Wrongful Death

At the Law Offices of Mark A. Doughty, we represent victims of automobile accidents, premises liability, and products liability matters in Sacramento personal injury cases, as well as representing families who have lost loved ones in wrongful death lawsuits from Sacramento to Yuba City.

When a loved one is lost due to the negligence of another, the surviving family members may be entitled to bring a claim of wrongful death against the party who is responsible.  In a wrongful death action, the plaintiff is suing for the damages suffered directly by him or her due to the death of the family member. 

California law allows the following types of damages to be recovered in a wrongful death action:

Economic Damages

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of financial support and gifts the deceased would have provided during his or her lifetime
  • Loss of the reasonable value of household services the deceased would have provided

Noneconomic Damages

  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of marital (sexual) relations
  • Loss of training and guidance

As noted above, the plaintiffs in a wrongful death action are the surviving family members of the deceased.  Under California law, the family members allowed to file suit include:

  • Surviving spouse or domestic partner
  • Surviving children
  • Grandchildren if the children are deceased
  • Dependent parents or stepchildren
  • Next of kin

For more information on precisely who can bring a wrongful death action, consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who has handled wrongful death cases.

Survival Actions

When a person is injured in an accident caused by another's negligence, that person has the right to bring a personal injury lawsuit in Sacramento to recover for the damages he or she has suffered.  But if the person dies before filing a lawsuit, or before seeing a lawsuit through to settlement or judgment, a personal representative of the estate may take over and file a survival action on behalf of the estate.  In this case, allowable damages are those to which the deceased would have been entitled in a personal injury lawsuit, such as medical expenses and lost wages.

Since the benefactors of a wrongful death claim and a survival action are basically the same, and similar facts must be proven in both cases, the two actions are frequently tried together in one lawsuit, allowing the plaintiffs to maximize recovery without requiring the time, expense, and emotional trauma of two separate lawsuits.

If you have lost a family member due to the negligence or wrongful act of another party, whether in a motor vehicle, aircraft, boating accident, or other tragedy, contact the Law Offices of Mark A. Doughty today for a free initial consultation.


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Attorney Advertising. This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.
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