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Placerville Wrongful Death Lawyer


It could be a trying, difficult time for a family to cope with losing a loved one and more so if a wrongful death was the cause. Besides the shock and dismay of losing a family member suddenly, they realize that the person's income will no longer be forthcoming. The family may not be financially prepared to pay the high cost of funeral and burial expenses.

It is challenging for families to deal with when they are in the beginning stages of grief. I am here for you in these trying times. When negligence by an at-fault driver or other entity caused your loved one’s demise, the family can recover compensation by filing a wrongful death claim. Although this will not lessen your grief, it punishes the at-fault party and helps relieve the financial stress associated with your loved one’s passing.

How to Help When A Family Is Grieving

Losing a loved one is always a tragedy but much worse when a wrongful death was the cause. It propels family members not only into deep feelings of grief but disbelief on how the accident could have happened and feeling that if they had been there, maybe it would never have occurred. There are some ways in which other family members, coworkers, and friends can be supportive. These include:

  • Let the family know you are there for them by calling, visiting, or sending a sympathy card or flowers if you cannot be there in person.
  • Grieving people often forget to eat or have no appetite. Bring over food, send an order from a restaurant, or offer to cook. The family will appreciate your effort.
  • Run errands and offer to drive them. Offer to take children to school or pick them up, drive a family member to the grocery store, and do other errands of this type.
  • Help around the home. Cutting the grass without being asked, offering to babysit, servicing the family car, and other things that need to be done are helpful and appreciated.
  • Offer to go along when funeral and burial arrangements are being made. This can be one of the most difficult times a grieving person may face. Having someone else along is comforting.
  • Don’t neglect the family after the funeral and burial. People can grieve for a long time. Calling and visiting and continued offers of help are appreciated.
What Are the Different Types of Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death results from negligence or misconduct. The loss of a family member can occur in several different ways. All of them fall under personal injury law. Some of the most common causes of wrongful death are:

  • Motor vehicle accidents can be caused by a drunk or drugged driver, distraction, traffic infraction, or other reasons.
  • Truck crashes are especially dangerous because of the size and weight of the vehicle. Underride/override accidents, jackknifing, and rollovers cause many fatalities.
  • Farm machinery fatalities can be caused by rollovers or moving equipment on a public road and for many other reasons.
  • Pedestrian collisions often happen when a motorist makes an illegal turn, is speeding or is distracted while driving.
  • Motorcycle accident fatalities are often caused by motorists who turn in front of them or speed through a traffic light.
  • Amusement park deaths occur due to poor maintenance, tainted food, safety hazards, and other problems.
  • Bicycle or scooter accidents are common and often result in fatalities because of their lack of personal protection.
  • Aviation mishaps can occur due to a lack of maintenance or inadequate aviator training and experience.  
  • Dog bites cause many fatalities every year and occur because the animal was not properly restrained or controlled.
  • Defective products such as furniture that tips over, dangerous automobile parts, and others can contribute to an untimely death.
  • Medical malpractice may include wrong diagnosis, pharmaceutical error, surgical mistake, wrong treatment, and others.
  • Workplace accidents often involve fatal falls but can also occur from falling objects, crush injuries, and one of the many other hazards found in the workplace.
  • Intentional acts such as murder are types of wrongful deaths.
Who Can File a Claim for Wrongful Death?

Under the California Code of Civil Procedure Article 6, the following parties can file a claim for wrongful death if their family member died due to negligence by another party or entity. These include:

  • Spouses and domestic partners
  • Children of the deceased person
  • Adopted children of the decedent
  • Stepchildren who are supported at least 50 percent by the decedent
  • A putative spouse who is someone who believes they were married but actually weren’t
  • Minors who have resided in the household for a minimum of 180 days if they were supported at least 50 percent by the deceased person
What Expenses Can Be Recovered by the Family?

Following a death in the family, especially if the deceased was a wage earner, they may face economic stress. Although filing a wrongful death lawsuit will not ease their pain or grief, it can provide financial comfort, enabling family members to move forward. Some of the areas that can be reimbursed through a wrongful death claim include:

  • The cost of funeral and burial expenses can be recovered.
  • Wages the decedent would have earned now and in the future, the number of years that person would have been employed is recoverable. Wages include any bonuses and the value of any perks that might have been awarded.
  • Loss of inheritance is the amount of money the decedent would have saved over the years to provide for family members and beneficiaries.
  • Household services such as mowing the lawn, paying bills, childcare, and other areas are recoverable.
  • The loss of parental duties is recoverable, such as guidance, training, and care as a parent.
  • The loss of consortium between spouses is recoverable and the loss of companionship, love, support, and affection.
  • Medical expenses can be recovered if the decedent lived for a time before dying. Survival actions include the pain and suffering the individual suffered as well as their lost earnings. An attorney better explains this action to understand whether a wrongful death claim or survival action might result in the family's best outcome.
  • Punitive damages are awarded above the economic and noneconomic losses. These types of damages are rarely awarded and generally as a result of an intentional act. Deaths caused by a drunk driver can fall into this category.

Watch the following video about wrongful death claims:

Gathering Evidence to Support Your Claim

At our law office, we work hard to investigate the accident that claimed your loved one. Our investigators are quickly sent to the accident site to gather evidence to support your claim, which begins with reviewing the police report for mistakes and talking to the witnesses.

Surveillance cameras from lights and nearby businesses are also helpful because they may have caught the accident in progress. Poor road maintenance can cause accidents, including potholes, poorly marked lanes, and defective traffic signals. The government entity charged with maintenance can be held responsible in cases such as these. Once all of the evidence has been gathered, it is turned over to our legal team to build a robust case to support our client’s claim. It is useful in dealing with the client with the insurance company or preparing a court case if negotiations are unsuccessful.

Placerville Wrongful Death Lawyer

If you lost a member of your family due to wrongful death, you might be eligible for compensation, and we can help. Call our seasoned Placerville wrongful death attorneys at (530) 392-9400 or (800) 404-5400 for our free and friendly advice.

We belong to the Million Dollar Forum and the National Association of Distinguished Counsel.

Links to our verdicts and settlements in the past and reviews by clients are at the following:

Editor's Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 9.2.21]

Photo Attribution:

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Client Reviews
"Me and my wife; had a car accident. We were amazed how easy, professional, friendly attorney Ed Smith is along with his staff. Everybody is amazing. Thank you so much, we are very impressed!" Alex & Dinah M.
"Ed Smith and his office team took on a difficult personal injury case on my behalf and for the passenger in my car. Ed is a top- notch attorney. His staff couldn't have been more helpful and kind. No need to look elsewhere. I give Ed Smith my highest recommendation." Beverly
"Ed and Robert have been taking great care of my husband and I for the past 5+ years. They are always there when you have a problem and a quick resolution! Even when the issues have nothing to do with them. They are willing to help ease the pain off your shoulders. They are as good as it gets! Thank you again for everything." Annie T.
"Very professional. Great team, staff and service all around. Mr Smith was very honest, straight forward with his advice. He gives the word "attorney" an honest reputation. I will seek his council anytime, and would recommend him at the drop of a dime." Jeremy M.
"I would highly recommend Ed Smith to any friends or family in need of a personal injury attorney. Ed, and his staff, are very caring on top of being very experienced in this field. The staff always keeps you informed of the status of your case and they are always easy to reach by phone." Shannon D.
"Edward Smith law offices provide competent, thorough, and personable help for victims of personal injury. When you first meet the staff you know you contacted the right office. This law office treats clients like people. I recommend this office to anyone seeking representation regarding personal injury." David M.