The pain of losing someone you love when the death was unavoidable is excruciating. Losing someone you love in a wrongful death – one that should not have happened – is like a knife in the heart.

Wrongful death attorney Bill Newkirk of the Law Offices of William H. Newkirk has represented many people who, unfortunately, have lost loved ones in a wrongful death.

He is experienced in the laws that apply in such cases, often recovering significant verdicts or settlements for the family. For a FREE, no-obligation consultation, contact the Law Offices of William H. Newkirk.


In California the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit goes in the following order:
  1. Surviving spouse.
  2. Surviving domestic partners if there was an established relationship.
  3. Surviving children, including adopted children.
  4. Family member who was supported by the deceased.
  5. Surviving grandchildren if they were dependent on the deceased and the deceased has no surviving children.
  6. Surviving parents if they depended on the deceased’s support and if there are no other heirs.
Can I File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit if the Deceased Did Not Have a Job?

If the person who died was unemployed or retired, loved ones still can file a wrongful death lawsuit.
The person may have contributed to the family in other ways. Examples include child rearing, caregiving, and housekeeping.

If the deceased was a student, the court also may take into account potential future earnings.

If Someone Is Convicted of Murder, Can I Still File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Civil Court

The government is the only one who has the right to file a criminal lawsuit against a person. Wrongful death lawsuits can be filed by the loved ones eligible to bring a civil case.

A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed whether or not the wrongdoer is convicted of murder.

The most famous example is O.J. Simpson. Though he was not convicted of murder in his criminal trial, he was found guilty in his civil wrongful death lawsuit.

Can I Receive Compensation for Punitive Damages?

In most instances California does not allow recovery of punitive damages in a wrongful death lawsuit.

What Compensation May Be Awarded in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Damages (compensation) in a wrongful death lawsuit may include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Funeral expenses
  • Loss of financial support
  • Loss of health benefits
  • Loss of comfort and companionship.
A wrongful death is an avoidable death caused by wrongful conduct. The death could have been caused by an individual, a company, a government entity, or a hospital.

Common causes of wrongful death include:

A wrongful death lawsuit can make a difference. Though a wrongful death lawsuit cannot bring back your loved one, their death will not be in vain.

  • Compensation: The money received from a verdict or settlement can help loved ones by providing financial security. If a family has lost a wage earner or caregiver, compensation can help fill the economic gap. If there are medical or funeral bills, this compensation can cover these expenses.
  • Demanding Change: Through the court system, a verdict or settlement can reveal unsafe practices and force change. The only way we have to punish a corporation, government entity, or institution is by making them pay money. If they are forced to reimburse the people they have injured, they typically
Wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within a limited period of time, called a statute of limitations.

Wrongful death lawsuits that miss the deadlines established by the law can never be brought again.

In California the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit is two years (except for medical malpractice lawsuits). In some instances the deadline is shortened to one year. For example, claims for against a government entity – like a county hospital – the statute of limitations is only 6 months.

Your wrongful death lawsuit may include special circumstances so that the deadline is earlier or later than you expect.

Contact wrongful death attorney Bill Newkirk as soon as possible to check the statute of limitations that effects your lawsuit.

As your wrongful death attorney, Bill Newkirk can do his best work for you the sooner you bring your wrongful death lawsuit to him.

Because people’s memories change over time, Bill Newkirk will interview witnesses and get all pertinent records that could help to prove your wrongful death case.


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