GJEL’s team of California Wrongful Death Attorneys stand with families who have suffered a wrongful death in California.

Losing a loved one is always devastating, but a preventable loss carries an added burden of pain. Our work brings us into contact with people during their most difficult moments. We understand the deep emotional wounds caused by these losses, and the very real financial struggles they can create.

When a wrongful death shatters your family, California’s GJEL attorneys fight for the justice and support you deserve. We have a proven history of holding negligent parties accountable and securing the resources to help you rebuild. Your grief, your story, and your future matter. Let us transform your hardship into a force for change.

Don’t Face This Difficult Time Alone: Call GJEL Accident Attorneys Now

Here are a few reasons you should discuss your case with our attorneys right away:

  • We offer Immediate Support & Compassion: We understand the overwhelming shock and grief you’re experiencing. Our team is here to offer support and guidance every step of the way.
  • Proven Track Record of Results with a 99% success rate GJEL has a long history of securing fair compensation for families who suffered wrongful death. We fight tirelessly for the justice you deserve.
  • Expert Legal Representation: Our experienced wrongful death attorneys have the knowledge and resources to navigate complex legal issues and protect your rights.
  • Financial Security After Loss: We understand the financial burden wrongful death can create. Let us fight for compensation to help secure your future.
  • Holding Negligent Parties Accountable: You deserve closure. We’ll work relentlessly to hold those responsible accountable for their actions.

Don’t wait to get the help you deserve. Call GJEL Accident Attorneys today for a free consultation. We’re here to fight for you.

Recent Accidental Death Settlement from GJEL

$11.7 Million East Bay family awarded $11.7 million in Marsh Creek Road wrongful death accident View Case

Losing a loved one is always heartbreaking. If that loss has been caused by someone else’s negligence, the pain is compounded by a sense of injustice. In these challenging times, you need a strong ally to help you navigate the complex and emotionally fraught world of wrongful death litigation. You need the experience and tenacity of GJEL Accident Attorneys.

We understand that no amount of money can replace your loved one, but we also believe in the power of legal action to bring closure and help you move forward.

If you’re in California and grappling with the loss of a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, don’t navigate this difficult time alone. Let our team of skilled and empathetic lawyers guide you through the process, and help you seek the justice your loved one deserves.

Start your journey towards justice today. Click the button below to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our team. We’re ready to listen, support, and fight for you. Because at GJEL, your family is our family, and your fight is our fight. Let’s seek justice, together.

Have your case reviewed by one of our Experienced Attorneys

Have our fatal accident attorneys review your case. There is no cost or obligation.

GJEL is An Award Winning Accidental Death Law Firm

GJEL was just rated Top Injury Attorneys by Best Lawyers for 2021 and 2022. We have also recovered over $950 million dollars with a 99% success rate for our clients. We specialize in serious injury and wrongful death cases only. In the aftermath of a sudden loss, contacting an accidental death law firm like GJEL Accident Attorneys can help you navigate legal matters and potentially recover compensation for your loved one’s passing.

Wrongful Death Lawyers with Decades of Experience

– We have achieved strong settlements and verdicts for wrongful death cases
– 99%+ success rate
– Our legal professionals for wrongful death have handled cases similar to yours
-Attorney Luke Ellis has been rated one of the best lawyer for wrongful death cases.

The unexpected death of a loved one is a devastating event that no one prepares for. The emotional toll of such a tragedy can be much harder to bear when another person or entity is to blame for your loss. The pain and suffering that come with losing a loved one shouldn’t be accompanied by financial distress. If your family has suffered a loss like this, contact our wrongful death lawyers in California now.

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How We Help Families Through Complex Wrongful Death Litigation

The litigation process can be time-consuming and stressful, involving many different rules and procedures. The following are only a few things a GJEL wrongful death attorneys in California will do during litigation:


A wrongful death lawsuit has many requirements and must be persuasive enough to successfully present your legal case and stand up to challenges by the other party.


Evidence in your favor is gathered in many different ways, including through investigators, depositions, document requests, and more.


The other party will certainly raise legal defenses to avoid liability. Our wrongful death attorney will answer back to challenge those defenses and protect your rights to a recovery.


The majority of wrongful death lawsuits are settled out of court but this does not mean you should accept a settlement that is too low just to avoid trial. GJEL’s fatal accident attorneys will effectively use new arguments and evidence to negotiate until you receive the settlement offer you deserve. We are not afraid to litigate your case and hold wrongdoers responsible.


If the liable party refuses to make an adequate settlement offer, your personal wrongful death lawyer in CA will present your case at a trial, which involves strict rules of evidence and procedural requirements. This takes place in a courtroom with a judge and jury.

You May Be Able To File a Wrongful Death Suit in California

In California, when someone’s death is the result of wrongful behavior or negligence, surviving family members can file what is known as a “wrongful death” lawsuit in civil court. An experienced wrongful death lawyer can explain your rights and help you and your family seek justice for the pain you are experiencing.

In this article, we provide a basic overview of wrongful death laws in California. We’ll cover the elements of a wrongful death claim, who can file a wrongful death lawsuit, and the different types of damages that are available to a successful plaintiff.

We also discuss how the statute of limitations can impact your claim. This post is designed to give you basic information and should not be relied upon in the absence of advice from a qualified California wrongful death attorney. If you have questions about your rights or your family’s rights, contact one of our accidental death lawyers right away.

Elements of a Wrongful Death Case

In legal terminology, an “element” is an essential building block of a case. In order for someone to succeed in a case, the evidence must establish all of the required elements. In a wrongful death lawsuit in California, the following elements must be proven.

  1. The death of a human being;
  2. That was caused by another’s negligence, or with intent to cause harm; and
  3. The surviving family members are suffering financial losses as a result of the death.

GJEL accidental death attorneys will discuss and help you fortify each of these elements for your case.


There are several different kinds of accidents that can lead to wrongful death. These include car accidents, commercial truck accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, the use or consumption of dangerous or defective products, prolonged exposure to toxic chemicals, medical malpractice by a doctor or healthcare facility, fires, and other types of fatal accidents. Intentional acts such as a deadly assault, manslaughter, murder, arson, or other deliberately harmful act also may be the basis of a wrongful death claim.


The causation element is critical in a wrongful death claim. In order to recover damages, you must be able to show that your loved one’s death was actually caused by the negligent or intentional conduct of the defendant. For example, you cannot sue a hospital just because your loved one died of cancer there. There is no wrongful death liability when someone dies purely from natural causes. However, if you can show that your loved one died of cancer as a result of prolonged exposure to cancer-causing chemicals in his or her workplace, you may be able to sue the former employer for wrongful death due to carelessness.

Because causation in a wrongful death lawsuit can be difficult to establish, it is important to hire a lawyer for wrongful death who has extensive experience taking wrongful death lawsuits to trial and obtaining successful verdicts for his or her clients.


You and your family must be able to establish that you have suffered losses as a result of your loved one’s death. These might include the loss of your loved one’s affection and emotional support, financial support, or contributions to the household. Other types of losses include money you spent or will need to spend to take care of your deceased loved one’s medical expenses and funeral costs.

A wrongful death law firm can help you understand the full value of your wrongful death claim and will carefully calculate the amount of damages to which you are entitled.

A Recent Case Settlement / Verdict

A bicyclist was struck by a vehicle as he crossed an intersection on Fairgrounds Drive in Vallejo. After fighting for his life for months in the hospital he eventually succumbed and passed away, leaving behind a wife and three young daughters. His post-accident treatment at the hospital produced a staggering bill.

Jim Larsen and the lawyers for wrongful death cases at GJEL investigated the accident thoroughly, deposing police officers and witnesses from the scene of the accident.

Through witness and expert testimony, our pro bono wrongful death lawyers were able to demonstrate that even though the bicyclist was crossing against a red light, the driver still had ample time to see the cyclist and slow down to avoid the collision. Unfortunately for all parties involved, this was not the case. GJEL was able to secure a $500,000 settlement, with $100,000 going to each of the three daughters as a college fund.

Other Wrongful Death Settlements from GJEL

Below are just a few of the recent settlements from wrongful death cases from GJEL clients of our wrongful death firm. Click here to view all wrongful death settlements and verdicts.

10.8 Million from a Defective Tire Case

4.5 Million from a car accident case

Man killed in Contra Costa County

Here are Some of the Reasons our Clients Hired our Lawyers for Wrongful Death Cases:

  • We will hold wrongdoers accountable for their actions.
  • We have a 99% success rate with wrongful death claims throughout California.
  • We have recovered over $950 million dollars for our clients injured or killed due to the negligent acts of others.
  • As a small wrongful death law firm you will get our full undivided attention to your case.
  • We are 2021 / 2022 / 2023 recognized as the best northern California wrongful death attorneys from bestlawyers.com.

Have a question or want to talk to a wrongful death lawyer? Call us today at 1-866-254-5579 for a free case review.

The grieving process can be overwhelming and the last thing you want to worry about is navigating the legal system on your own. At GJEL, we can help you through this difficult time by fighting for justice and compensation on behalf of your loved one.

Call for a free case evaluation today

What Damages are Available in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

The wrongful death statute in California is relatively vague when it comes to the damages that surviving family members can recover after proving a wrongful death.

In fact, the law simply states that any “just” damages may be available in a particular situation. Many different parties may bring wrongful death claims in CA, including spouses, children, stepchildren, parents, and other potential heirs.

The damages that each different party can recover will vary depending on their own specific and personal losses from the death. The law gives the court discretion to determine the rights of each party to certain damages.

For the above reasons, it is impossible to say exactly what damages you may receive without a thorough evaluation of your situation. While the best way to learn about potential damages in a wrongful death case is to consult with an experienced wrongful death in California.


  • Reasonable funeral and burial expenses
  • The estimated amount of income and benefits the deceased person would have earned in their lifetime had the accident not occurred
  • Loss of financial support for the household
  • Loss of services around the household, including cleaning, landscaping, cooking, caring for children, and other everyday tasks and contributions to the family
  • Loss of intangible support, including love and affection, encouragement, moral support, guidance, attention, and more.

Some parties may have contributed to funeral expenses while others may not have. In addition, older parents may have lost financial support but not any household services if they did not live in the same place as the deceased. As you can see, the situations can vary widely depending on the specific circumstances.

Calculating Damages in a Wrongful Death Case

Once you have determined the type of damages that may be available in your wrongful death case, it becomes necessary to calculate the exact amount you want to seek.

Some damages are much easier to calculate than others–for instance, to determine funeral and burial costs, you should simply examine all of the bills and receipts you received from the funeral home and other service providers. Note that only reasonable expenses will be reimbursed. This means that if you throw a lavish funeral and reception for your loved one, you may likely only receive a portion of the costs back.


  • The age of the deceased and how many more years they would be expected to work;
  • The education, skills, and abilities of the deceased;
  • The deceased’s potential for promotions, raises, and other adjustments to income throughout the course of their career;
  • Inflation and how wages and earnings would be adjusted over the years; and
  • The benefits and retirement account contributions the deceased would have received.

Considering all of these factors into one calculation can be complicated and you will often need the assistance of an occupational and economic expert to reach an accurate estimate.

Experts are also used to determine the monetary value of household services lost, as well as the loss of affection, love, and other intangible support. Our California wrongful death attorneys have the resources needed to obtain expert analysis to ensure you receive a fair and just result in your case and always seek the maximum possible damages available.

How GJEL Wrongful Death Lawyers Stands up in Settlements

Much of what we do, however, in terms of proving damages in a wrongful death case revolves around the duty to show everyone exactly who this person was, who has passed away so suddenly and tragically – and we do that by talking to anyone and everyone we can find who knew them. Mostly family members, friends, and coworkers – the people close to this person who help us show exactly what they meant to their family and friends.

We do statements, we do video, we use photographs – all kinds of things to put together a portrait that ultimately is normally turned into a video about this person, who they were, and most importantly what they meant to the family member or family members we represent.

At GJEL We’re Here to Help You Get Through This Difficult Time

If you have questions about your fatality case or the process please Call Andy Gillin, our managing partner to discuss your situation. We will meet you to discuss your case and we always provide free consultations.

Our attorneys are known for specializing in wrongful death litigation, we’re with you every step of the way and you won’t pay anything unless and until we win your case.

Find a Wrongful Death Lawyer Near Me

GJEL handles accident & injury cases throughout California. We have many convenient offices to serve you. No matter where you’re located we always come to you.

Please call for a free consultation or to book an appointment at one of our California offices below. You can also use our contact form here to submit your inquiry.

Offices Nearby

Visit An Office Nearby

Our attorneys have offices throughout Northern California. You can call or stop by.

San Jose Personal Injury Office, 1625 The Alameda #511, San Jose, CA 95126

Oakland Personal Injury Office, 11 Embarcadero West #133, Oakland, CA 94607

San Francisco Personal Injury Office, 220 Montgomery St #2100, San Francisco, CA 94105

Berkeley Personal Injury Office, 1214 Fourth St, Berkeley, CA 94710

Antioch Personal Injury Office, 5109 Lone Tree Wy #B, Antioch, CA 94531

Concord Personal Injury Office, 2801 Concord Blvd, Concord, CA 94519

Fairfield Personal Injury Office, 737 Jefferson St, Fairfield, CA 94533

Fremont Personal Injury Office, 39159 Paseo Padre Pkwy Suite 112, Fremont, CA 94538

Fresno Personal Injury Office, 433 E Keats Ave #11, Fresno, CA 93710

Gilroy Personal Injury Office, 7787 Monterey Hwy Suite # 104, Gilroy, CA 95020

Hayward Personal Injury Office, 1728 B St, Hayward, CA 94541

Orinda Personal Injury Office, 2 Orinda Theatre Square #230, Orinda, CA 94563

Pleasanton Personal Injury Office, 344 Division St Suite 204, Pleasanton, CA 94566

Richmond Personal Injury Office, 653 S 31st St #1, Richmond, CA 94804

Sacramento Personal Injury Office, 2410 Fair Oaks Blvd # 125, Sacramento, CA 95825

Stockton Personal Injury Office, 6653 Embarcadero Dr Ste. U, Stockton, CA 95219

Walnut Creek Personal Injury Office, 2950 Buskirk Ave #300, Walnut Creek, CA 94596

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to common questions we get asked frequently pertaining to wrongful death cases.

What is a wrongful death lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit is a legal case where someone sues another person because they believe that person is responsible for the death of a loved one. This can happen when someone dies because of someone else’s actions or because they didn’t take proper care. The person suing is usually a family member or a representative of the person who died. They are trying to get money to pay for things like medical bills, funeral costs, and other expenses related to the death. The person being sued is the one who is believed to have caused the death. The lawsuit is not about punishing the person being sued, but about getting money to help the family of the person who died.


There are a lot of moving parts with a lawsuit. In this article, we explore the potential damages you can seek and how much money you may get.


We recommend contacting the best wrongful death law firms in your local area for a case review, and make sure you file the case within the time period that you’re allowed to file the case in. Generally two years from the date of the death if you are an adult and if it’s not against a public entity and then other specific time limitations that differ. Once you’ve determined that, the next step is filing a lawsuit in the proper court, and the proper court is going to be either where the accident happened or where one of the people responsible for the accident lives.

GJEL is available 24/7 for a free case review – call 1-866-292-9907 now.


Now, before you file a lawsuit it is important to determine if you are one of those people who is entitled to file a lawsuit. Certain categories of relatives are always eligible to file a wrongful death case. That is a child, a spouse, or a dependent parent. A dependent parent is defined as a parent who is receiving some sort of financial assistance from the deceased person.

If there is no living spouse and if there are no living children, then the parents can recover whether or not they are dependent. And then if there are no dependent parents, no spouse, and in addition to that no children, the California probate code determines what people are then entitled to recover, including siblings, cousins, and on down the line. We recommend working with law firms for wrongful death to help you navigate through the process.


An effective wrongful death lawsuit can take some time. It’s essential that enough time is allotted to conduct a thorough investigation to understand all of the facts of the case including the responsible parties.

In some cases, the liability in a wrongful death case can be clear-cut. For example, if a FedEx truck driver was intoxicated and hit another car causing a death, it might be easier to assign liability to the responsible party.

Other cases require more evidence though. One example of this would be a fatal slip and fall accident due to unsafe conditions at a grocery store. In this case, we may need to interview more witnesses, get security footage, and research records on past incidents.

But even then, the insurance company that’s responsible to pay for the damages may not offer a reasonable settlement for the damages.


An attorney for wrongful death cases may also need to bring in an expert witness to testify about the dangers that caused the accident.
These cases typically go to a jury trial and the entire process can last from 1-2 years on average. If insurance companies don’t offer the full amount of the policy they can open the limit of the policy up and a jury can decide how much compensation you should receive. If you’re looking to maximize the value of your case it’s one reason you need to work with an experienced wrongful death compensation lawyer.

In our experience, most wrongful death cases go to trial because insurance companies offer unfair settlements or try to get you to settle quickly. We will advocate for you to get the best result.


At GJEL, our pro bono wrongful death lawyers don’t charge any fees unless and until we win your case. There is no money out of pocket and we will fund your case to help get the maximum result.

Please review our results from similar cases here.


California wrongful death attorneys evaluate the evidence for the particular accident to help us determine exactly what happened at the time, depositions of witnesses and involved parties are taken, all of which combine to allow us to develop a solid case that fault for the accident was on those responsible parties that we are bringing suit against.

The damages in a wrongful death case, however, are proven differently to a great extent than in a personal injury case.

Sometimes there’s a medical issue as to whether or not the accident in question led directly to the death of a loved one, but most of the time it’s pretty clear unfortunately from the accident what happened. Where necessary, however, we will retain the necessary consultants to prove that it was this accident, not some preexisting condition that led to this person’s tragic death. Talk to our wrongful death attorneys in walnut creek CA today.


There are many ways to find a wrongful death lawyer and depending on your network you may get a direct referral. Whether you were referred to a lawyer by friends or family or you found them online, you should make sure to ask the right questions to see if they’re a good fit for your case. Here are some of the things you should look into:
– Do they have strong past case results as a wrongful death lawyer?
– Have they won awards?
– How happy were their past clients?
– What do their online reviews say?


The California civil statute on wrongful death claims provides that only certain individuals are eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Specifically, the following parties can bring a wrongful death claim:

– The deceased person’s surviving spouse,
– The deceased person’s surviving domestic partner, and
– The deceased person’s surviving children and grandchildren.

In the event that there is no surviving person who falls into any of these categories (sometimes referred to as the “line of descent”), a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed by someone who would be entitled under California law to inherit the deceased person’s property. This may include the deceased person’s parents or siblings, depending on who is alive at the time of the deceased person’s passing.

Our wrongful death attorneys in California can help you understand who can file a wrongful death lawsuit and how any proceeds from the lawsuit will be distributed amongst surviving family members.

Customer reviews of GJEL Accident Attorneys

See more GJEL Reviews

Types of Wrongful Death Matters We Handle

Here are the cases we typically handle involving a wrongful death:

  • DUI Cases. We are wrongful death dui attorney’s with vast experience.
  • Accidental Deaths. We have some of the highest rated California accidental death lawyers.

Cases we typically don’t handle

  • We are not medical Malpractice wrongful death lawyers

If you’re in California and searching for “wrongful death lawyers near me,” contact GJEL Accident Attorneys. With a 99% success rate and over $950M recovered, our top-tier legal services provide support in difficult times.

Written by Andy Gillin. Last Updated 04/15/2024