Losing a loved one is a tragic and difficult experience, especially when it happens as a result of someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing.

In such cases, the family of the deceased may be entitled to compensation through filing a California wrongful death lawsuit. However, pursuing such legal action can be complex and overwhelming. In this article, we will discuss how to get the compensation you deserve in a wrongful death case.

If you’re looking for a full guide on the entire wrongful death lawsuit process check out our article here.

Understanding Wrongful Death Cases

Before delving into the steps to take to get the compensation you deserve, it is essential to understand what a wrongful death case is.

A wrongful death case arises when someone dies as a result of another person’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional act. The surviving family members of the deceased can file a lawsuit seeking compensation for their loss.

Determine If You Have a Case

To pursue compensation in a wrongful death case, you must determine whether you have a valid claim.

In general, you must establish four key elements to prove a wrongful death case: duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages.

Duty refers to the legal obligation that the defendant owed to the deceased. Breach of duty means that the defendant failed to uphold that legal obligation, leading to the death of the victim.

Causation refers to the defendant’s actions or inactions that caused the death of the victim. Finally, damages refer to the losses that the surviving family members have suffered as a result of the victim’s death.

Our San Francisco Bay area wrongful death lawyers have helped hundreds of clients since 1972 with a 99% success rate.

Hire an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney

Wrongful death cases can be complex, and it is crucial to have an experienced attorney by your side to help you navigate the legal process.

A wrongful death attorney can help you gather evidence, file paperwork, and negotiate with insurance companies and other parties involved in the case. When choosing an attorney, look for someone with experience handling wrongful death cases and who has a successful track record of securing compensation for their clients.

Did you know GJEL has offices throughout Northern California? Our San Jose wrongful death attorneys were just recognized in Forbes for our hard work for our clients.

Gather Evidence

To build a strong case and get the compensation you deserve, you need to gather as much evidence as possible.

This includes police reports, witness statements, medical records, and any other documentation that can help prove your case. Your attorney can assist you in obtaining this evidence and in presenting it effectively in court.

File Your Lawsuit

Once you have gathered sufficient evidence, your attorney can help you file your lawsuit. The lawsuit must be filed within a specific timeframe known as the statute of limitations.

The statute of limitations varies depending on the state and the circumstances of the case, so it is essential to consult with an attorney as soon as possible to avoid missing the deadline.

You can learn about all of the California wrongful death statute of limitations here.

Negotiate a Settlement

In some cases, it may be possible to reach a settlement with the defendant or their insurance company without going to trial.

A settlement is an agreement in which the defendant agrees to pay a certain amount of compensation in exchange for dropping the lawsuit. Your attorney can help you negotiate a fair settlement that covers your losses, including medical bills, funeral expenses, lost income, and emotional distress.

Note: GJEL has recovered over $950 million for our clients. You can read about all of our recent wrongful death settlements and verdict examples here.

Go to Trial

If a settlement cannot be reached, the case will go to trial. During the trial, both sides will present evidence and arguments to a judge or jury, who will ultimately decide whether the defendant is liable and, if so, how much compensation they should pay.

Your attorney will represent you during the trial and work to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.


Losing a loved one is never easy, and pursuing a wrongful death case can be overwhelming. However, with the help of an experienced attorney, you can get the compensation you deserve and hold those responsible for your loved one’s death accountable. Remember to gather evidence, file your lawsuit within the statute of limitations, negotiate a fair settlement, and be prepared to