Costa Mesa Wrongful Death Lawyer

Costa Mesa Wrongful Death Attorney

Whenever a person suffers an injury or economic loss due to another party’s negligent or intentionally harmful actions, the injured party has the right to file a personal injury claim and seek compensation for their losses. However, if the victim does not survive their injury, their family would need to prepare for a difficult wrongful death claim process instead. Losing a loved one unexpectedly is never easy, but when you know that your loved one’s death happened because someone else was negligent, this can add a layer of extreme frustration and anger on top of a tragic and heartbreaking event.

Costa Mesa Wrongful Death Lawyer

wrongful death lawyer costa mesa ca

Legal Counsel for Costa Mesa, CA, Wrongful Death Claims

If you recently lost a loved one due to the actions of another party in the Costa Mesa, CA, area, it’s vital to know your rights and what to expect if you decide to file a wrongful death claim. These cases can help grieving families ensure accountability for the parties responsible for causing the deaths of their loved ones. While monetary compensation cannot replace a lost family member, recovery from a successful wrongful death action can help the family transition to their new reality more easily and with greater peace of mind.

Easton & Easton understands the stress, uncertainty, and heartbreak that follow the unexpected death of a family member. Our firm has successfully represented Costa Mesa, CA, clients in many wrongful death claims and can apply this experience to your case. In every case we accept, our goal is to help our clients feel more confident about their legal options and to ensure they can approach their proceedings with confidence. Your Costa Mesa wrongful death lawyer will work closely with you to secure the greatest recovery possible under California law and ensure accountability for whoever caused the death of your loved one.

Why Should I Hire a Costa Mesa Wrongful Death Attorney?

Navigating any civil claim without a lawyer is incredibly challenging and risky. It’s natural to have lots of questions in this situation. If your family is already reeling after an unexpected loss, it can be challenging to understand why you should invest in legal fees. While hiring a Costa Mesa wrongful death lawyer may seem prohibitively expensive, it’s vital to understand the risks you face by attempting to handle a wrongful death claim on your own. Your attorney can improve your chances of success with the claim and help you maximize your total recovery.

Easton & Easton offers contingency fee billing to our clients, meaning our legal fee will be a percentage of your total case award. However, you only owe legal fees once we win your case, and there is no fee if we fail to secure a recovery on your behalf. Additionally, there are no upfront costs for your representation. Therefore, we can handle your case proceedings on your behalf and secure more compensation than you might expect, so you and your family can mourn your loss with some measure of reassurance that your legal affairs are in capable hands.

Proven Case Results

We recently settled a wrongful death case for $2.75 million where the decedent was 55 years old with no wife or children, just two surviving parents in their 80s. The defendants’ insurance carrier initially expected to pay no more than $250,000 to settle the case of these 80-year-old parents who had no economic losses as a result of their son’s death. But because we demonstrated the unique bond these parents shared with their son by persuasively telling their family story, we were able to significantly increase the value of their case. After seeing how we would present this elderly couple’s case before a jury, the insurance company knew that taking the matter to trial could result in a substantially higher verdict based on our advocacy. Consequently, we were able to settle the case for an amount far in excess of our clients’ wildest dreams without them having to go through the pain and ordeal of a lengthy trial.

Wrongful Death Vs. Personal Injury

In the case of a wrongful death, wrongful death replaces a personal injury claim that a victim could have filed had they survived their injury. However, while wrongful death claims proceed similarly to personal injury cases in many ways, there are critical differences you must understand at the outset of your case. First, a wrongful death claim seeks compensation for the family’s losses, not the damages incurred by the victim. It’s possible to file a survival action at the same time as a wrongful death claim to seek compensation for damages incurred by the deceased’s estate, but these two claims cover different types of damages.

In California, wrongful death claims have the same two-year statute of limitations as personal injury claims, meaning you have two years from the date of your loved one’s wrongful death to initiate a civil claim. However, if you do not discover the exact cause of your loved one’s death until much later, the discovery rule applies, and you have one year from the date you learn the cause of death to file a wrongful death claim against the responsible party or parties.

Proving fault for a wrongful death is similar to proving fault for a personal injury. The plaintiff must accurately identify the defendant or defendants responsible for causing their loved one’s death and that they were intentionally harmful or negligent in some way that caused your loved one’s death. Your Costa Mesa wrongful death lawyer will assist you in gathering whatever witness testimony or other evidence you may need to prove liability for a wrongful death. In some cases, it will be necessary for the plaintiff to consult expert witnesses to prove precisely how a death occurred and establish liability. Medical experts, forensic researchers, accident reconstruction experts, and engineers commonly play pivotal roles in wrongful death cases as expert witnesses.

Common Causes of Wrongful Death

Wrongful death can happen for a variety of reasons. However, some of the most commonly reported causes of wrongful deaths in California include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents. Car crashes are a leading cause of accidental injuries and deaths in California. If a negligent motorist causes a fatal accident due to distracted driving, speeding, a moving violation, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they will face liability for wrongful death and possibly even criminal penalties.
  • Medical malpractice. Thousands of people in California trust medical professionals every day to provide safe and effective care, but medical errors are a leading cause of accidental injuries and deaths throughout the US. If your loved one died due to incompetently performed or negligent medical treatment, your family could file a wrongful death claim under California’s medical malpractice laws. These cases involve unique statutes and restrictions, so it is vital to work with an experienced Costa Mesa wrongful death lawyer if your case pertains to medical malpractice.
  • Premises liability. Anyone who owns property must make sure that the property is safe for guests, visitors, and customers who are lawfully there. For example, if your loved one died from an accident at someone else’s property, the property owner could be liable for the wrongful death. Success with this type of wrongful death action requires proving the death occurred due to the property owner’s failure to recognize and address an obvious safety hazard on their property or at least warn the victim of the danger before it caused a fatal injury.
  • Defective products. If your loved one died from an injury caused by a defective or dangerous consumer product, you probably have grounds for a product liability claim.
  • Intentional acts of violence. Unfortunately, California has one of the highest violent crime rates in the US. If your loved one died from an intentional act of violence or as a victim of any criminal act, the party responsible for causing the death is not only liable for wrongful death but also likely faces many years in prison.

If you are unsure whether the cause of your loved one’s untimely death constitutes valid grounds for a wrongful death action, it’s essential to consult an experienced Costa Mesa wrongful death lawyer.

California Wrongful Death Statutes and Compensation

In addition to the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims, California state law also imposes specific restrictions on the damages you can seek in a wrongful death action. First, it’s essential to understand that a wrongful death claim seeks compensation for the surviving family’s losses. These damages generally include:

  • Lost income provided by the deceased. The family would need to work with their Costa Mesa wrongful death attorney to calculate the income the deceased could have reasonably expected to earn in the future until retirement had they survived.
  • Loss of affection, care, consortium, and guidance provided by the deceased. Essentially, this portion of the claimed damages pertains to the family’s pain and suffering caused by the death of their loved one.
  • Lost value of household services and childcare provided by the deceased. For example, if a parent loses their spouse in a wrongful death, they may need to arrange childcare if their spouse typically managed the day-to-day needs of their children.
  • Reasonable funeral and burial expenses.

If applicable to your case, your Costa Mesa wrongful death attorney can also help you calculate survival action damages. A survival action seeks compensation for the damages the deceased could have claimed in a personal injury action had they survived. Survival action damages generally pertain to losses suffered by the estate of the deceased, such as their final medical expenses, lost income between the injury and their death, and the pain and suffering they experienced from their final injury or illness, recently approved into California law by Senate Bill 477.

wrongful death lawyer costa mesa

Proving Fault for a Wrongful Death

Similar to a personal injury case, a wrongful death case requires the plaintiffs to establish several foundational elements of liability to hold a defendant accountable:

  • The plaintiff must determine the defendant they believe to be responsible for the death and prove that the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased that resulted in the death.
  • The plaintiff must then prove that the defendant failed to uphold this duty of care in some way. This could be through a direct action or inaction when another reasonable person in the same situation would have likely taken appropriate action.
  • The plaintiff must provide clear evidence showing the full scope of the damages caused by the wrongful death.
  • The plaintiff must establish causation between the defendant’s actions and the death in question. Simply put, they must prove the death occurred because of the negligent or intentional misconduct of the defendant and not some other cause.

Plaintiffs in wrongful death cases often face significant challenges when establishing these elements of liability. For example, they may need to consult expert witnesses, gather statements from eyewitnesses who saw the fatal event happen, or secure physical evidence that helps prove fault for the death. A Costa Mesa wrongful death attorney can help their client determine the best ways of gathering the evidence and testimony they need to support their claim.

FAQs

Q: Who Can Sue for a Wrongful Death in California?
A:
A deceased person’s surviving spouse or partner typically is first in line for the right to file a wrongful death action, followed by surviving adult children, parents, or siblings. If the decedent did not have any close family, anyone who can prove they were financially dependent on the deceased, the executor or personal representative of the deceased’s estate, or anyone who can prove a valid claim to the deceased’s estate would have the right to file a wrongful death claim.

Q: How Long Will a Wrongful Death Claim Take to Resolve?
A:
Wrongful death actions are complex civil cases, and sometimes they can take many months or even more than a year to conclude. The time required to complete a wrongful death case hinges on multiple factors, such as the clearness of the defendant’s liability for the death, their willingness to accept responsibility for the death, and the scope of the damages sought by the plaintiff.

Q: What Happens if the Deceased Was Partially at Fault for Their Death?
A:
Some wrongful death claims will bring California’s pure comparative negligence statute into play. If the deceased contributed to causing their death, an investigation would determine their fault percentage. The total case award would be reduced by this percentage, reflecting their shared fault. For example, if the plaintiffs seek $500,000 for a wrongful death but the decedent was found to be 10% at fault, the case award would reduce by 10% for a net award of $450,000 instead.

Q: Do Wrongful Death Claims Need to Go to Court?
A:
Most civil claims filed in California end in a private settlement. A swift settlement agreement suits both parties’ best interests and allows them to avoid the stress and higher cost of litigation. However, settlement is only possible if both parties agree to negotiate, and it’s possible for a case to proceed to litigation if they cannot reach mutually agreeable settlement terms.

Easton & Easton can provide the answers you need to your most pressing legal questions regarding a wrongful death case in Costa Mesa, CA. If you are ready to talk about your case with an experienced Costa Mesa wrongful death lawyer, contact us today to schedule a free consultation with our firm.

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Firm Awards

The superior client service Easton & Easton provides has earned the firm an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.

Easton & Easton is honored to have been chosen anew each year since 2014 by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers as one of the "Best Law Firms" for the Southern California Metro Area.

Easton & Easton is honored to have been chosen by the LA Times Reader's Choice Poll as "The Best Personal Injury Law Firm in Orange County" for 2018.

Doug and Brian Easton have been selected as Top 100 Trial Lawyers for California each year since 2014 — honors given to less than 1% of attorneys.

Doug and Matt Easton have each been chosen as one of The Best Lawyers in America for Plaintiff's Personal Injury Litigation. Best Lawyers lists attorneys who have earned selection through exemplary legal work that attracts the notice of their colleagues. Lawyers cannot buy their way onto this list.

Brian and Matt Easton were recently honored for their efforts in securing a $1,850,000 verdict for a client in 2016, which was selected as one of the Top 50 Personal Injury Verdicts in California by TopVerdict.com.

Doug and Brian have each been selected by Super Lawyers, an honor given to less than 5% of attorneys. Matt Easton has been selected among Super Lawyers' Up-and-Coming Top 25 in Orange County and Top 100 in Southern Califonia, an honor given to less than 1% of attorneys under 40 years old.

Easton & Easton is honored to have been chosen as one of the "10 Best Personal Injury Law Firms” in all of Southern California" each year Since 2015 based on client satisfaction — one of the highest honors we could ever hope to achieve.

Easton & Easton received the “People Love Us On Yelp” award in 2016 due to the exceptional client satisfaction reviews given by our clients over the years.

Doug and Matt Easton have each been featured as Premier 100 Trial Attorneys for California since 2015 — honors given to less than 1% of attorneys.

Brian and Matt Easton have each earned lifetime appointment to the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum — The Top Trial Lawyers in AmericaTM through the results achieved for their clients. This is an honor given to less than 1% of attorneys in the United States.

Doug Easton has held the “AV Preeminent” Rating for over 30 years and Matt Easton received this prestigious distinction in 2015. The "AV Preeminent" rating is the highest possible rating for both legal ability and ethical standards, and is based on the legal profession’s oldest peer review rating system, dating back to 1887.

Doug, Brian, and Matt Easton have all been chosen as one of the "10 Best" Personal Injury Attorneys in Southern California each year since 2015 based on client satisfaction, an honor given to less than 1% of personal injury attorneys - and Easton & Easton houses three of them.

Brian Easton was selected to the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) in 2015. ABOTA is one of the most premier associations of trial attorneys and judges, requiring a certain number of jury trials as lead counsel and approval by a majority vote of the ABOTA board.

Matt Easton has been selected each year since 2014 as one of the Top 40 Trial Lawyers Under 40 for California by The National Trial Lawyers — an honor given to less than 1% of attorneys.

Doug and Matt Easton have each been chosen as one of The Best Lawyers in America for Plaintiff's Personal Injury Litigation. Best Lawyers lists attorneys who have earned selection through exemplary legal work that attracts the notice of their colleagues. Lawyers cannot buy their way onto this list.

Both Doug and Matt Easton have been selected as Top Personal Injury Attorneys by Avvo with scores of 10 out of 10 based on their skill, experience, results, peer evaluations, and client reviews.

Matt Easton has been selected as one of the Top 10 Personal Injury Attorneys Under 40 in California for 2015 by the National Association of Personal Injury Attorneys — an honor given to less than 1% of personal injury attorneys under the age of 40.

Doug, Brian, and Matt Easton have all been selected by the National Association of Distinguished Counsel among the Nation's Top One Percent of Attorneys each year since 2017.

Orange County Personal Injury Lawyer | Costa Mesa Auto Accident Attorney | Catastrophic Injuries

“We look for the human story behind every injury or wrongful death. We prepare our cases for trial; reaching out to the jury with the most compelling evidence possible for the best verdict possible. Insurance companies know this and come to the table prepared to negotiate in good faith. Call us to see how we can turn your story into fair compensation.”

Partner W. Douglas Easton

What Our
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Coming out of my first auto accident as an adult, a very difficult and scary time to navigate and understand, I was so incredibly thankful to have been put in contact with Easton & Easton. I honestly was lost with how to handle paperwork, doctors, medical costs and what next steps were, and from the moment I spoke with Travis Easton and my case manager Katie, my mind was put at ease. They have made the entire process stress free for me as I recovered, and I am so grateful for them and their genuine care for my case. Communication from the start has been fantastic, especially making clear what my expectations for the entire process would look like, and I truly believe they have my best interest at heart. 100% I would recommend their firm for anyone that is needing representation!

Sara McClelland

My experience with Easton & Easton has been amazing! Gabriel Mendoza and my case manager Katie have been so helpful and taken so much stress off my plate. They’ve been super informative and honest and given me very clear expectations. They’ve taken such a terrible experience (my accident) and eased my mind about the outcome. I can’t thank them enough!!

Caila Dean

Ive used them twice and never been disappointed

Lisa Bluemel

The Easton & Easton Law Firm is amazing! The entire team is very helpful and caring. They were always there to answer all my questions. They directed me through the entire process and stayed with me every step of the way. This team is outstanding and were wonderful to work with. Because of the tremendous effort they put on my case they were able to win my difficult personal injury case. I couldn’t have asked for a better law firm to handle my case. They are the Best! Thank you for your patience, professionalism, & guidance! I definitely recommend this firm to handle your case. They go out of their way to fight for your rights. THANK YOU…

Sofia Sanchez

I could not be more pleased with the services provided by the Law Offices of W. Douglas Easton. The senior partner Mr. Easton took the time to meet with me and my wife while I was still in the hospital, where he gave my family hope that there was light at the end of a very long, and very dark tunnel. Matt Easton then worked my case, and because of his dedication, experience and expertise I received a settlement that was larger than I EVER thought possible. It was truly astounding! Matt and the entire team at Easton & Easton looked out for me throughout my recovery, and in the end they gave me my life back. Five stars is not enough. Thanks Matt! Thanks Easton & Easton!

Dan Campbell

Brian and everyone at Easton and Easton are simply the BEST at what they do. Brian is thorough, easy to talk to, and truly cares about his clients. If you want a family of attorneys with perseverance and determination to fight for you, give Easton and Easton a call. I am glad I did.

Kyle Keith

What an amazing law firm, talk about going above and beyond to make such a painful experience go so well. I have referred a co-worker and a family member to them as well and everyone had such a great experience as I had.

Logan Ross

I can’t say enough amazing things about my experience with Travis Easton at Easton & Easton. Travis and his entire team (Katie, Amy, Dee, Michelle, & Araceli) are phenomenal. It provided me a lot of comfort to know I was being so well taken care of. I was especially impressed that every document for the case was perfectly written and specific to me. Nothing was generic, which shows the level of care and attention they put into each individual case. I had such a great experience and would highly recommend Travis Easton and his firm to anyone going through a personal injury. Travis took a bad situation and made the best of it for me. Thank you again, I’m forever grateful!!

-Allee

Ashlee A.

Retaining Easton and Easton was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! From the initial consultation to our final meeting, they were nothing short of exceptional. I was forced to retain their services after firing my previous attorney for not handling the case properly. I dealt with Gabriel and Brian (partner) exclusively throughout the case. They did as promised and were great communicators throughout the entire process. I will recommend them to anyone I know going through a personal injury case. They were ultimately able to untangle the mess caused by my previous lawyer and get a result that I was extremely happy with. Their staff is exceptional as well and provided top notch customer service. Amera was also extremely helpful and easy to deal with as well.

Jeffrey N.

I was in a pretty bad car accident and decided to have Easton & Easton represent me, Travis Easton to be specific. Travis Easton and his paralegal made the whole process effortless. They were so understanding and helpful! The entire thing was a gigantic mess, yet Travis managed to make it run like clockwork. I would HIGHLY recommend Easton & Easton! If you are ever in need of a personal defense attorney Easton & Easton is the firm to represent you!

Mark B.

They are the best law firm in Orange County period. Choosing them to represent me was the best decision of my life.
My life changed in a matter of seconds after a catastrophic spinal cord injury that left me disabled. Brian Easton and his team worked on my case non stop for 3 years and provided me the justice I deserved. I couldn’t have been more content.
I was treated with utmost respect and I felt like I was being represented by a close family member. The responses to my questions were quick and clear. What E & E has done for me is phenomenal.
My sincere thanks to Brian, Matt, Travis, Doug, Gabriel and Amera. They are what they are because of their dedication to provide high quality and professional service to their clients.

Vamsi P.

Brian Easton and his team, Gabe Mendoza and Amera Hajali, helped me during a very difficult time in my life. I had a significant injury from a car accident, and wound up seeking out Easton & Easton when I was having difficulties getting help from my doctors. The Easton team took a lot of stress off of me while acting as my advocates to help me get the care I needed, and saw my case all the way through to a healthy settlement.

They are the BEST!

Jennifer P.

I have nothing but good things to say about Easton and Easton. Brian handled my case professionally and communicated with me effectively throughout the process. He made sure that the process was effortless and as hands free as possible. This was super important for my busy schedule. I highly recommend Easton and Easton if you are ever found in a situation that you need an attorney.

Claudia C.

I would highly recommend Easton & Easton.
I was rear ended on my home and pushed into a semi-truck. I was not sure how to go about even using an attorney.
Brian, Gab and Amera were so good about helping me thru the process and representing me.
I was able to concentrate on getting myself better knowing they had my back, taking care of the details and keeping me informed along the way

Linda M.

The best Law firm by far. I would highly recommend Easton & Easton, LLP and ask for Gabriel Mendoza and staff. He and his colleagues did and exceptional service. Thank you for everything. Job well done!

Ericka P.

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