background hero

Pedestrian Accident Wrongful Death

How to File a Pedestrian Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Pedestrian deaths and injuries caused by traffic-related accidents have become a serious issue in Los Angeles County. In 2016, Los Angeles County had more fatal pedestrian crashes than any other county in the United States. Vehicle speed heavily contributed to the significant increase in fatal pedestrian collisions.

In 2019, the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reported that there were 519 pedestrian deaths that took place in California between the months of January and June. With the alarming amount of reports of pedestrian deaths in California, it is no wonder that it is one of the top five states accounting for almost half, 47 percent, of all pedestrian deaths. 

Even a quick walk down the street can become a life-changing event if a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle. In essence, when a driver’s negligence causes injuries, or in this case, death to a pedestrian, the aggrieved individual and their surviving family members may be entitled to damages by filing a wrongful death claim. 

If you or a loved one were injured in a pedestrian accident in Los Angeles, our experienced team of pedestrian accident attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers are always here to help. We will recover all of the compensation you are entitled to so that you can focus on your recovery and on the ones you care most about.

To schedule a free consultation at our Los Angeles personal injury law firm, please contact our 24/7 legal team by calling 213-927-3700 or filling out our quick contact form.

Pedestrian Wrongful Death Claims

According to California’s wrongful death law, which is covered under the 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.” It also outlines the family members who are entitled to recover damages if a loved one was killed because of someone’s wrongful act. Those family members who are entitled to bring a wrongful death claim in court include:

  • The decedent’s spouse
  • The decedent’s registered domestic partner
  • The decedent’s children
  • The decedent’s grandchildren, if the decedent’s children are deceased
  • Any minors who were at least 50 percent dependent on the deceased for financial support
  • Any individual entitled to the decedent's property according to California's intestate succession laws 

Compensation for a Wrongful Death Pedestrian Injury

A successful wrongful death case will involve proving the following:  

  • The death of a pedestrian
  • That the negligence or reckless actions of the defendant caused the pedestrian’s death
  • That the surviving family members have suffered financially and emotionally

Surviving family members are entitled to bring a wrongful death claim in court for acts based on negligence, gross negligence, recklessness, and especially for a deliberate wrongful act.

Damages in a pedestrian wrongful death claim are meant to compensate surviving family members for the loss of tangible and intangible forms of support they reasonably should have expected to receive had the victim not lost his or her life in a pedestrian accident.

How does the court determine how much surviving family members must be compensated for? The period of time during which these damages are recoverable is typically the shorter of:

  1. The decedent’s life expectancy when the wrongful act took place
  2. The life expectancy of the plaintiff when the wrongful act took place

When it comes to determining life expectancy, factors such as lifestyle, overall health, and job occupation will be taken into consideration by the court. 

Economic Damages vs Non-Economic Damages

Economic damages may include:

  • Financial support that the decedent would have reasonably contributed to his or her family throughout their lifetimes
  • Loss of benefits or gifts the surviving family members would have reasonably expected to receive had the deceased not lost his or her life
  • Funeral and burial costs

Non-economic damages may include:

  • Companionship
  • Protection
  • Moral Support
  • Training and Guidance
  • Affection
  • Sexual Relations

Non-economic damages will be awarded at the court’s discretion and are based on common sense and evidence. There is no set amount or tried and tested standard for determining a dollar amount. 

Punitive Damages

A surviving family member cannot recover punitive damages in a wrongful death claim. There is only one exception, which is if the deceased was killed because of a felony homicide for which the defendant was already convicted. A surviving family member would have to file a “=survival” cause of action on behalf of the decedent’s estate in order to recover punitive damages. 

A Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help 

If you have sustained injuries as a result of a pedestrian accident, an expert Los Angeles pedestrian accident attorney at West Coast Trial Lawyers can help you get compensation for the losses you have suffered, which includes medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

Contact us today by calling 213-927-3700 or filling out our quick contact form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our knowledgeable, caring, and compassionate legal team.

Free Case Evaluation

510 Reviewers

They know what they're doing, very well. Not only did I not make a single phone call from the day I hired them, but I also received calls from their case managers and paralegals who want to make sure my treatment was going well. They whole team took care of me. Thank you WCTL for taking full responsibility of my case and getting me an amazing settlement.



293 Reviewers

I can say with confidence that this team is the best in the business. . . . Dean took the time to really listen and hear me out. He assured me that he was going to move mountains because he believed in me, and he ended up doing just that. I’ve never met a more focused and passionate attorney in my life. If you’re looking for a firm that treats its clients with the utmost respect and care, calling WCTL is a no-brainer. I wouldn't think twice about working with them again in the future.