Established Salinas Law Firm Manages Wrongful Death Litigation

Compassionate assistance for grieving families in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties

The sudden, unexpected loss of a family member is heartbreaking. But when that loss could have been prevented with just a routine amount of caution, the situation demands justice. At Rucka, O’Boyle, Lombardo & McKenna, our injury attorneys prosecute wrongful death actions on behalf of California families who have lost loved ones needlessly due to negligent, reckless or deliberate wrongful acts. We know that no amount of money can ever bring your loved one back to you. But we also know that until you have justice, you cannot have closure. We take aggressive steps to hold the wrongdoers in your case accountable, so you can have peace of mind.

What is a wrongful death lawsuit?

In California, a wrongful death lawsuit is similar to a personal injury action, except that the injuries suffered resulted in death. As with a personal injury claim, the plaintiff asks for monetary compensation, called damages, for the harm that resulted from the defendant’s wrongful act. A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action, so the goal of the lawyers is to get the victim compensated rather than punish the defendant, although courts can order punitive damages if the defendant’s conduct in causing the death was particularly egregious. In some cases, the facts also warrant criminal prosecution. If the authorities file criminal charges, the civil case usually waits until the criminal case ends.

Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit?

Only close relatives of the deceased can file a wrongful death action. California law limits eligible parties to these individuals:

  • Surviving spouse or domestic partner
  • Children
  • If there is no spouse or children, any person who could inherit from the estate under California inheritance law

Certain others can file if they were financially dependent on the deceased at the time of the injury that resulted in death:

  • A putative spouse and children of a putative spouse
  • Stepchildren
  • Parents

When more than one person files a wrongful death claim, the cases are consolidated and move forward as one action.

What damages are available in a wrongful death lawsuit?

A wrongful death case seeks compensation for two categories of losses. First, losses to the deceased’s estate can include:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Medical costs from the date of the injury event to the deceased’s death
  • Lost income projected over the course of a normal lifespan

The deceased’s next-of-kin can recover for their personal losses, including:

  • The value of lost household services
  • Loss of future financial support
  • Loss of love, affection, guidance and other intangibles

The California statute of limitations requires parties to file a wrongful death action within two years of the date of death or they lose their rights forever. It’s important that you contact a reputable attorney as soon as possible to get your case started. Our attorneys are ready to provide the concerned and capable representation you need to obtain the compensation you deserve.

Contact our experienced wrongful death lawyers in Salinas, Watsonville, Santa Cruz and Monterey, CA

Rucka, O’Boyle, Lombardo & McKenna provides compassionate counsel and determined representation in wrongful death cases. We charge no upfront legal fees, and you only pay us when you collect damages through a settlement or court verdict. Call us at 831-443-1051 or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation. Se habla español.