CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: What We Are Doing to Protect Our Clients

Rancho Cordova Wrongful Death Lawyer


When a loved one’s life is cut short by the negligence of another, the law in California enables a representative of the decedent’s estate to pursue monetary restitution through a wrongful death claim. After the fatal incident, you may think it is inappropriate to contact a wrongful death attorney in Rancho Cordova because of what other people may think or say. Do not make this mistake. If you lost a loved one in a preventable accident, the filing of a wrongful death lawsuit is simply exercising your rights, under the law, to hold the reckless party responsible for their negligent actions in civil court.

How a Wrongful Death Claim Can Help

No amount of money can bring back a loved one. Nevertheless, taking legal action and pursuing a wrongful death claim can help ease the financial strain associated with an unexpected death, especially if the decedent was the primary breadwinner for their family. The types of damages that are typically awarded in wrongful death claims include:

  • Medical bills, funeral costs, and other expenses associated with a loved one’s death.
  • Future Earnings: Expected income that the decedent would have earned over the course of their lifetime can also be recovered as part of a wrongful death lawsuit.
  • Pain and Suffering of the Decedent: California courts consider the pain and suffering that the decedent experienced before their untimely death. This often arises in the context of an accident where the victim was severely injured, receives medical treatment (e.g., emergency care). Still, the severity of the injuries is simply too extensive, and the victim succumbs to the severity of their injuries.
  • Loss of Mentorship and Companionship: You can secure compensation for the loss of companionship previously provided to you by your loved one. This claim is typically made when the decedent is survived by a spouse.
Punitive Damages in Wrongful Death Cases in California

A form of damages that may be pursuable, in addition to the damages described above, are punitive damages. These are damages designed to effectively reprimand a defendant who engaged in outrageous conduct and let others know that such behavior is completely unacceptable.

California Civil Code Section 3294 governs the pursuit of punitive damages. It is important to understand that a plaintiff (i.e., the injured party) may only pursue punitive damages when it is shown that the defendant’s actions were particularly egregious or committed with malicious intent. Not only must this type of behavior exists, but you need to prove it with overwhelmingly convincing evidence (a.k.a. clear and convincing evidence). A way to think about this evidentiary standard is that you have to tip the proverbial scales of justice to your side by a wide margin (well over 50 percent). This is a much higher standard in the field of wrongful death law. The applicable evidentiary standard for most personal injury cases is just a tad over 50 percent (a.k.a. a preponderance of the evidence).

However, there are instances where the egregious conduct is so shocking that punitive damages are recoverable. A fatal car accident caused by a drunk driver is an example of where a Rancho Cordova wrongful death lawyer may seek punitive damages.

Benefits of Hiring a Rancho Cordova Wrongful Death Lawyer

A wrongful death lawyer plays a significant role in developing a persuasive case to convince a judge or jury to award you maximum compensation. They can help determine if you have a viable claim and make sure that no important deadlines for filing are missed. They deal with complex legal issues involving tort law, probate law, contract law, and insurance law. They ensure that the claim is moving forward so you can focus on helping yourself and your family work through the emotional loss and get through the grieving process.

Retaining the services of an attorney also makes sense because most wrongful death attorneys operate on a contingency fee basis. This means that you do not have to pay some outrageous hourly rate or retainer fee to access an experienced attorney. Your Rancho Cordova wrongful death attorney will only get paid when they obtain a financial recovery for you and your family.

Time is of the Essence to Take Legal Action 

The sooner you take action and speak to an attorney to get the wrongful death claims process started, the better. This is because the California legislature enacted a statute of limitations on wrongful death claims. In California, a family member has two years from the date of the death to file a wrongful death claim in court (or six months for a claim against a government entity). If you fail to take action in that time period, your case will likely be barred from going forward. Do not make this mistake.

Losing a loved one is gut-wrenching and creates a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety for you and your family. You need assistance while you focus on grieving and picking up the pieces. An experienced Rancho Cordova wrongful death attorney can help during this time.

Watch the following video to learn more about a wrongful death claim.

Rancho Cordova, CA Wrongful Death Lawyer

Retaining an attorney in Rancho Cordova, CA, can make the wrongful death claims process easier for you and your family. At, our lawyers are here to help. Call our law firm at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly legal advice on how to bring your case today.

Our Rancho Cordova, CA, wrongful death attorneys have decades of experience representing families in their time of need to obtain the compensation they deserve for their financial and intangible losses.

Our wrongful death law firm takes cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that there are no upfront fees for you to pay. Our legal team will only get paid upon the successful conclusion of your wrongful death case.

We are members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the National Association of Distinguished Counsel.

See our client reviews on AvvoGoogle, and Yelp and our past cases on our Verdicts and Settlements page.

Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 7.20.21]

Photo by Anna-Louise from Pexels

:sb bw [cs 1025]

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.