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Glendale Wrongful Death Attorneys

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Providing Compassionate & Personalized Representation Since 1998

Nothing is more difficult than losing a loved one unexpectedly. Sadly, countless individuals are killed every year as a result of carelessness, recklessness, and negligence. At Aghabegian & Associates, PC, we are passionate about helping the surviving family members and loved ones of those wrongfully killed hold the liable parties accountable. We strive to not only help our clients secure the justice and recoveries they are owed but to also ensure that similar incidents don't occur again in the future.

If you believe your loved one's death could have and should have been prevented, our team is here to help. With over 40 years of combined experience, our Glendale personal injury attorneys can help you navigate the process from start to finish, providing answers to your questions and addressing any concerns you may have.

Speak to a member of our legal team today; call (818) 507-4311 or submit an online contact form for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Client Testimonial

“...They handled my case with such care and professionalism. I love how quickly they responded to all of my inquiries and never left me in the dark. I definitely recommend this law firm. Thank you guys for all the hard work. Also thank you for being there for me every step of the way for my case.”

- Christina M.

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What Is Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death refers to a death caused by a person’s negligence – and not the negligence of the deceased. It is considered wrongful as the death would not have happened if that person had not been negligent. From truck collisions to animal attacks to slip-and-falls, the only factor that matters is whether the death would have happened if all the parties were acting responsibly. If the answer is no, then the death should be considered wrongful.

A wrongful death is a tragedy, one that a family may have a difficult time recovering from, both emotionally and financially. Suddenly losing a loved one, especially one who provided income or household services such as childcare, can leave a family in a deep financial pit. That is why family members are able to file a wrongful death claim and recover compensation. However, just as with personal injury claims, there is a statute of limitations. For a wrongful death claim in California, you must file within two years of the date of the death, otherwise you will no longer be legally allowed to file a claim.

That is not the only limitation you may run into. On top of the statute of limitations, there are also limits on who can claim for wrongful death in the first place. A wrongful death claim is meant to provide financial support to the deceased’s family. Those who do not fall within the legal label of family will not be able to receive compensation or file a claim.

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Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in California?

As in other states, only certain individuals are permitted to bring a wrongful death claim in California. First and foremost, you can only bring a claim if your loved one's death was directly or indirectly caused by the negligent or wrongful actions of another person, company, or entity.

Secondly, you may bring a wrongful death claim in California if you are one of the following individuals:

  • The deceased’s spouse
  • The deceased’s domestic partner
  • The deceased’s child
  • Someone who is entitled to inherit the deceased’s estate (if no surviving spouse, domestic partner, or child/children exist)

Per the last point, you may be able to bring a wrongful death claim if the deceased was your child, sibling, or another relation so long as you can show that you are entitled to receive a portion of the deceased’s estate.

Additionally, you may file a wrongful death claim if you are the putative spouse, stepchild, or parent of the deceased and you were financially dependent on the deceased immediately prior to death.

Filing a wrongful death claim, like a personal injury claim, comes with a time limit. In California, you have up to two years to file a wrongful death claim against a negligent party and the timer starts on the date of your loved one’s passing.

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What Damages May Be Available in a Wrongful Death Case?

While no amount of financial compensation can ever make up for the loss you have suffered, wrongful death claims allow you to recover compensation for economic and non-economic damages related to the loss of your loved one. Filing a claim, even if it is the last thing you want to do, is important for the purpose of helping you and your family recover financially.

These damages may include:

  • Medical costs for treatment received prior to death
  • Funeral/burial expenses
  • Loss of financial support (if you were a dependent of the deceased)
  • Loss of expected financial support, income, inheritance, etc.
  • Loss of companionship and/or love
  • Pain, suffering, and emotional distress

In some cases, you may also be able to seek punitive damages. These are extraneous damages meant to punish the liable party for excessive negligence.

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Filing a Wrongful Death Claim and California Workers’ Compensation

If you have tragically lost a family member as a result of a work injury, then the one thing you do not want to worry about is your financial situation. However, as outlined above, there are several types of damages that can be recovered if your loved one passed away due to someone else’s negligence, and that money could be crucial to ensuring a stable future for yourself and anyone else who suffered due to your loved one’s passing.

Within the state of California, workers’ compensation does include provisions in the case of a wrongful death. This will include medical expenses related to the loved one’s death, funeral expenses, and a loss of income, but it does not include non-economical expenses like pain and suffering.

How much you can recover will depend on:

  • The amount of money the deceased earned
  • The number of dependents the deceased provided for
  • Whether the deceased was a total or partial dependent

Total dependents are family members who have no other source of income and are dependent on another individual for financial support, such as children or a spouse that makes less than $30,000 a year. Partial dependents are individuals who only receive a portion of their income from the deceased and would, in turn, receive a smaller amount than a total dependent in a wrongful death claim.

The advantage of filing a wrongful death claim through workers’ compensation is the fact that you do not have to prove negligence on the part of your loved one’s employer. This makes the process much easier, as you will not have to gather the same amount of evidence. However, this does mean you are waiving your right to file a wrongful death claim against the employer if they were negligent and you will not be able to recover non-economic damages.

The one scenario where you could file for both workers’ compensation and a wrongful death lawsuit is if your loved one died as a result of a third-party’s actions while they were at work. For example, if your loved one died in a car accident as a result of someone else’s actions and he or she was making a delivery for work, you could file a wrongful death against the negligent driver. However, because your loved one was technically at work, you could also file a workers’ compensation claim.

That being said, in most cases you will need to choose between filing a wrongful death claim and receiving workers’ compensation for your loved one’s death.

If you have lost a loved one due to the fault of another individual’s negligent actions or due to a work-related accident, you should discuss your case with a knowledgeable wrongful death attorney. We at Aghabegian & Associates, PC can review your case and determine the best course of action for you to take following a tragedy.

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How Can You Recover After a Tragedy?

No matter your particular situation, the Glendale wrongful death lawyers at Aghabegian & Associates, PC, can offer you the legal guidance and support you need. We leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of the justice you and your family deserve; we are determined and experienced attorneys who are prepared to aggressively advocate for you.

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Call our office at (818) 507-4311 for a free consultation with a member of our legal team. There are no upfront costs and no risks involved in contacting our firm.

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