San Diego Wrongful Death Lawyers

Wrongful Death Lawyers San Diego

When a person is killed because of the negligence of another party, whether a business or private individual, their survivors, family members and loved ones may be entitled to seek financial damages from the responsible party.

Such cases, known as wrongful death claims, have several aspects that make them unique from other types of lawsuits, and if you’ve recently experienced the loss of a loved one because of the actions of another person or a company, you should be well-acquainted with your rights.

Wrongful Death Claims

In every state in the U.S., laws make it possible for the survivors of an individual who died because of the actions or inactions of another party to bring a lawsuit seeking damages. Wrongful death claims can spring from a variety of incidents, from auto accidents to medical malpractice to faulty products, and they can be brought against individuals, companies and, in some cases, government bodies.

Here’s a look at some of the most common scenarios for family members and loved ones to file wrongful death lawsuits against individuals or businesses:

  • A fatal car accident caused by reckless driving or negligence
  • A crash resulting from defective auto parts, such as faulty brakes or tires
  • Fatal injuries sustained after using a defective or dangerous product, including faulty medical devices or dangerous medications
  • Negligent or substandard care from a healthcare provider
  • Suffocation, choking or injury caused by poorly designed or ineffectively manufactured children’s toys
  • Being struck by a heavy object falling from a store shelf
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals or substances or other environmental hazards
  • Construction site accidents caused by dangerous machinery or inadequate safety gear
  • Falls from great heights


While each case is unique and state laws vary, in general, the possible parties who could bring lawsuits in wrongful death cases include immediate family members (spouses, children and parents), domestic partners, distant family members and others who will suffer financially after the person’s death.

Possible compensation can include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Funeral expenses
  • Lost future income
  • Compensation for loss of companionship
  • Punitive damages
  • Compensation for pain and suffering

In most states, juries and judges have wide latitude in awarding punitive damages, though certain limitations do exist, so it’s important to consult with a qualified local attorney in your area.

California Statute of Limitations

In every state, family members and survivors of those killed because of the actions or inactions of another party have a limited amount of time in which they can bring a lawsuit. In California, the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is two years for claims against businesses and individuals and six months in claims made against government entities. Some exceptions to exist even to this rule, though; for instance, some cases involving deaths of children have been successfully waged after the two-year limit.

Two years may seem like a brief period, but California is in good company, as about half the states have set a 24-month statute of limitations for wrongful death claims. Statutes of limitation range from just one year in three states (Kentucky, Louisiana and Tennessee) to six years in Maine.

Contact a San Diego Wrongful Death Attorney

For anybody who has ever experienced the death of a loved one, the feelings of grief can be overwhelming. And for those whose loved ones were killed because of the action or inaction of another person or a business, it’s very common and understandable for grief to turn into anger.

So while there’s no doubt that no dollar figure exists that can make up for the loss of a loved one, in some cases, a wrongful death lawsuit can attempt to bring you and your family justice while ensuring you are compensated as much as possible for your family’s financial needs.

An experienced and compassionate attorney can evaluate your case and help you determine the best course of action; if you have recently lost a loved one because of the actions of another party, please contact The Law Offices of Melinda J. Helbock, A.P.C., for a free consultation.