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Beverly Hills Wrongful Death Lawyer


Wrongful Death Cases

If you have experienced the wrongful death of a loved one, please accept our sincere condolences. However, please know that there are options available to you if you wish to seek justice and financial compensation on your loved one’s behalf. When a wrongful death occurs, the victim’s heirs have the right to recover compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. 

According to wrongful death law in Beverly Hills-- which is covered in California Code of Civil Procedure 377.60 --  a wrongful death is characterized by, “A cause of action for the death of a person caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another…”

According to California Code of Civil Procedure 377.60, the individuals who are entitled to bring a wrongful death claim in court include:

  • The spouse of the decedent
  • The registered domestic partner of the decedent
  • The children of the decedent
  • The decedent’s grandchildren, if the decedent’s children are deceased
  • Any minors who were at least 50% dependent on the deceased for financial support, and

Please don’t hesitate to contact our team of Beverly Hills wrongful death attorneys 24/7 at (310) 928-0990 or feel free to email us at [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring and compassionate legal team. West Coast Trial Lawyers is always here to answer any questions you may have about wrongful death claims and damages you may be entitled to.

Survival Action Or Wrongful Death?

Survival actions and wrongful death are strictly governed under California state law. They are similar, but there are some differences.

  • Survival Action. A survival action entitles the estate of the deceased to receive financial compensation which the deceased would have received if he or she did not lose their life. However, a survival action applies specifically to situations when the individual in question did not immediately die after the accident or incident that ultimately resulted in their death. For example, if someone suffered a serious brain injury in a car accident caused by vehicular malfunction, went into a coma, and didn’t actually die until months later, the estate of the deceased would be entitled to that person’s lost wages. This is only one example. Please consult with a Beverly Hills wrongful death attorney to discuss the specific circumstances of your loved one’s death. 
  • Wrongful Death. A wrongful death claim entitles the victim’s surviving family to the recovery of damages, which include:
  1. Medical expenses and hospital bills,
  2. Punitive damages,
  3. Loss of financial support,
  4. Funeral and burial expenses, 
  5. Loss of consortium,
  6. Loss of love, protection, affection, and support. 
Wrongful Death And Medical Malpractice 

One of the many common causes of wrongful death is medical malpractice. Below is a list of several scenarios that may entitle surviving family members to bring a wrongful death claim for medical malpractice, including but not limited to:

  • Misdiagnosing a patient.
  • Incorrectly interpreting lab results.
  • Ignoring lab results.
  • Ordering the wrong lab tests.
  • Failing to notice or correctly diagnose a patient's symptoms.
  • Incorrectly administered medication or dosage. 
  • Surgical mistakes. 
  • Inadequate follow-up or aftercare.
  • Unnecessary surgeries.
Wrongful Death And Police

In general, when someone is killed because of negligence or deliberate acts of malice, the surviving family members listed above can file a wrongful death claim for the recovery of damages. The same legal standard applies to police officers, as well. 

Wrongful death claims against the police are notoriously challenging and compensation will not come easily. However, they are sometimes settled quickly because police departments do not want any bad publicity. Wrongful death claims against a police department are typically filed against the city where the death took place. A wrongful death that took place in Beverly Hills would of course mean that a wrongful death claim will be filed against the city of Beverly Hills. 

It is possible that the city of Beverly Hills will invoke immunity as a defense against legal repercussions. For example, if a police officer who killed someone used appropriate techniques, they could successfully avoid a wrongful death claim. We strongly recommend discussing the specific circumstances of your loved one’s death with an experienced Beverly Hills wrongful death attorney to determine whether or not you are entitled to file a wrongful death claim against a police department for the recovery of damages. 

State Or Federal?

Furthermore, wrongful death claims can be brought at the state or federal level, and possibly both. It depends on the circumstances. It is important to know that a wrongful death claim can be brought at the federal level on behalf of an aggrieved individual whose civil rights were violated. According to Federal law (42 U.S.C. § 1983), any peace officers who subject a U.S. resident to "the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws" can be held liable for a wrongful death. 

Police officers are allowed to use force, but it must be appropriate according to the circumstances. In other words, did a police officer respond appropriately given a perceived threat, or did he or she use excessive force given the circumstances?

A classic example is that of a child who is holding a very realistic toy gun. It goes without saying that a toy gun is not a threat to anyone. However, a police officer may believe it’s a real gun and may react by shooting the child. Unfortunately, doing so could actually count as a justified act of self-defense, and the police officer may avoid all legal responsibility for the death. 

Compensation After A Beverly Hills Wrongful Death  Economic damages may include:
  • Financial support the decedent would have contributed to his or her family throughout their lifetimes
  • Loss of benefits or gifts the surviving family members would have received had the deceased not lost his or her life
  • Funeral and burial costs
Non-economic damages may include:
  • Loss of Companionship
  • Loss of Protection
  • Loss of Moral Support
  • Loss of Training and Guidance
  • Loss of Affection
  • Loss of Sexual Relations

Non-economic damages are awarded at the court’s discretion and are based on common sense and available evidence. There is no tried and tested 

standard for determining a dollar amount when it comes to non-economic damages.  Finally, most personal injury claims allow for the recovery of punitive damages. However, surviving family members cannot recover punitive damages in a wrongful death claim. The one exception is if the deceased was killed because of a felony homicide for which the defendant was already convicted.

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