Hundreds of Millions Recoveredin Verdicts & Settlements
Steven M. Sweat, Personal Injury Lawyers, APC

The First Steps for a California Wrongful Death Claim

One of the most unfortunate situations I deal with as a California personal injury attorney is the event where the negligence of an individual or business results in the wrongful death of one or more individual claimants. There are various things that a competent lawyer does at the outset of these types of claims which I would summarize as follows:

  • First it must be determined who the proper parties are who are entitled to assert a claim. California Code of Civil Procedure section 377.60 states that the proper persons who may bring claims include the surviving spouse, child, and/or grandchildren (if the child of the decedent is deceased). In some other cases, they may also include dependents who (although not technically children, lived with the decedent for at least 180 days prior to the death and were financially dependent upon the decedent).
  • The next thing to determine is what the so called “economic” or “out of pocket” damages may be. These can include the most obvious expenses such as the cost of medical and funeral expenses but, also include the value of lost earnings that the decedent was contributing to the household expenses of the survivors. Oftentimes, this requires the attorney to retain the services of an accountant and/or economist to determine the estimated earnings and extrapolate this over the expected normal lifespan of the deceased person.
  • Finally, a quality wrongful death lawyer will take the time to get to know more about the personal relationship that the decedent had with the individual claimants. The law states that the victims who survive the death of a loved one should be able to recover the damages associated with their loss of companionship and love associated with that person. Oftentimes, evidence is gathered in the form of family photographs, videos, and other items that memorialize these damages.
Client Reviews
★★★★★
I have known Steven for some time now and when his services were required he jumped in and took control of my cases. I had two and they were handled with the utmost professionalism and courtesy. He went the extra mile regardless of the bumps in the road. I can not see me using any other attorney and I would recommend him to any of my family and friends.
★★★★★
Steven was vital during our most trying time. He was referred by a friend after an accident that involved a family member. While he was critical and lying in the hospital, Steven was kind, patient and knowledgeable about what we were going through. Following our loss, Steven became a tough and aggressive negotiator and made sure that we receive a huge compensation. I would refer Steven in fact, this happened 2 years ago and I still speak highly of his service. Cheryl S.
★★★★★
Mr. Sweat is a pitbull in the courtroom as well as settlement negotiations - You can't have a better equipped attorney in your corner! It is a pleasure working as colleagues together on numerous cases. He can get the job done. Jonathan K.
★★★★★
Because of Steven Sweat, my medical support was taken care of. Plus, I had more money to spare for my other bills. Steven is not only an excellent personal injury lawyer, providing the best legal advice, but also a professional lawyer who goes beyond his call of duty just to help his clients! He stood up for me and helped me get through the process. I would definitely recommend. I couldn't think of any better lawyer than him. MiraJane C.
★★★★★
I must tell anyone, if you need a great attorney, Steve sweat is the guy! I had an awful car accident and had no idea where to turn. He had so much to deal with because my accident was a 4 car pile up. Not to mention all the other cars were behind me and they were not wanting to settle in any way! He never stopped working for me and had my best interest at heart! Audra W.