One of the most devastating events that can happen is the unexpected death of a loved one. When people are killed because of the negligence or wrongful acts of other people or entities, their family members have a right to file wrongful death lawsuits against those who are responsible.

GJEL is a Walnut Creek Wrongful Death Law Firm with a 99% success rate taking wrongful death cases to trial.

We are experienced in helping family members whose loved ones have been killed and know how to hold individuals and entities accountable to pay damages when their actions or failures resulted in a death.

Knowing that a loved one was killed due to someone else’s negligence is the most difficult thing you can go through. It’s likely one of the most stressful situations you can ever go through. During this difficult time, you will have a lot of thoughts and questions. Some of those questions might be:

  • Will justice be brought against the wrongdoers?
  • Will life ever be the same again?
  • How will I replace lost income?
  • How do I prevent others from being injured or killed in a similar accident?

If a loved one was killed it’s important to hold the wrongdoers responsible for their actions and get the support you need. There are a lot of unknowns when someone is killed and that’s one of the reasons GJEL Accident Attorneys was formed.

Andy Gillin, the managing partner of the firm believes that all people deserve justice. That’s why they offer a free no obligation case evaluation to learn about the facts of your case and see if we can help you during this difficult time.

What you need to know about hiring a Wrongful Death Lawyer

Finding a lawyer to handle a wrongful death case should not be something taken lightly. Attorneys who have experience with these matters typically have a lot higher success rate and achieve stronger monetary compensation based on their past experience.

Hiring an experienced and successful wrongful death lawyer can be the difference between a $100,000 settlement and a $2 Million + dollar settlement.

Here are a few reasons you should consider GJEL in Walnut Creek for your personal injury claim.

  • GJEL has received over One Billion Dollars in verdicts and settlements for their clients
  • GJEL Specialized in wrongful death claims
  • GJEL is the highest rated wrongful death law firm in Alameda County
  • GJEL has a 99.9% success rate
  • GJEL will take your case and there will be no fee until and unless we win your case

What is a Wrongful Death?

California recognizes a civil action that is called wrongful death, which is a type of tort lawsuit that can be filed against people or entities whose negligence or wrongful acts cause the deaths of others. These cases can be filed against the defendants in addition to any criminal cases that may be simultaneously pending against them for the same incidents. Even if criminal charges are not filed, there might still be the legal basis for filing a wrongful death civil action.

The burden of proof in civil wrongful death claims is lower than what is required in criminal cases. In a civil case, the plaintiffs must prove their claims by a preponderance of the evidence. This means that they must be able to prove that the elements of the tort were more likely than not to have occurred. In criminal cases, the prosecutors must prove the elements of the offenses beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a much higher burden. The lower burden of proof that is required in civil wrongful death actions makes it possible for surviving family members to prevail in their civil claims even if the defendants are not criminally charged or are found to be not guilty in any criminal cases that might also be filed against them. By filing a wrongful death claim, the family members may hold the defendants liable to pay monetary damages for the losses that their actions have caused.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

In Cal. Civ. Proc. § 377.60, California specifies the people who are able to file wrongful death claims when their loved ones have been killed by other people or entities. Under the law, the following people may be entitled to file wrongful death claims:

  • The spouse, children, the children of deceased children or the domestic partner
  • If none of the above parties survive, the people who stand to inherit by intestate succession
  • People who were dependents on the decedents, their putative spouses, stepchildren or parents
  • Children who lived with the decedents for more than 180 days and who depended on them for at least 50 percent of their support

The rules about who may file wrongful death claims are complex. People who have questions about whether or not they are able to file claims may want to talk to the experienced wrongful death lawyers at GJEL.

Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims in California

Like all other states, California has established statutory limitations periods for different types of civil claims. Under the law, surviving family members must file their wrongful death claims within the limitations period. If they fail to do so, they will be prevented from later trying to recover damages for their losses. There are several different applicable statutes of limitations that people should understand.

Most wrongful death claims will have a two-year statute of limitations period from the date of the injury or death. If the death was caused by medical malpractice, however, the family members will have either three years from the date of the malpractice or within one year of the discovery of it. Finally, different limitations rules apply if the defendant is a governmental entity. Claims against governmental agencies must be filed within six months. These claims may include wrongful death actions based on motor vehicle accidents that were caused by city or state employees while they were driving for their jobs, for example.

Losing a loved one can be overwhelming. If you have lost your loved one because of the negligence or wrongful acts of others, it is important for you to talk to an experienced wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible. The experienced lawyers at GJEL have more than 40 years of experience helping families in Walnut Creek and elsewhere in California. Our firm has a 99.9 percent success rate with wrongful death cases and has recovered more than $1 billion in verdicts and settlements for our clients. Contact our office to schedule your free consultation. You will not have to pay us unless and until we win your case.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a wrongful death lawyer do

Notable Wrongful Death Cases in Walnut Creek, California

There have been many notable wrongful death cases in Alameda County. A wrongful death suit is filed when someone is killed as the result of someone else’s negligence. Below are a few of the notable recent cases to happen in the area.

Lopez vs. Tyson Foods

The Orcutt family was awarded a $13 Millions in Damages resulting from a wrongful death lawsuit originally against Hillshire Brands (now known as Tyson foods). The Alameda County jury came to the award after Mark Lopez who passed away from mesothelioma in 2015 was found to have worked at a plant in Santa Maria that used a large amount of asbestos for heating and insulation purposes.

The jury found the company fully liable for the death even though they disputed the liability. GJEL did not represent Hillshire Brands or Mr. Lopez in this case.

On-Going Wrongful Death Cases in Walnut Creek

Wrongful death cases can take years to reach a resolution. Some of these cases are settled through mediation before trials, but when the parties cannot come to a mutual agreement, it will go to trial. Here are some cases that have not yet reached a resolution.

Bystrom Vs. Caltrans

Krystal Bystrom, who was a student attending Diablo Valley College was killed near I-680 and Highway 24. According to witnesses, the accident occurred around 9:45PM on October 14, 2016. The suit alleges that Caltrans road construction created a lane closure that made traffic come to a screeching stop. During the abrupt stop, an SUV slammed into the back of the car. Ms. Bystrom passed away from her injuries.

The lawsuit alleges that Caltrans did an inadequate job with the lane closure which resulted in the death of Ms. Bystrom. GJEL Accident Attorneys is not representing either party in this case.

 

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Andy Gillin received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California at Berkeley and his law degree from the University of Chicago. He is the managing partner of GJEL Accident Attorneys and has written and lectured in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury law for numerous organizations. Andy is a highly recognized wrongful death lawyer in California.