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California Wrongful Death Attorneys

For immediate help or to get answers about a wrongful death damages claim, contact our experienced and trusted California wrongful death lawyers at 949-203-3814. We will discuss your options with you and if we are able to help you, we'll provide a no payment guarantee that if we don't win your wrongful death case, you won't pay.

In addition, we shield you from liability throughout your case by advancing all costs until your case settles. We have experienced wrongful death trial attorneys and litigation staff. This is important because not all wrongful death attorneys go to trial. We do.

Attorney John Bisnar Talks About California Wrongful Death Claims

Recovering from the loss of a family member is one of life's most difficult challenges. Following your loss, the weight of the new responsibilities that rest upon your shoulders may seem too difficult to bear. Our California wrongful death attorneys have assisted more than 6,000 clients since 1978 and have developed a 97.5% success rate while recovering hundreds of millions of dollars for those they represent.

We understand how to treat clients recovering from debilitating grief and will give you straight forward answers to help you put your life back on track. Whether you have a wrongful death damages case or not, you can count on Bisnar | Chase Personal Injury Attorneys to give you straight forward answers and advice to help you make the best decision for you and your family.

If you have lost a loved one as a result of someone's negligence, contact us today to take advantage of our free professional consultation.

Bisnar | Chase have represented California wrongful death victims for over 30 years. John Bisnar, managing partner, has instilled a passion for justice in every staff member and has set the bar for personal injury law firm standards of excellence across the nation. Brian Chase, senior partner, has achieved unrivalled courtroom success; in the last year alone he has recovered millions of dollars for his clients. In August of 2011, Brian obtained a record-breaking verdict for $24.7 million dollars.

Damages That Can Be Recovered From a CA Wrongful Death Claim

A California wrongful death claim can be complicated and particular, which is why it is so important to have an experienced wrongful death attorney on your side. As the survivor of a loved one, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit for the recovery of the following three kinds of damages:

  1. The loss of the love, companionship, comfort, affection, society, solace, moral support, and (if a spouse is a claimant) consortium of the decedent;
  2. The value of the household services the decedent would have provided in the future, if any, and
  3. The value of the financial support which the claimant would have received from the decedent but for the death.

After a loved one has passed away, there are only certain people who may file a wrongful-death claim. First in line are the surviving spouse, children, and surviving issue of deceased children of the decedent. These survivors can file separately or jointly. If these types of claimants do not exist, next in line are the person's:

  • parents;
  • then brothers and sisters;
  • then the children of deceased brothers and sisters;
  • then grandparents;
  • and then their lineal descendants

A second group of claimants, which are not covered in the first group are:

  • putative spouse (a person who can prove that he/she had good faith belief that they were married to the decedent, but were not married by law)
  • children of putative spouse
  • stepchildren
  • and parents of decedent

The only way that those qualified under the second group can file a wrongful death claim is if they can prove that they were dependent upon the decedent at the time of death.

The final class of claimant is any minor who can prove that they were a resident of the decedent's household for 180 days prior to the death and that they were dependent upon the decedent for at least 50% of their support at the time of death.

The Potential Value of a California Wrongful Death Claim

Sometimes, the value of a wrongful death claim is determined by the defendant's liability insurance coverage or his or her assets. However, an experienced California wrongful death attorney can help victims' families obtain maximum compensation by carefully examining the specific aspects of the case at hand. First, it may have to be determined if an estate should be created. When there are several individuals claiming compensation, a probate estate may be created. The wrongful death claim will then be brought in the name of the estate rather than the individual claimants.

Another important step in a wrongful death case is to establish the life expectancy of the decedent. Some of the factors that may be taken into consideration include the victim’s age, lifestyle, medical history and occupation. It can also be a challenge to determine how much financial support survivors lost as a result of their loved one’s death. This would require an assessment of the decedent’s employment and salary history, anticipated future wages including promotions, raises, etc.

Wrongful Death versus Murder

What is the difference between wrongful death and murder? Wrongful death lawsuits are a civil action. These are lawsuits brought forth by the deceased victim's estate or family members, most often, immediate family members. The claimants attempt to prove that the defendant was responsible or civilly liable for the deceased person's death as the result of a careless, deliberate or negligent act. The burden of proof is also different and lesser in civil lawsuits.

Murder or homicide cases on the other hand are criminal cases. The burden of proof in criminal cases is on the prosecution. The prosecutor must prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the person committed the murder. It is important to remember that the wrongdoer will be punished and ordered to pay restitution in a murder case. But only a civil wrongful death claim can help compensate victims’ families monetarily for the losses sustained.

Contacting an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney

The experienced wrongful death attorneys at Bisnar | Chase have more than 30 years of experience successfully handling complex wrongful death cases. We handle our cases not only with skill, but also with sensitivity and compassion. We understand what families are going through after a loved one’s death. We understand that no amount of money can bring back a beloved family member. But, we are here to help you through this difficult time and do everything in our power to help you get justice and fair compensation for your losses.

To determine if you are eligible in any category to file a California wrongful death claim, it is important to have a knowledgeable attorney on your side. By retaining a CA wrongful death attorney from Bisnar | Chase, you can be assured that we will take care of all the paperwork, research, and answer all of your questions. Please call our office for your free and confidential consultation with one of our wrongful death attorneys. We can help you answer any questions and tell you how to handle the case.

Call us at 949-203-3814 For a Free, No-Hassle, Confidential, No-Obligation Consultation.


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  • “I was in a serious auto accident when I was in law school. I had to hire a personal injury attorney and had a really bad experience.”

    John Bisnar

    on what made him want to become a personal injury attorney

  • “I went to law school knowing I wanted to be a personal injury attorney. I wanted my life’s work to have a positive impact on other people’s lives.”

    Brian Chase

    on what made him want to become a personal injury attorney

  • “Whatever the philosphy of the management is, is going to be carried through by the employees and it’s going to reflect on the experience the clients have.”

    John Bisnar

    on his philosophy on running a law firm

  • “Everybody either drives in a car or rides in a car, so when I do the auto defect cases I really feel like I’m making the world safer by making vehicles safer.”

    Brian Chase

    on why he focuses on auto defect cases

  • “The first thing we want to do with our clients is to relieve the stress. Make them feel comfortable. Treat them as an honored guest.”

    John Bisnar

    on how he would define superior client representation

  • “Corporate greed is a reality in our world and I see it time and time again. Especially, with the auto defect cases we focus on.”

    Brian Chase

    on corporate greed and how it affects the consumer

  • “You are dealing with people who are seriously injured or have lost a family member...Compassion is understanding someone else’s situation.”

    John Bisnar

    on the role compassion plays in his profession

  • “There are many, many defects in vehicles that can lead to life or death that could be fixed with a mere $40-$50 [on the assembly line].”

    Brian Chase

    on the shocking facts about the vehicles we drive

  • “...if [manufacturers] build a dangerous product and someone is seriously injured from that, some personal inury lawyer is going to call them on the carpet about it.”

    John Bisnar

    on how Bisnar | Chase has helped make the world a better place

  • “I’m convinced, because of all the lawsuits...the auto industry finally found out it was cheaper to fix the problem than to keep paying in the litigation.”

    Brian Chase

    on making the world a safer place

  • “I bring in the best employees that I can and I want them to have a workplace that is condusive to them doing their best work.”

    John Bisnar

    on the work environment created at Bisnar | Chase

  • “When you have a client come in that’s in a wheelchair...or you meet a wife who has lost their husband or they’ve lost their child, it’s diffucult not to get emotionally involved.”

    Brian Chase

    on the biggest challenges he faces as a personal injury lawyer

  • “...it is part of our civic responsibility and it is our great fortune to be in a position to be able to help support our community...”

    John Bisnar

    on the importance of giving back to the community

  • “My motivation of going to law school to have my life’s work help other people...when I see that come to fruition, I’m very pleased and very happy with that.”

    Brian Chase

    on the accomplishments he is most proud of

  • “Seeing the growth of my employees, seeing them mature professionally, personally, and grow into the great professionals they have become is tremendous.”

    John Bisnar

    on the greatest satisfaction derived from his work

  • “I was always jealous of doctors. They get to save lives and they get to heal. I don’t get to do that but I get to have a very big impact on another person’s life...”

    Brian Chase

    on the greatest satisfaction derived from his work

  • “There’s going to people that you meet, that you can mentor...You can make a difference in their lives, you can make a difference in their client’s lives.”

    John Bisnar

    on mentoring young attorneys

  • “I’m the president-elect this year and I’ll be the president next year of the Consumer Advocate Attorneys of California and I find that to be a rewarding thing...”

    Brian Chase

    on being an advocate for the people of California

  • “The Lakers have always been a winning organization, a class organization. I’ve used the Lakers as kind of a model for how to run my practice as well.”

    John Bisnar

    on his passions in life

  • “We try to figure out how we can help [our clients] get through what they’re going through emotionally. Because just getting them compensated is only part of the job.”

    Brian Chase

    on the role compassion plays in his profession

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Disclaimer: The legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of an attorney-client relationship. Any results set forth here were dependent on the facts of that case and the results will differ from case to case.

Bisnar | Chase serves all of California. In addition, we represent clients in other states through our associations with local law firms. Through the local firm, we will be admitted to practice law in their state, pro hac vice, meaning "for this particular occasion." When in our client's interest, we employ the local law firm (at no additional cost to our client) to assist us with routine court appearances and discovery proceedings to more efficiently pursue our client's cause.

Copyright © 1999- Bisnar | Chase Personal Injury Attorneys, LLP - All rights reserved. Location: 1301 Dove St. #120, Newport Beach, CA 92660 Tel: 949-203-3814

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