a claim in court, and prioritizes these family members. In other words, if the highest priority relative is no longer living, the next priority relative can file the suit.

    At the highest priority, California law allows household family members (including surviving spouse, minor children, dependent parents, dependent stepchildren, and other dependent minors living in the home) to pursue a wrongful death case.

    If there are no surviving household members, certain other family members may pursue the case: parents, siblings or children of deceased siblings, grandparents, and children of a deceased spouse.

    Timeframe for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

    In some cases, proof of negligence is apparent

    For example, if an intoxicated commercial truck driver strikes a pedestrian, it would be reasonably easy to establish negligence on the part of the driver.

    In other cases, negligence can be much more difficult to prove

    An example of this is a fall at a construction worksite. There are multiple potential parties involved who might be negligent. These parties could include the construction company, the manufacturers of the equipment, other workers on the job, or another responsible party. In a case like this, it would take much more time to interview witnesses, past research accidents and find other pieces of evidence that would help to prove the victim’s death was a result of negligence.

    For many wrongful death cases, the paying party is the insurance company that covered the responsible party

    Insurance companies are notorious for trying to pay far less than what the victim’s family deserves. This is where the services of a qualified attorney is necessary to ensure that you and your family get the compensation needed to recover the quality of life you were accustomed to before the wrongful death of your loved one.
    Any case that requires an in-depth investigation will prolong the amount of time it will take to settle the case. A typical jury trial for a wrongful death case takes anywhere from 1-2 years from the time the accident until a settlement is awarded.
    Most wrongful death cases eventually go to trial because insurance companies only tend to offer low settlements, which only really benefit the insurance company itself.

    In cases, the deceased’s next of kin can file if no other relatives are surviving. Wrongful death lawsuits are very complicated, so it is important for surviving families to contact an experienced California wrongful death lawyer for help.

    Family members who bring the suit may be entitled to compensation for the following damages:

    • Funeral/burial costs
    • Loss of anticipated gifts/benefits
    • Loss of companionship, comfort, protection, love, care, and society
    • Loss of household services
    • Loss of financial support
    • Loss of a parent’s guidance and training
    • Loss of a spouse’s intimate sexual relations

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