Walnut Creek Wrongful Death Attorney

Wrongful death is a tragedy that no family should suffer. Unfortunately, the negligent and wrongful acts of others take lives every day. If your family recently lost a beloved member in an accident in Walnut Creek, California, the attorneys at Milanfar Law Firm, PC can help. Our experienced trial lawyers can guide you through the legal process while making sure that your family has everything it needs during this difficult time. Discuss how we can help during a free case evaluation.

Why Choose Us at Milanfar Law Firm?

  • At Milanfar Law Firm, PC, we offer compassionate assistance to family members and estates who have lost a loved one. You can count on us to listen to your story.
  • Our team has a strong track record of success with handling complex personal injury and wrongful death claims throughout California, and we want to help your family get through this.
  • We have no problem handling every aspect of your case. This includes negotiating with other parties and even fully preparing and taking your case to trial.

What Is Wrongful Death?

The definition of wrongful death in California is the loss of life as a result of the legal fault of another person or entity. Legal fault can be intentional torts (e.g., violent crimes), negligence, or medical malpractice. Essentially, if someone else caused your loved one’s death through intent to harm, maliciousness, a breach of duty, or carelessness, your family has grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party.

Common Causes of Wrongful Death in Walnut Creek

Wrongful death claims can arise in a number of ways in and around the Walnut Creek area. At Milanfar Law Firm, PC, we have experience helping families and estates of individuals who have lost their lives due to:

  • Car accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Commercial trucking accidents
  • Defective product incidents
  • Nursing home neglect or abuse
  • Dog bite incidents
  • Construction accidents
  • Bicycle and pedestrian accidents
  • Property owner negligence incidents

This is not a complete list of how wrongful death claims arise in this area. If you have any questions about your particular situation, please reach out to a member of our team for a free consultation today.

How Do Wrongful Death Claims Work in California?

Each state has unique wrongful death laws. It is important to understand the laws that apply to your case in California so that you follow them and ensure a valid claim. Otherwise, you may make a mistake that hurts your family’s chances of holding someone accountable for wrongful death. Three of the most important wrongful death laws to know are:

  1. Who can file a wrongful death claim? In California, the only people who are legally allowed to file a wrongful death claim are the deceased person’s surviving spouse, domestic partner, children, and grandchildren. If these parties do not exist, anyone entitled to the decedent’s property through the rules of intestate succession can file.
  2. Who is eligible for financial compensation? Any financial compensation collected in a wrongful death lawsuit will be allotted to surviving family members according to the decedent’s will or state law. Typically, those eligible for a settlement or judgment award are a surviving spouse, child, grandchild, or parent.
  3. What is the deadline for a wrongful death lawsuit? California has a strict filing deadline on all wrongful death cases. This law, known as a statute of limitations, gives claimants a maximum of two years from the date of the victim’s death to bring a cause of action. With limited exceptions, if you don’t file by the deadline, the courts will refuse to hear your case.

An attorney from Milanfar Law Firm, PC can walk you through these laws and help you navigate them in pursuit of maximum financial compensation. Our lawyers will put you first in every phase of the legal process, keeping your family informed about the status of your case and doing what we can to optimize your odds of success.

Who Can File a California Wrongful Death Claim?

In many states, the only person who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in court is the personal representative (or executor) of the deceased person’s estate. However, California’s wrongful death laws give various individuals the right to file a wrongful death claim in civil court, including:

A surviving spouse, domestic partner, or children

The first priority for those able to file a lawsuit falls to:

  • A surviving spouse or domestic partner of the deceased
  • The surviving children of the deceased
  • Any children of a deceased child of the decedent (grandchildren & step-grandchildren, if their parent or guardian is also deceased)

Those who could inherit from the decedent

in the event none of those previously mentioned individuals are alive to file the claim, the wrongful death lawsuit can be brought by any person who may have been entitled to property of the decedent through typical intestate succession laws (Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 377.60 (2023). This includes any person who is allowed to inherit property, if the decedent died with no will. This can include the decedent’s siblings and parents.

Those who were financially dependent on the decedent

Lastly, various individuals are allowed to file a wrongful death civil lawsuit if they can show that they were financially dependent on the decedent at the time of death. This can include:

  • A putative spouse, which is a person who, in good faith, mistakenly believed that they were in a lawful marriage with the decedent
  • Children the decedent had with the putative spouse
  • Stepchildren of the decedent
  • The parents of the decedent
  • Legal guardians of the decedent

What Compensation Is Available in a Wrongful Death Case?

Collecting financial compensation is only one side of a wrongful death case. Families bring these lawsuits for many reasons, including a desire to attain justice by holding wrongdoers accountable. That being said, our attorneys recognize how important a fair settlement can be for a grieving family. You are already going through enough without also dealing with financial stress. We will fight for maximum financial compensation for all of your losses, including funeral and burial costs, any financial support the victim would have contributed, lost household services, and loss of consortium.

California Statutes of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims

Every state, including California, places time limits on how long individuals have to file wrongful death claims in civil court. In this state, the law dictates that wrongful death claims should be filed within two years from the date of the deceased’s death (Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 335.1 (2023). If the eligible individuals fail to file a wrongful death lawsuit within this specific time frame, they could lose the ability to recover any compensation for their losses. However, there are several factors that could influence the statute of limitations, and we encourage you to speak to an attorney as promptly as possible to ensure your claim is filed within the appropriate time constraints.

Speak to a Compassionate Wrongful Death Lawyer in Walnut Creek Today

Your family matters to us as victims of wrongful death. We empathize with how devastating an unexpected loss is – especially when your family is left with questions about the cause of death and who is responsible. Our attorneys at Milanfar Law Firm, PC are dedicated to bringing justice and peace of mind to our clients. Find out if you have grounds for a wrongful death case in Walnut Creek, California today. Request a free consultation at (925) 433-6003.