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San Francisco Wrongful Death Lawyer

We are so sorry to learn about your loss.  We know these times are so difficult for the families of the loved one that has been lost.  Our law firm has represented dozens of people in your situation.

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MJQ Law compassionately represents families who have lost a loved one in a personal injury accident in San Francisco and across the Bay Area. Our skilled San Francisco Wrongful Death Accident Lawyers take action immediately to secure the financial support families will need to rebuild their lives after a tragedy. We also secure a traumatized family’s future as they face life without the care and guidance a loved one would have provided.

Contact us for a free, no-obligation San Francisco wrongful death case consultation. This is a no-risk way to find out what kind of support is available to your family. It’s vital information that you’ll need as insurance companies work to downplay your loss and rob you of the support your family requires.

Exactly what we do for our clients in a short, animated video:

What kind of San Francisco personal injury accidents can result in a tragic death?

Wrongful death claims can arise from a variety of accidents.  The ones we have encountered most often are:

How much is my wrongful death case worth?

There is no fixed or settled-upon amount that a wrongful death claim is worth.  Rather, each claim is evaluated based on many factors, including: relationship to the decedent, financial support no longer provided by the decedent, amount/likelihood of responsibility of the party for the death, and the amount of money available (insurance limits, assets, etc.).

Once we are able to gather the necessary information and thoroughly evaluate your claim, we will discuss the potential value of your claim with you.  Any lawyer that attempts to tell you what your case is worth without evaluating these factors (which takes time) should not be trusted and is probably merely attempting to woo you as a client.

Recovery from a wrongful death claim can be divided into two categories: economic and noneconomic damages.  Additionally, in California, unlike other states, there are no caps on how much a jury can award a person bringing a wrongful death claim.

Economic Damages in a San Francisco Wrongful Death Case

Economic damages refer to compensation for objectively verifiable monetary losses, i.e., items that you can place an exact dollar amount on.  In determining future economic damages, such as loss of future wages, a jury must reduce the award to present cash value, meaning that they take into consideration factors such as inflation, interest rates, and other economic indicators.

Wrongful death plaintiffs are entitled to the following economic damages:

  • The financial support that the decedent would have contributed to the family during his/her life expectancy or the life expectancy of the person making the claim (whichever is shorter). *Minor children are entitled to the support they would have received until adulthood, unless they can prove they would have continued to receive support after, such as through college.
  • The loss of gifts or benefits that the person making the claim would have expected to receive from the decedent.
  • The reasonable value of household services that the decedent would have provided, e.g., if the deceased regularly cooked and cleaned the house, the surviving spouse would be entitled to the value of regular cooking and cleaning services.
  • Funeral and burial expenses.

Noneconomic Damages in a San Francisco Wrongful Death Claim

Noneconomic damages refer to:

  • The loss of the decedent’s love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, and moral support.
  • For spouses and domestic partners, the loss of the enjoyment of sexual relations with the deceased.
  • For minor children, the loss of training and guidance the deceased would have provided them.
  • What is a wrongful death claim?

In California, a wrongful death claim arises when a person dies as a result of the negligence of another person or entity.  These claims are civil claims (not criminal) where the family members of the deceased person brings a civil claim against those responsible for the death.  The family member has the claim; it is not the claim of the deceased.  The purpose of bringing a wrongful death claim is to recover money from the party responsible for the death in order to compensate the family member for the emotional distress and loss as well as for any financial support that may no longer be provided to them now that their loved one is gone.  In most instances, we find an insurance policy that pays out on behalf of the party responsible for the death.

Who is legally entitled to make a claim for wrongful death in California?

In California, the people who are entitled to inherit from the deceased in the absence of a will are generally able to make wrongful death claims.  Specifically, the following people are entitled to make claims:

  • Surviving spouse
  • Domestic partner (must be registered)
  • Surviving children (or if deceased, their living children)
  • If no surviving children, siblings or other relatives of the deceased.
  • Ex-spouse, if the spouse believed the marriage was still valid and was dependent on the deceased for support.
  • Stepchildren if they were dependent on the deceased for support.
  • Any minor living with the deceased for more than 180 days and who was dependent upon him/her for at least ½ of his/her support.

As you can tell, there are numerous potential plaintiffs who can make wrongful death claims.  However, in California, a wrongful death can only give rise to one lawsuit.  Any person who may be entitled to compensation for the wrongful death of their loved one must be included in that lawsuit.  With all of these competing interests, it is crucial to have experienced legal representation in order to ensure your interests are protected.

Examples of Bay Area Families We Have Helped With Wrongful Death Cases?

MJQ Law has an extensive history of  handling  difficult wrongful death cases on behalf of the family members of the deceased.  Our goal is always to obtain financial justice for the family members that have had their loved one taken from them and ensure that they are not forced to deal with financial stress while coping with their emotional loss.   We have handled many wrongful death cases over the years, but here are three recent wrongful death cases we have resolved for our clients.

Confidential settlement: Our client, S.L., brought a wrongful death claim after her mother died from a fall at her nursing home in Livermore, CA.  Her mother required assistance when ambulating and general care from her caregivers.  One day, S.L.’s mother was being taken out into the backyard of the nursing home for some fresh air when the caregiver left her standing alone on the patio to go answer the phone.  S.L.’s mother fell, broke her hip and was hospitalized for 2 months before ultimately dying from complications.  We sued the nursing home for negligence and obtained a confidential settlement for S.L.

$660,000 settlement: Our clients, N.B. and T.C., brought a wrongful death claim for the untimely death of their 90 year-old father after he was killed by being run over by a MUNI bus as he attempted to get off the bus.  N.B. and T.C.’s father was moving slowly and the bus driver closed the back door prematurely, causing his rain coat to become caught in the door.  He was dragged a short distance, run over by the back wheels and died in the hospital 3 weeks later from his injuries.  We obtained a settlement from the City and County of San Francisco for their emotional distress. 

Confidential Policy Limits settlement: our client, B.H., hired us to represent her and her two children after her husband and father of her children died in a car accident in Oakland.  The decedent was the primary bread-winner for the family.  We sued the driver of the vehicle and the company that he was working for at the time of the accident.  After rejecting several settlement offers and conducting substantial litigation, we settled the wrongful death claim for the insurance policy limits several months before trial.

Do I Need a Lawyer After Losing a Loved One in a Wrongful Death Accident?

When you hire The Law Offices of Matthew J. Quinlan, you hand off all of your legal and administrative problems, work and stress associated with your loss to an experienced wrongful death lawyer who has handled dozens of cases like yours.  This allows you to focus on grieving, while we handle everything else.

Whether you realize it or not, there are a lot of pitfalls out there for a wrongful death claimant that has never dealt with a tragedy like this before.  Insurance companies and their adjusters have the goal of saving as much money as possible and that means denying your claim, underpaying your claim and/or attempting to get you to do and say things that permanently harm the value of your claim.  We won’t allow any of that to happen.

We will serve as the point of contact for anyone wanting to reach you about the accident or your loss.  We will advise you about all the tricks that insurance companies and their agents play so that your claim, when presented, has no issues associated with it that might limit its value.  Additionally, by hiring us you will swing the leverage of your claim back to your side, as the insurance company will be forced to accept the fact that you won’t be one of the claimants they can take financial advantage of. Every major insurance company knows us and has dealt with us many times; we have a reputation as fighters for our clients and their wellbeing.

Frequently Asked Questions After a San Francisco Wrongful Death Accident

How long do I have to file a wrongful death accident claim?

Families who have lost a loved one have up to two years to file a claim over a loved one’s death. Families should act as soon as possible so a wrongful death lawyer can begin an investigation and collect fresh evidence.

What if I can’t afford to pay a San Francisco Wrongful Death Lawyer?

Your family deserves the best legal representation. You won’t need any money now to hire our wrongful death attorneys. MJQ Law doesn’t get paid unless we win your case for your family. Then, our fee is paid out of your settlement.

Should I speak to insurance representatives for the at-fault party in a wrongful death case?

No. Only offer basic information and don’t give a recorded statement. Insurance companies are hoping you say something they can twist later and use as an excuse to deny your family support. Refer them to MJQ Law.

Contact a San Francisco Wrongful Death Accident Lawyer as Soon as Possible

Grieving families should be allowed to mourn their loss without worry over leftover medical bills and funeral costs. Allow The Law Offices of Matthew J. Quinlan to deal with the most frustrating parts of wrongful death claims and insurance hassles so your family can focus on rebuilding their lives.

Contact our offices for a free case consultation that comes with no obligation to you or your family. Let us work to get the most out of your San Francisco wrongful death settlement so your family doesn’t face a financial crisis in the years to come.

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    Did You Know?

    In 2012, California had the most bicyclist killed of any state. (Source: GHSA)
    In 2013, accidents were the 6th leading cause of death in California, accounting for 11,189 fatalities. (Source: CDPH)
    In 2014, San Jose had a total of 67 fatalities related to traffic and auto/pedestrian collisions. (Source: SJPD)
    In 2011, DUI/DWI was the leading cause of automotive related fatalities in California with 63.5% of motor vehicle related deaths being caused by drunk drivers. (Source: DMV)
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