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California Wrongful Death Lawyers

Compassionate counsel for grieving families in Los Angeles and throughout the state

Dealing with the loss of a beloved family member is difficult, no matter the circumstances. If the death was the result of negligence or other wrongdoing of another, there is recourse for the relatives of the deceased through special laws called “wrongful death” and “survival” actions.

If you have lost a loved one because of medical negligence or other medical wrongdoing by a California medical professional, Heimberg Barr LLP is ready to assist you. The firm has offered compassionate and comprehensive counsel to families throughout the state since 1993. Contact the firm today to schedule a free consultation with a Los Angeles wrongful death attorney about your case.

What is considered a wrongful death?

California law defines wrongful death as a death "caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another." (California Code of Civil Procedure 377.60) This provides the right to sue a medical provider for improper care leading to the death of your loved one.

Wrongful death and medical malpractice

In 2016, researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine “calculated that more than 250,000 deaths per year are due to medical error in the U.S. Their figure, published May 3 in the British Medical Journal, makes medical wrongdoing the second leading cause of death in America, ahead of respiratory disease, which kills close to 150,000 people per year.

Some of the most common examples of fatal medical malpractice include:

Who may file a wrongful death lawsuit in California?

California law gives specific people the legal right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Only one wrongful death claim can be filed, and all other parties who have a claim to the compensation can be named as plaintiffs in that claim. Those with legal standing to file a wrongful death claim in California may include:

  • The decedent's spouse
  • Domestic partner
  • Children
  • Grandchildren (if the deceased person's children are deceased)
  • Parents or siblings if there are no living spouse or children
  • Stepchildren or other minors who were financially dependent on the deceased for at least 50% of their financial support
  • Other parties who could inherit from the deceased under the California law of intestate succession

How is a survival action different from a wrongful death claim?

In a wrongful death claim, the family is compensated for its losses. In a survival action, the state allows a decedent’s estate to recover for injuries or damages suffered by the decedent immediately before death.

Under the California survival action statute, plaintiffs may recover damages which cover the “the loss or damage that the decedent sustained or incurred before death, including any penalties or punitive or exemplary damages that the decedent would have been entitled to recover had the decedent lived, and do not include damages for pain, suffering, or disfigurement.” (Code of Civil Procedure §377.30)

In other words, a survival action allows the plaintiffs to recover the damages that the deceased would have been entitled to, had he or she survived the incident. Those damages can include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages

Survival actions do not allow for pain and suffering claims. They do, however, allow for punitive damages, which are intended to punish the wrongdoer for his or her negligence.

What help can a Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer offer to me and my family?

Living with the grief after losing a loved one can derail your life. However there are time limits for pursuing a wrongful death claim or a survival action. An experienced Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer from Heimberg Barr LLP is prepared to help you pursue justice on behalf of your loved one. The attorneys have more than 50 years of combined legal experience guiding wrongful death claimants toward recovering the maximum compensation available, including:

  • 10.55 million settlement for negligent delivery of triplets resulting in the death of one infant and injuries to the other
  • $ 7 million settlement under California’s Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act for the family of a 44 year old man who died while hospitalized
  • $6.2 million settlement for fatal injuries sustained by a man involved in an off-road vehicle crash
  • $4.25 million wrongful death settlement for negligent surgery of an aortic aneurysm resulting in the death of a 57 year old

If you have suffered the loss of a dear loved one because of someone else’s negligent actions or intentional wrongful acts, the firm is here to provide legal advocacy, and support and to ensure that you recover the compensation you need.

Contact an experienced California wrongful death attorney today

Medical errors can kill. If your loved one dies as a result of medical negligence, Heimberg Barr LLP can help you file an appropriate claim. To schedule a consultation with a California wrongful death attorney, please call (213) 213-1500 or complete the contact form today.

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