Santa Barbara Wrongful Death Lawyers Help Grieving Families
Winning compensation, justice and closure for families
At Patterson Law, we understand the devastation of losing a loved one. When that loss is caused by the negligent actions of someone else, it can be particularly painful. Often clients feel they cannot begin to heal until negligent parties responsible for the loss have been held accountable. We cannot bring your loved one back, but we may be able to help you find justice and ensure that your pain is not compounded by financial distress. Santa Barbara wrongful death lawyer Robert Patterson has nearly 35 years of litigation experience, fighting and winning for clients.
Wrongful death cases can be complex, but at Patterson Law, we have the investigative experience and trial skills to build and prosecute the strongest case possible.
Common causes of wrongful death litigation
Wrongful death suits may be filed for an accident or incident that that would have supported a personal injury claim had the victim survived, including:
- Medical malpractice — A leading cause of wrongful death is negligent or substandard care by doctors, hospitals, and nursing homes.
- Motor vehicle accidents — Car and trucking accidents that kill drivers, passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians make up a large percentage of wrongful death cases.
- Public transportation accidents — Buses and trains are often involved in accidents resulting in death to passengers or bystanders.
- Premises liability — Landlords can be liable for hidden hazards that cause fatal slip and fall accidents
- Product liability — Defective products, such as dangerous drugs, tainted food and malfunctioning machinery, are responsible for thousands of consumer deaths every year.
- Homicides — Deliberate or reckless killings are grounds for lawsuits by the victims’ survivors.
If your loved one’s death was caused by another person’s actions or negligence, our experienced legal team is fully equipped to represent your interests. We are adept at investigations, negotiations with insurance companies and, whenever necessary, litigation in state or federal court.
Who can file a wrongful death claim in California?
California law allows only people with specific relationships to the deceased to file wrongful death lawsuits. Listed in descending order of priority for receiving compensation, they include the decedent’s:
- Surviving spouse
- Dependent stepchildren
- Dependent minors who had been living with the victim for at least six months
- Dependent parents
If none of the above relatives survive, then the following people may make a claim (in descending order of priority):
- Nieces and nephews
- Children of a deceased spouse
- Other next of kin
If you have lost a loved one due to negligence, recklessness or a deliberate criminal act, you have two years from the date of death to file a lawsuit. Although there are exceptions that allow for an extension of time, if you miss that deadline, you could lose your right forever.
What types of wrongful death compensation are recoverable in California?
Our wrongful death attorney in Santa Barbara has a strong record of winning compensation for eligible claimants. Recoverable economic damages include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of financial support the decedent would have contributed to the plaintiff
- Loss of gifts or benefits the plaintiff expected to receive from decedent
- The reasonable value of any household services the decedent would have provided
Plaintiffs can also recover these noneconomic damages:
- Loss of the love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society and moral support provided by decedent
- Loss of enjoyment of sexual relations (as between spouses)
- Loss of decedent’s training and guidance
Damages are often unique to the individual plaintiff. That’s one reason it’s important to retain an attorney who is committed to delivering personalized attention to your wrongful death claim.
Contact an experienced wrongful death attorney in Santa Barbara
Patterson Law combines the experience of a large firm with the personal attention of a small firm. We primarily serve Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties, though we work with clients from Los Angeles and San Francisco as well. Initial consultations are free. Call us at 888-479-4589 or contact us online.