Wrongful Death Attorneys
At the Law Office of Daniel J. O’Neill, our central goal is to make sure that the loss your family has experienced is fully and accurately presented.
Proving Your Loss in Wrongful Death Litigation
We work intensively with all of our personal injury clients, but in California wrongful death litigation, our experience, and ability to work closely and compassionately with the people we serve can make an especially important difference to the eventual outcome of your case.
For a free initial consultation, complete our online contact form to reach our office in San Luis Obispo.
How Daniel J O’Neil Can Help
Daniel O’Neill has helped families through the difficult challenges of serious and fatal accident litigation since 1980. Named Trial Lawyer of the Year three times by the Central Coast Trial Lawyers Association, he combines highly developed claim evaluation and courtroom skills with a wholehearted commitment to the best interests of his clients.
In wrongful death litigation, this combination can be especially powerful. Because an important element of your demand for damages will be the loss of the support and comfort that the victim provided to you and your family, we work closely with you to develop a specific and detailed understanding of just what that loss means to you in practical and emotional terms. Then we communicate that understanding to those who will decide what your compensation should be — first the insurance negotiators, and when necessary, a trial jury.
We won’t pretend that wrongful death litigation is easy. At the same time, we do everything possible to reduce the burdens of the lawsuit on you and your family while you’re going through a hard transition.
Get answers to frequently asked questions about wrongful death.
Types of Wrongful Death Claims
When someone you love is tragically killed, your life feels turned upside down. When that death was caused by someone else’s wrongful actions or negligence, the tragedy feels even more intense. In some instances, California law provides families with the right to seek compensation under wrongful death legislation. Here are some common instances where wrongful death cases are a valid option.
Vehicle and Bicycle Accidents
One of the more common types of accidents that can lead to wrongful death claims in California are those involving vehicles and bicycles. Any type of vehicle accident where a loved one is killed and someone else is at fault can fall into this category. This can include:
- Truck accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bus accidents
- Van accidents
- Boat crashes
- Air-borne vehicle crashes
If someone you love was killed in an accident involving a vehicle, you need to seek the help of an attorney right away to determine if you have a wrongful death case to claim.
Construction Site Accidents
If your loved one was working on a construction site, and failure to provide proper safety leads to his or her death, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim against the construction company. In California, construction companies have a legal obligation to provide a safe working environment that meets OSHA safety standards and conforms to the state’s Construction Safety Orders. If defective products or unsafe work practices lead to death then a claim is possible.
Animal owners in the state of California are obligated to keep their animals restrained and provide proper warnings about dangerous animals. If someone is attacked by an animal that is not restrained properly, and that individual dies, the family may be able to file a wrongful death claim. This particular area requires careful insight from a lawyer, because someone guilty of trespassing who is killed by a watchdog may not have the same rights as someone attacked by a dog who was not on its owners property.
Faulty or Contaminated Products
Product manufactures have a responsibility to provide safe products to consumers. If that responsibility is not met, and someone is killed, the family may be able to claim a wrongful death case. This includes deaths caused by contaminated food or drugs.
Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death Claims
Regardless of the type of wrongful death claim filed, in the state of California the family of the deceased must file the claim within two years of the date of death under the state’s statute of limitations. If you fail to do so, you will not be able to file and will lose the right to seek compensation for the wrongful death. Shorter deadlines apply to death or injury caused by public employees or healthcare providers. Such deadlines are as short as one year from the date of injury.
Because the statute of limitations is so short, it’s crucial to consult with an attorney as soon as possible after the death of your loved one if you suspect that you have a wrongful death case. The sooner you partner with the attorney, the sooner you can get the compensation you deserve to help you rebuild your life after this serious tragedy.
Wrongful Death Claim Worth
There are a number of factors that determine what your claim may be worth. We will help pursue compensation to cover the following expenses and losses:
- Funeral costs
- Medical costs
- Lost future income
- Loss of companionship
- And more
The value of your claim may be significant. Talk to a lawyer to learn what your claim may be worth.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
The following individuals may pursue a wrongful death claim after the loss of a loved one in an accident:
- Domestic partner
- Parents (if the deceased did not have a spouse, domestic partner or children)
- Siblings (if the deceased did not have a spouse, domestic partner or children)
- Stepchildren (if they were financially dependent on the deceased individual)
- Other individuals, if the deceased did not have a surviving spouse, domestic partner, or child
Please contact our office to learn about your specific options and to find out if you are eligible to file a wrongful death claim.
Can Multiple People Pursue a Wrongful Death Claim?
If there is more than one person filing a wrongful death claim — a surviving spouse, child and parent, for example — the recovery can be divided. This is done by a judge. If there are disagreements among the survivors, the case may need to be settled through litigation.
Does The Cause Of Death Matter?
In general, individuals who have lost a loved one in an accident caused by another person or party’s negligence can pursue a wrongful death claim. Examples of these types of accidents include:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Construction accidents
- Dangerous property accidents
- Dangerous product accidents
- Medical malpractice/hospital negligence
- And more
Discuss Your Case With an AV Preeminent-Rated* Attorney
To learn how we can work toward protecting your family’s financial security while supporting you through a difficult experience, call our office today at 1-877-640-6522. Contact us today.
* AV Preeminent and BV Distinguished are certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the confidential opinions of members of the Bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell ratings fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.