Merced Wrongful Death Attorney Helps Clients Pursue Damages After Losing a Loved One

Central California firm pursues compensation for bereaved family members

You don’t fully recover when a family member dies unexpectedly, and the pain might be even more intense if someone else was responsible for your loved one’s fatality. At Curry and Curry in Merced, I represent California clients in wrongful death and survival actions to help compensate surviving family members for what they have lost and to hold defendants accountable for the harm they inflicted on the decedent.

What damages are recoverable in wrongful death and survival actions?

Wrongful death and survival actions are typically brought together in California, though there is a legal distinction between the claims. A wrongful death claim is filed by one or more bereaved family members seeking damages for the losses they have incurred as a result of the untimely fatality. These damages include the cost of funeral expenses, reimbursement for income that the decedent would have been expected to earn throughout their lifetime and compensation for the loss of consortium, companionship, counsel and household services the victim provided.

Conversely, survival actions could be described as personal injury lawsuits filed on the decedent’s behalf. If the victim did not die immediately following their fatal incident, they likely incurred significant medical bills and experienced pain and suffering. The personal representative for the victim’s estate is the plaintiff for these actions and funds recovered are directed to the estate.

Potential plaintiffs in a wrongful death lawsuit

Section 377.60 of California’s Code of Civil Procedure sets forth who may file a wrongful death claim. Potential plaintiffs in these cases include the decedent’s surviving spouse, domestic partner, children or grandchildren. Parents can seek relief under this section if their minor child has died or if their son or daughter was unmarried and childless. Otherwise, siblings or others who would stand to inherit from the decedent’s estate under California’s intestate succession laws may serve as plaintiff.

Causes of wrongful death and survival lawsuits

My firm advocates for plaintiffs in all types of wrongful death and survival actions, including claims arising from the following:

  • Vehicle accidents — Fatal crashes occur on major highways and small-town streets. If you’ve lost a loved one in a car, truck or motorcycle collision, I know how to negotiate with insurance companies and deliver a persuasive case in court as to who caused the accident and how much in damages is necessary to fully compensate the survivors for their losses.
  • Falls — Failure of a property owner to clean up a spill, pave a cracked sidewalk or replace a broken floorboard could be deadly. In premises liability claims, my firm conducts a thorough investigation to determine if reasonable precautions were taken.
  • Poor security — A business or organization that hosts a large crowd or is in a location prone to criminal activity has an obligation to its guests. When a death occurs that could have been avoided through proper security, I work diligently to hold the liable parties accountable.
  • Workplace accidents — Under California law, workers’ compensation does provide some benefits for the survivors of someone who was killed in an on-the-job accident. However, if a third party (not the employer or a co-worker) also bears some blame for the fatality, you can file a wrongful death action to pursue payment for pain and suffering, as well as other damages not available in a workers’ compensation proceeding.

Dealing with legal details after the tragic death of a loved one might be the last thing on your mind, but I will treat you with the respect and compassion you deserve while striving to obtain a measure of justice from the liable parties.

Contact a California attorney for a consultation about filing a wrongful death action

Curry and Curry provides legal counsel to plaintiffs in California wrongful death claims. You can learn about your legal options and the compensation that might be available by calling 209-720-3912 or contacting me online. My office is in Merced. I don’t charge attorney’s fees in these cases until after you collect a financial recovery.