couple grieving after wrongful death 

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Wrongful Death Lawsuit infographic by Bates Law in San Diego

Wrongful Death Attorney San Diego
Bates Law Mission Valley

The loss of a loved one is devastating under normal circumstances. When the death is unexpected and due to the negligent or unintentional actions of another person or entity, the emotional pain increases immensely. The legal term “wrongful death” encompasses all types of fatal incidents, from motorcycle accidents to medical malpractice cases. While no amount of compensation can fill the void in your life following the sudden loss of a parent, spouse, or child, a wrongful death lawsuit can ease the financial burden as you begin to pick up the pieces.  


Wrongful Death Lawsuits in California

When someone’s negligent or malicious actions result in the death of another person, surviving family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit to receive compensation for their loss. Under California law, the deceased individual’s spouse, domestic partner, and children are eligible to pursue a wrongful death claim for the following damages:

  • Medical expenses for the care of the deceased right before his or her death

  • Funeral and burial expenses

  • Income the deceased reasonably would have earned had he or she lived

  • Loss of financial support for surviving family members

  • Loss of love, guidance, moral support, attention, and affection for surviving family members

Other family members, including the deceased’s “putative spouse” and his or her children, stepchildren, and parents can also file a wrongful death lawsuit in California as long as they can prove they were financially dependent on the deceased individual. Additionally, parents of minors can file a wrongful death claim if their child is killed.


When to File a Wrongful Death Claim

Wrongful death lawsuits can be brought against any person, company, or agency that is liable for a person’s death. Under California’s “one action rule,” there cannot be more than one lawsuit filed against the responsible party; all claimants must join in one lawsuit. Examples of individuals and entities that can be sued in a wrongful death lawsuit include:

  • The driver at fault in a car accident

  • The owner of a dog that fatally bites a person

  • The manufacturer of a fatally dangerous product

  • A negligent or malicious healthcare provider

  • The owner or designer of a faulty roadway

Below are just a few of Bates Law's many personal injury cases.


This is notable because the benefit was placed into an Annuity for the Minor Children so that the guaranteed payout over time will be higher than the payments would be if the Workers' Compensation carrier continued to administer the benefits.

All case settlements results