The death of a child is probably the worst tragedy any parent can experience. The loss is devastating whether the deceased child is a minor or an adult. The pain and confusion is often even worse when someone else’s carelessness or negligence causes the death. We call that “wrongful death,” or in other words, the “death of a person caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another.” See CALIFORNIA CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE SECTION 377.60 . The wrongful death can be caused by a car accident, medical malpractice, construction site negligence, defective maintenance and repairs of property, defective product liability, or many other fatal accidents. The party at fault can be a person, a company, or a government entity such as the city or state. The laws defining who can sue, and what damages can be recovered, vary from state to state. California has specific wrongful death statutes that provide many of the answers to these questions and set out the rules for wrongful death claims. The good news is that California’s wrongful death statutes generally allow parents to sue and recover damages if the deceased victim has no surviving children, or if the parents were financially dependent on the decedent. This is an oversimplification of a very complicated and important body of law, but the overall conclusion is that parents should seek legal representation to determine and enforce their legal rights when a loved one dies due to another person’s fault.


As described above, parents can sue for wrongful death, but when do they have a case? I find that one of the most important parts of being a wrongful death lawyer is that I help answer the question, “what happened?” That is one thing every parent wants to find out … why, who caused this tragedy, what could have been done to prevent this, and how can we make sure this never happens again. I investigate and find answers to these most important questions. I gather the evidence, photographs, surveillance videos, witness statements, police reports, repair and maintenance records. I use trusted private investigators to locate and interview witnesses, and perform background checks on the suspected wrongdoers. A very thorough investigation by an experienced wrongful death lawyer is necessary, especially because the best witness, the deceased loved one, is obviously unavailable and can’t tell us what happened. I am able to bring some comfort to families by gathering the evidence and proving who caused their child’s untimely death.


I also get parents monetary compensation from the party at fault. Monetary damages are often the only tool that will force a company to change a dangerous policy or practice for example. The parents must be reimbursed for the medical expenses related to the final injury or illness. The financial compensation to grieving parents is also often necessary to cover the expenses of an appropriate funeral and replace the monetary and non-monetary contributions that the deceased loved one previously contributed to the family. The payment of damages also attempts to compensate parents for their emotional losses. The law allows parents and other relatives to recover compensation for the lost love, affection, attention, community, moral support, and guidance.


The law firm of Chakmakis & Associates specializes in wrongful death cases, representing parents, children, and other relatives. Chakmakis Law has successfully recovered compensation for wrongful death cases involving car accidents, truck crashes, premises liability, alcohol related incidents, and construction site death.

Source: California Code of Civil Procedure, Wrongful Death Law

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