Wrongful Death


Empathetic Legal Support for Grieving Families

Losing a loved one unexpectedly is one of the most difficult of all experiences. The thought that someone else’s negligence led to your loss, only magnifies your feelings of pain and sense of wellbeing.

At Dreyer Babich Buccola Wood Campora, we know nothing can fully compensate you for the loss of a family member. No amount of money can take away your grief. However, we can help you pursue maximum compensation to relieve you from the stress of future financial concerns and to provide you with the satisfaction from knowing that the wrongdoer was made to pay. We can also help make changes on a larger scale, so what has happened to you will not happen to anyone else.

Our Sacramento wrongful death attorneys are personable, caring advocates who will respond to your concerns as they arise. Our mission is to obtain justice for you and hold the at-fault party fully accountable for their actions.

If you are considering a wrongful death claim in Sacramento, we invite you to reach out to our team by calling (916) 999-9132 or sending us a message online. Our wrongful death lawyers are here to explain your options and help you get started.

Understanding Wrongful Death Litigation and Civil Liability

A wrongful death suit is available for surviving family members who believe their loved one died as a result of negligence or misconduct. This civil action seeks to hold at-fault parties liable regardless of whether they are held criminally accountable. In other words, someone can be held liable for the wrongful death of an individual without facing criminal charges.

Various situations could give rise to this action, such as:

Key Elements of a Successful Wrongful Death Claim

In order to have a basis for a wrongful death case, the plaintiff must show four general conditions:

  • The first is that somebody must be dead.
  • The second is that the death was the result of negligence or an intent to cause harm to the deceased.
  • The third is that there are family members who are suffering monetarily on account of the death.
  • The last is that there must be a representative that represents the estate of the deceased.

While the person filing a wrongful death claim has the burden of proof and must show all elements are present, the burden of proof is not as difficult as in other types of cases. In criminal cases, for example, the prosecution usually has to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. In a wrongful death case, the standard is to show a preponderance of the evidence. A preponderance of evidence means simply showing that there is a very high likelihood that something happened.

The bottom line with wrongful death cases is that the court will want to see clear proof that the situation occurred the way claimed and that it led to a death causing financial hardship to the surviving family members.

What are the Eligibility Requirements for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in California?

When negligence causes the death of an innocent victim, the decedent’s survivors have standing to file a wrongful death case. However, in most states, there are restrictions on who can sue.

California allows wrongful death suits from:

  • A spouse or domestic partner
  • Children
  • Grandchildren (if the decedent’s children are all deceased)
  • Those who were financially assisted by the decedent

In some circumstances:

  • A “putative spouse”
  • Stepchildren
  • Parents
  • Legal guardians
  • And others

Each state has different rules regarding who can bring a wrongful death claim, so depending on where you are, your rights may vary. Our wrongful death attorneys in Sacramento can help you understand the laws that will affect you and determine whether you are eligible to bring a case. Call Dreyer Babich Buccola Wood Campora to learn more.

Comparing Wrongful Death Claims and Survival Actions

A wrongful death claim allows you to recover compensation for losses you have or will face, due to the death of your loved one, but in some states, these claims do not cover damages accrued before death, such as hospital bills or the decedent’s pre-death pain and suffering. California is one such state in which the survivors of the decedent must file both a wrongful death claim and a survival action to fully recover for their losses.

Scope of Compensation in Wrongful Death Claims

Losing is a loved one has significant costs both, monetarily and emotionally. The goal of pursuing a wrongful death claim is to “make whole” the survivors of the decedent.

They address damages like:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of past and future wages and benefits that have been earned by the decedent
  • Loss of retirement benefits
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Loss of services
  • Loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, and more
  • Loss of consortium

Understanding Survival Actions and Their Benefits

A survival action, on the other hand, is meant to address the damages the decedent suffered before their death. They are often brought by a representative of the decedent’s estate, regardless of whether that person is directly related to the decedent.

If your loved one was injured and hospitalized for a significant period before passing away, the damages recoverable through a survival action may be significant. If they passed away at the scene of the accident, the decedent’s estate may only have limited rights to bring a survival action. After hearing what happened, our attorneys can help you understand your rights and recommend a particular litigation strategy.

Damages recoverable in survival actions are:

  • Medical bills
  • Property damage
  • A decedent’s pre-death pain and suffering

Proven Success in Securing Justice and Maximum Compensation

We have represented hundreds of families throughout California and even nationwide in wrongful death cases. Here are only a few of the multimillion-dollar case results we have obtained:

  • $70 Million - This action involved a trial against Ford Motor Company for the wrongful death of a 45-year-old man, after a defective tire caused a rollover accident.
  • $19.2 Million - This case involved a faulty tire repair resulting in wrongful death. This verdict is the largest compensatory damage verdict ever in San Diego County.
  • $16.6 Million - This case involved the highly publicized death of a 28-year-old mother who participated in a contest resulting in the decedent consuming a large quantity of water that ultimately resulted in significant brain hemorrhaging and her death.
  • $14 Million - Two boys died after jumping into a water canal in an attempt to rescue a dog. As the boys climbed out of the canal, they grasped an energized metal railing and were electrocuted.
  • $6.7 Million - Plaintiff was on a motorcycle and was killed when the defendant driver, an employee of Sacramento Rendering Company, pulled out in front of him.
  • $6.7 Million - A 60-meter meteorological evaluation tower (MET) that had been erected in April 2009 took the life of well-known and respected Northern California agricultural aviator Steve Allen.
  • $6.5 Million - This was a wrongful death case involving a 33-year-old off-duty sheriff’s deputy on his way to work.
  • $6 Million – Truck turned left in front of oncoming motorcyclist who was killed and initially blamed for driving too fast.
  • $5.5 Million - This action dealt with a marine/boating incident where a shuttle boat pulled away before our client was able to get onto the shuttle, causing her to fall between the two vessels.
  • Confidential Settlement – This wrongful death case was against Polaris for a young woman who died of her burns.

Compassionate Legal Guidance for Your Wrongful Death Claim in Sacramento

For clear, honest counsel about your family’s legal options after the death of a loved one, call our lawyers. We offer caring guidance backed by thorough explanations of your rights. Deciding how to proceed after a loved one’s death is difficult, and we do what we can to make handling the legal aspects as pain-free as possible.

For over 35 years, our Sacramento wrongful death lawyers have helped people like you fight for justice after losing a loved one. When you need us, we are here.

Contact Dreyer Babich Buccola Wood Campora Today at (916) 999-9132 for a Free Consultation


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