Losing a loved one is not easy. This is particularly true if a person you love lost their life far too early. Unfortunately, there are times when individuals lose their life due to the negligent or intentional actions of others. At ABDI & Associates, we are standing by the help if you need a Los Angeles wrongful death attorney.
Shawn Abdi has a history of recovering settlements and jury verdicts on behalf of injury and wrongful death plaintiffs in California. Our compassionate team will listen to your story and help you understand the best steps moving forward for your situation. Let us help you secure closure and compensation for the loss of your loved one.
Choose ABDI & Associates for Your Los Angeles Wrongful Death Claim
At ABDI & Associates, we understand the importance of having a compassionate and experienced legal advocate by your side during this incredibly difficult time.
· Every client will receive personalized attention for their case, which means we take the time to listen to your goals and needs as we move forward with the claim.
· Attorney Shawn Abdi takes the time to explain everything he does to grieving family members and will always be available to answer questions or concerns as the case goes on.
· Our team has a track record of success pain recovering substantial settlements and jury verdicts on behalf of injury and wrongful death clients throughout California.
Do You Need a Lawyer for a Wrongful Death Claim?
Wrongful death claims in Los Angeles can become incredibly challenging. The reality is that family members and estates of the deceased struggle to handle these claims on their own. A skilled attorney will be able to conduct a complete investigation into the incident in order to determine exactly what happened.
A lawyer will also handle the process of enlisting economic and financial experts to adequately calculate the family and estate’s total expected losses. This information will be used as the attorney engages in vigorous negotiations with insurance carriers and other lawyers involved. Ultimately, an attorney will fully prepare the claim for a trial by jury if that is what it takes to recover complete compensation for their client.
Paying for a Wrongful Death Attorney in Los Angeles
We know that grieving families often steer away from working with an attorney for their claim because they think there is no way that the estate can afford the legal assistance. However, that is not the case. At ABDI & Associates, our team is proud to handle wrongful death claims in Los Angeles on a contingency fee basis. This means that family members and the estates of the deceased individual will not have to worry about paying any upfront or out-of-pocket costs related to the claim. Our team will not collect any legal fees until after we successfully recover the compensation that families need. If we do not win, families pay nothing.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death Accidents in Los Angeles
When we examine California law, we can see that wrongful death lawsuits allow surviving family members or the estate of the deceased to file a claim for damages if a person loses their life as a result of the wrongful act of someone else (Code of Civil Procedure 377.60). This can include deaths caused by negligent, reckless, or intentional actions of another individual, company, or entity.
Wrongful death claims arise in various ways throughout Los Angeles and California. Some of the most common causes of wrongful deaths that we help clients with include the following:
Information available from the California Office of Traffic Safety indicates that the roadways of our state are becoming less safe. In fact, there was a 3.4% increase in fatalities from 2019 to 2020, with the latest reporting year showing 3,847 total traffic fatalities.
Not every vehicle accident fatality will be considered a wrongful death claim, but there are certainly circumstances that arise where another party could and should be held accountable for a traffic fatality. For example, alcohol-impaired driving was
responsible for around 30% of all traffic fatalities during the latest reporting year on file. Drivers could also be held responsible for a death if they cause an accident due to distracted driving, failing to follow traffic laws, speeding, road rage, or another type of reckless driving behavior.
Accidents involving larger commercial trucks often result in devastating injuries or fatalities. These trucks are substantially larger and weigh much more than traditional passenger vehicles on the roadway, so any impact with a larger commercial truck is more likely to lead to disastrous results. Truck drivers and trucking companies could be held responsible if their negligent actions lead to a roadway death.
From 2019 to 2020, motorcycle fatalities in California increased nearly 10%, from 491 to 539. Just like other types of vehicle accidents, motorcyclists are at risk of actions by negligent and careless drivers. Due to the nature of operating a motorcycle, motorcyclists face even more risks than those inside traditional passenger vehicles. A motorcyclist does not have the protection of a heavy metal frame, seatbelts, and airbags.
Accidents involving buses in Los Angeles and the surrounding area can lead to significant injuries and fatalities. This includes bus passengers as well as other parties involved in accidents, such as drivers and passengers and other vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists, etc.
Pedestrian and bicycle accidents
Bicyclists and pedestrians are considered vulnerable roadway users in Los Angeles. Even though this city has taken steps to eliminate pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities, that goal has simply not been met. The negligent and careless actions of other drivers on the roadway are a common cause of pedestrian and bicyclist deaths, and these other parties should be held accountable.
Premises liability incidents
Property owners owe a duty to anyone who has a right to be on their premises. This includes private homeowners who invite guests onto their property as well as business owners and government property operators. If a property owner or operator fails to take the steps necessary to inspect and maintain their premises, and if they do not remedy known hazards on their property, individuals can sustain injuries. If these injuries lead to a fatality, the property owner could face a wrongful death claim.
Defective product incidents
Manufacturers, suppliers, and retailers all have a duty to ensure that the products they release to the public are safe for use and consumption. However, if a product becomes defective, whether due to a design flaw, manufacturing defect, or advertising error, individuals can sustain severe injuries. If a person loses their life as a result of a defective product, then the companies should be held liable for their actions.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in California?
Examining California’s wrongful death law, we can see that only certain individuals are allowed to file wrongful death claims in civil court. This includes the following individuals (or their personal representatives):
· Surviving spouse of the deceased
· Domestic partners of the deceased
· Children of the deceased
· Grandchildren of the deceased, but only if the deceased individual’s children are also deceased
· Other minor children, including stepchildren, who were dependent on the deceased for at least half of their financial support
· Any other party that would be entitled to the deceased apostrophe as property through California intestate succession
Compensation Available for a Los Angeles Wrongful Death Claim
There may be various types of compensation available to family members and the estate of the deceased if a wrongful death claim in Los Angeles is successful. These damages are intended to provide compensation to the heirs for the value of the support they would likely have received if the deceased survived.
Compensation for wrongful death claim will either be paid out as a lump sum (which means all at once) or as a part of a structured settlement with payments being made monthly or annually overtime period. There is a range of economic and non-economic damages available in these circumstances. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:
· Economic damages. We can also refer to this as “special damages,” and these refer to the various types of compensation that are relatively calculable after a wrongful death occurs. These are calculable expenses because families and attorneys can gather bills or receipts to otherwise document the loss.
Some of the most common economic damages awarded for a Los Angeles wrongful death claim include:
o Funeral and burial expenses
o The reasonable value of any household service is the deceased would have provided
o The loss of any benefits or gifts the heirs would have received from the deceased
o The loss of income and other financial support the deceased would have provided during their lifetime
· Non-economic damages. We can also refer to this as “general damages,” and these refer to the types of losses that are not as easy to calculate in the aftermath of a wrongful death claim in LA. These are more immeasurable expenses because they revolve around the types of losses that are not calculable by bills or receipts. Some of the most common non-economic damages in these cases include:
o The loss of companionship, society, protection, affection, and moral support of the deceased
o Loss of consortium damages for a spouse, domestic partner, or other family members
o Coverage related to the deceased’s pain and suffering or disfigurement (as of 2022)
How Much is Your Wrongful Death Claim Worth?
There is no set amount of compensation paid to surviving family members or the estate if a wrongful death claim is successful in Los Angeles. Rather, the total amount of compensation will revolve around the facts and circumstances surrounding each particular case. Some of the factors that can affect compensation amounts include:
· The age of the deceased at the time they passed
· The education level of the deceased
· The type of job the deceased was employed in
Calculating economic damages involves gathering those bills and receipts that we discussed above and adding them up. However, calculating non-economic losses can be more challenging, and this may involve gaining assistance from economic and financial experts.
Because non-economic losses are more immeasurable than economic damages, though just as important, an attorney could use a “multiplier method” to calculate these losses. Using this method, an attorney will add up all of the economic damages and then multiply that total by a certain number (usually a number ranging from 1.5 to 5) to reach the non-economic total. For example, if the total economic losses caused by the wrongful death reach $200,000, an attorney could use a multiplier of “three” to reach a non-economic total of $600,000. Overall, an attorney would ask for $800,000 in compensation on behalf of their client.
Who Can be Held Liable for a Los Angeles Wrongful Death?
There may be various parties who can be held liable in the aftermath of a wrongful death. Ultimately, the at-fault party will depend on the type of circumstance that led to the death. For example, for a car accident claim, an at-fault driver will ultimately be responsible for the incident, though compensation may come through their insurance carrier.
If a wrongful death occurs as a result of a premises liability incident, there could be various liable parties, and there will likely need to be an extensive investigation into the incident. The property owner could be held liable, but it is not uncommon for other individuals to lease a property from a property owner, and these other parties could ultimately be liable if they had control over the premises.
Determining liability can be challenging, and this is where an investigation will take place. An attorney will thoroughly examine the situation to uncover any and all liable parties who could face claims for the wrongful death.
What is a Survival Action in California?
Individuals involved in wrongful death claims may also hear the term “survival action.” A survival action in California is another type of civil claim that does bear similarities to wrongful death claims. In general, wrongful death claims and survival actions arise in the same way. Often, both wrongful death and survival action civil court claims are filed together.
A wrongful death lawsuit is designed to compensate a deceased person’s surviving family members for the losses they sustained as a result of the death. However, a survival action allows the heirs to file a lawsuit on behalf of the deceased individual’s estate.
Survival actions in Los Angeles and throughout California can provide compensation to a deceased individual’s estate for two types of losses:
1. Claims unrelated to the actual death but that the deceased had the right to file a claim for damages as of the date of their death.
2. Claims related to the injury that caused the death, if the individual survived those injuries for some period of time after they occurred (no matter how short the period of time was).
Survival action claims are relatively complicated, and it is crucial to work with a skilled wrongful death attorney who can help you understand the process moving forward. Another major difference between wrongful death claims and survival actions is that a survival action can include awards for punitive damages.
Time Limit to File Your Los Angeles Wrongful Death Lawsuit
In the state of California, the time limit for filing both a wrongful death claim and a survival action in civil court is two years from the date of death. If the plaintiffs (surviving family members) fail to file a lawsuit within this two-year timeframe, they will likely lose the ability to recover any compensation at all.
There is a caveat to this for survival actions. For these claims, the estate of the deceased has two years to file their lawsuit from the later of (1) the date of the injury that caused the death or (2) six months after the death occurs.
There are various reasons why the statute of limitations may be paused or tolled. We strongly encourage you to reach out to a skilled wrongful death attorney in Los Angeles who can help you determine the correct timeframes for filing your claim. Additionally, if there are any insurance carriers involved in the case, they will also have their own deadlines that are far shorter than the statute of limitations that you need to be aware of.
The Four Elements of Negligence and a Wrongful Death Claim
As with other personal injury claims, there are various elements that must be in place in order for a wrongful death claim to be successful in court. Without the presence of the following four elements, it will be nearly impossible for surviving family members or the estate of the deceased to recover any compensation.
1. Duty. The first step in putting together a successful wrongful death claim in court is establishing that there was a duty of care owed to the deceased by the defendant (the person alleged to have caused the death). There will be no way to cover all of the possible ways a duty of care can be established for a wrongful death claim because this is entirely dependent on the type of claim. For example, every driver on Los Angeles roadways there was a duty of care to others around them. This includes operating a vehicle safely and within the confines of the law. Property owners also owe a duty of care to any person who comes onto their premises legally. This duty extends to ensuring the premises are safe and free from known hazards.
2. Breach. After establishing that there was indeed a duty of care between the defendant and the deceased, it will need to be shown that the defendant somehow breached the duty of care. This breach can occur in a wide variety of ways, again depending on the type of claim before the court. A driver can breach their duty of care in a number of ways, including distracted driving, impaired driving, speeding, failing to yield the right of way, and more. Property owners can breach their care by allowing unsafe conditions on their property even after they know about them and know that they could cause harm to patrons.
3. Causation. After establishing that a breach of duty occurred between the defendant and the deceased, it must be shown that the breach of duty is what actually caused the death. For example, it is not enough to show that a person was impaired while driving. It must be shown that their impairment led to the exact cause of the accident and the fatality. If a property owner has an unsafe condition on the premises, it will need to be established in court that this unsafe condition led to the injuries that caused the death.
4. Damages. The last element in a successful wrongful death claim is establishing that the family members and the estate suffered some sort of monetary loss as a result of the death. This can include funeral and burial expenses, pain and suffering damages, loss of future earnings, loss of an inheritance, and more.
Call a Los Angeles Wrongful Death Lawyer Today
If you have lost a loved one due to the negligent, intentional, or careless actions of another individual or entity in the Los Angeles area, we need to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. At ABDI & Associates, we will not back down from aggressive insurance carriers and at fault parties to ensure that you receive closure and compensation. We know what it takes to investigate these claims in order to determine liability. We will work with trusted financial and economic experts to ensure that we properly calculate your total expected losses. When you need a Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer, you can contact us for a free consultation by filling out the contact form at the bottom of this page, or you can call us at (888) 772-2529.