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Riverside Wrongful Death Attorney


Unfortunately, a wrongful death often happens at the most surprising and inconvenient times. We at West Coast Trial Lawyers know how these terrible situations can affect those who are left behind. Our deepest condolences go out to anyone who has experienced this tragedy. 

During this stressful time, many people have concerns about how this life-altering experience will affect them in the long run. If you had a loved one pass as a result of a wrongful death, you may have the right to recover compensation for your

economic and non-economic damages. 

The compensatory damages made available in a wrongful death claim can encompass:

  • Emotional Distress
  • Lost Wages
  • Property Loss
  • Medical Bills 
  • Loss Of Consortium
  • Funeral and Burial Costs, and more  
Our Practice Areas  Why You Need Us 
Find A Riverside Car Accident Lawyer  In 2019, a four-year-old child was left in critical condition after a Riverside car accident. The head-on crash caused the child to suffer extreme head injuries. 
Find A Riverside Motorcycle Accident Lawyer  Riverside police press motorcyclists to employ safer riding practices as there are over 500 intersections in Riverside where a potential accident can occur.   
Find A Riverside Truck Accident Lawyer  23% of semi-truck accidents involved speeding. 
What Is A Wrongful Death Claim? The California Code of Civil Procedure 377.60 describes wrongful death as “A cause of action for the death of a person caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another…” 

California wrongful death law (California Code Of Civil Procedure 377.60)

goes on to detail which family members can recover damages if a loved one was killed because of the negligence of another. 

Which Family Members Are Entitled To Sue For Wrongful Death?

As explained by the California Code of Civil Procedure 377.60, there are only certain family members who are entitled to compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit, including: 

  • 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% dependent on the deceased for financial support
Proving A Wrongful Death Claim A successful wrongful death case will verify these elements:  
  • The death of an individual
  • That the negligence or reckless actions of the defendant caused the death
  • That the surviving family members have suffered financially and emotionally

In a wrongful death lawsuit, it is the burden of the plaintiff to prove that a negligent act caused the death of their loved one. They can do this by providing the jury with significant evidence or proving that the defendant’s actions directly caused the death. If the plaintiff can convince the jury, then they will typically recover damages.      

Our Practice Areas  Personal Injury Information 
Find A Riverside Pedestrian Accident Lawyer  Riverside police reinforce safety concerns as a 20-year old man was struck and killed by a hit-and-run accident in 2019.
Find A Riverside Bicycle Accident Lawyer  Around 4% of people killed in traffic accidents were bicyclists.
Find A Riverside Dog Bite Lawyer  In 2017, California was responsible for 488 State Farm dog bite claims, which resulted in $18.7 million in insurance settlement claims. 

The defendant, on the other hand, does not have to prove anything. In the case that the plaintiff can not prove negligence, the defendant may not even need to present any evidence. They may, however, use an affirmative defense, which will reverse the lawsuit and can result in the defendant having to prove that the defense should be applied.  

Surviving family members can bring a wrongful death suit to court for a death caused by negligence, gross negligence, recklessness, and especially for a deliberate wrongful act.

Examples of wrongful acts/deaths may include:
  • Car accidents, including DUI incidents
  • Pedestrian "knock down” accidents
  • Slip and falls
  • Drowning  
  • Police negligence
  • Murder/manslaughter
  • Elder abuse and/or neglect
  • Nursing homes
  • Child abuse and/or neglect
  • Assault and battery
  • Medical malpractice

Surviving family members can also sue under strict liability. For example, if the death of a loved one was caused by a defective product, then you may have a defective product case. 

  1. A Riverside woman was awarded almost $2 million in a product liability negligence case after she was burned by an exploding e-cigarette charger. 
Available Damages In A Wrongful Death Claim

Damages in a wrongful death suit are awarded to family members to help relieve their financial burden.  

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:

  • The decedent’s life expectancy when the wrongful act took place
  • The life expectancy of the plaintiff when the wrongful act took place
Life expectancy is determined by overall health, lifestyle, and occupation. 
Our Practice Areas  Why You Need Us 
Find A Riverside Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer  For children under 14, on average, there are about 37,000 hospitalizations a year due to traumatic brain injuries.
Find A Riverside Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer  Studies show that 17,730 new spinal cord injuries occur each year.
Find A Riverside Uber and Lyft Accident Lawyer Lawyer  In 2018, Uber is estimated to be worth $72 billion dollars.
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 are allocated based on the court’s determination and evidence presented. There are no limitations as to how much a non-economic award can be.    What About Punitive Damages?

Unfortunately, surviving family members usually cannot collect punitive damages in a wrongful death claim. The only exception is if the deceased was killed due to a felony homicide where the defendant is already convicted. 

To receive punitive damages, a family member would have to file a “survival” cause of action on behalf of the decedent’s estate. 

Our Practice Areas  Why You Need Us 
Find A Riverside Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer  For children under 14, on average, there are about 37,000 hospitalizations a year due to traumatic brain injuries.
Find A Riverside Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer  Studies show that 17,730 new spinal cord injuries occur each year. 
Find A Riverside Uber and Lyft Accident Lawyer Lawyer  In 2018, Uber is estimated to be worth $72 billion dollars.
What Is A Survival Cause Of Action?

This statute allows a decedent’s estate to recover damages for injuries endured by the decedent before death, such as if a victim went into a coma after an accident and then died weeks later. Recovery can also include damages to the estate due to the plaintiff’s death.

Survival action requirements are set forth by the California Code of Civil Procedure 377.30  Damages available in a survival action may include:

  • Emotional Distress
  • Lost Wages
    • Property Loss
  • Medical Bills 
  • Loss Of Consortium
  • Funeral and Burial Costs, and more
Wrongful Death Statute Of Limitations

California’s statute of limitations is the same for both wrongful death and survival action, which is two years. For wrongful death cases, the timeline begins as soon as the person is deceased. With survival actions, the decedent’s estate has exactly two years to file from the later of:

  • The date of the injury or 
  • Six months after the death

Exceptions to the statute of limitations include situations where the “discovery rule” applies. This exception allows a grace period if it is not obvious when the victim died or if the plaintiff did not know when the victim died. In these cases, the timeline usually begins when the family becomes aware of the death. 

Another exception includes situations where a government employee is at fault for the wrongful death. In these types of cases, you are only allowed 6 months after the death to file a wrongful death claim.

Our Practice Areas  Why You Need Us 
Find A Riverside Food Delivery La Accident Lawyer  Riverside requires all food trucks to properly sanitize all surfaces and utensils every 4 hours to prevent cross contamination. 
Find A Riverside Burn Injury Lawyer  A Riverside woman was awarded almost $2million in a product liability negligence case after she was burned by an exploding e-cigarette charger. 
Find A Riverside Bus Accident Lawyer  Riverside Elementary West in Taylor addresses concerns with their school bus safety policy and have updated their approach to ensure safety on the road for all. 
Wrongful Death Lawsuits Against A Hospital

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for a hospital’s mistake to cause a wrongful death. When the negligence of a nurse, doctor, or aid causes the death of a loved one you may have a wrongful death lawsuit.

How To Prove Loss Of Consortium

A loss of consortium claim requires your spouse to be a registered domestic partner and that they were hurt due to someone else’s negligence. 

Wrongful Death Claims Involving Children

Wrongful deaths involving children are complicated because rewards are based on the value of a child’s life in relation to the survivors, which is never easy. 

Our Practice Areas  Why You Need Us
Find A Riverside E-Scooter Accident Lawyer  Riverside is Inland Empire’s first city to receive electric Bird scooters.
Find A Riverside Premises Liability Lawyer In Riverside, it is illegal for a homeowner to keep any structures on the property without maintaining the structure’s exterior. This includes broken, destroyed, or partially assembled buildings
West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help

A wrongful death attorney at our firm can help you recover financial compensation for the losses you have suffered on behalf of your loved one. Call us today at (951) 393-1200 or email [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring and compassionate legal team.

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