Wrongful Death

Personal Injury Attorneys Helping Sacramento Families

After the unexpected death of a loved one, you may feel devastating grief. In addition to the intangible pain of this loss, you may also shoulder economic burdens, such as the loss of a second income. Families who have lost loved ones in fatal accidents may be able to bring a lawsuit with the assistance of an injury attorney to seek compensation for both economic and noneconomic losses. Sacramento wrongful death lawyer Travis G. Black is a former insurance fraud specialist for several large insurers. Based in Folsom, he can use his knowledge of how the insurance industry works to advocate for you.

Bringing a Wrongful Death Claim After a Fatal Accident

A wrongful death happens if someone dies due to the wrongful act or negligence of someone else. For example, if a truck driver ran a red light and hit your spouse's car, killing your spouse, this is likely negligence that would give rise to a wrongful death claim. Similarly, if your mother went on vacation and stepped out onto a defective hotel balcony that the hotel knew was damaged but failed to repair, and she fell to her death, this is likely to be considered negligent. A wrongful death lawsuit may also be brought against someone who purposely assaults someone else, causing the victim’s death.

You may bring a wrongful death lawsuit in civil court even if criminal charges have been brought. A civil lawsuit is separate from a criminal case for homicide, manslaughter, or murder, and the standard of proof is lower in civil cases. This means that even if someone was acquitted of criminal charges because the evidentiary standard was "beyond a reasonable doubt," he or she may still be held liable in civil court for damages.

Wrongful death claims are brought to court either by the personal representative of the decedent's estate or by the decedent’s survivors. The purpose of the action is to recover money damages. Certain people are considered survivors who are permitted to file a wrongful death case. Under California Code of Civil Procedure section 337.60 and related laws, these people are a spouse, domestic partner, surviving children, or anyone who would be entitled to the property of the decedent through the laws of intestacy, such as the decedent's parents or siblings, and anyone who can show financial dependence on the decedent.

Both the estate and family members may recover losses. Survivors often can recover compensation for the loss of love and affection and guidance, the loss of anticipated financial support, and the value of household services that were performed by the decedent. Usually, the estate can recover compensation for funeral and burial expenses, medical expenses, and lost income (both past and future). In cases of egregious misconduct, such as drunk driving or a corporation's concealment of a dangerous side effect of a drug, punitive damages may also be available.

Contact a Compassionate Wrongful Death Lawyer in Sacramento

Based in Folsom, attorney Travis G. Black worked for the insurance industry before establishing his own firm. He now uses his insights into this industry in service of his clients. Our Sacramento wrongful death attorneys offer perceptive legal counsel and work hard for injured people. Contact us online or call Travis G. Black & Associates at 916-962-2896 to schedule a free consultation with a car accident attorney or seek representation in another personal injury claim.