Compassionate Santa Rosa Wrongful Death Attorney With 20+ Years Experience

Representing Families in Crisis in Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Windsor, Healdsburg , and Sonoma California

Family alongside a Santa Rosa wrongful death lawyer at Henderson LawIf you lost a loved one in an accident or under any other circumstances in which you believe someone else may have been to blame, it is important that you speak with a Santa Rosa wrongful death lawyer. You and your family may be entitled to significant compensation. While no amount of money can truly compensate you for what you have lost, asserting your legal rights is a critical step in the slow and difficult process of moving on.

Decades of Experience and Millions Recovered for Victims and Their Families

A flower symbolizing a wrongful death of a loved one in Santa Rosa.Michael Henderson is an experienced accident lawyer who has recovered tens of millions of dollars for victims and their families. He is ranked among the Top 100 Trial Lawyers by The National Trial Lawyers Association, and he has received the highest-possible ratings from his clients and his peers in the Northern California legal community. Families trust Michael in times of crisis, and other lawyers call on Michael for help when their clients’ financial futures are on the line.

While these cases share certain similarities with injury claims (for example, most wrongful death claims result in financial settlements with the insurance companies), there are some unique issues that require the knowledge and insights of a personal injury attorney with specific experience in these matters. Michael has represented numerous families grieving the loss of loved ones, and he can help make sure you and your family recover just compensation.

“Being in a lawsuit is truly no fun, most aren’t familiar with terms used, the process, and realistic expectations of results. Mr. Henderson, upon first meeting him was very thorough and set the expectations as to what would become of my [case]… I have no doubt [that my settlement] was more to do with whom I chose as my representation. I would advise anyone looking for a candid, detail-oriented, and trustworthy [attorney] to look no further than Henderson Law.”

Elements of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

As with personal injury cases, the plaintiff or individual filing the lawsuit must prove their claim. While a wrongful death action can be based on someone’s intentional, willful, or criminal acts, most are based on another person’s negligence. 

To prove the defendant’s negligence caused the death of the decedent, you must prove the following:

  • The defendant owed the decedent a reasonable duty of care,
  • The defendant breached that duty,
  • The defendant’s breach caused the decedent’s death, and 
  • You suffered damages as a result. 

You must establish all of these elements to be successful. In other words, it is not enough to show the defendant negligently caused your loved one’s death. You must show that you suffered damages and financial loss because of that.

It may sound straightforward, but proving the connection between the defendant’s actions and your damages requires extensive investigation and discovery. These cases can become particularly complex when multiple parties are involved or the cause of the accident is initially unclear. Our seasoned Santa Rosa wrongful death lawyers are ready to assist you.

What Compensation Is Available in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Similar to the requisite elements of a wrongful death claim, the compensation in a wrongful death action is similar to most personal injury lawsuits, though there are some unique damages as well. 

Damages available in wrongful death actions but not in personal injury lawsuits include:

  • Funeral and burial expenses,
  • Lost future earnings,
  • Lost anticipated inheritance,
  • The value of lost companionship,
  • Lost value of household services,
  • Lost value of childcare, and
  • The emotional pain and suffering experienced by the victim’s surviving family members.

In addition to these wrongful death-specific damages, you can seek compensation for other economic and noneconomic damages.

Economic Damages

In a wrongful death lawsuit, you can seek compensation for actual calculable financial losses such as medical expenses, property damage, and lost wages.

Importantly, you can also seek compensation for future lost wages in a wrongful death claim. In other words, the lost anticipated earnings you will no longer receive because of your loved one’s death. This is particularly important if you are financially dependent on the decedent. For instance, if your deceased spouse paid the mortgage, grocery bill, household expenses, and school tuition, you can no longer rely on that anticipated income. 

Even if there is little dispute that you are entitled to future lost wages, there is almost always disagreement over the amount.

Courts and insurance carriers look to several factors to help calculate future lost income, including:

  • The age, health,  and presence of any pre-existing conditions at the time of decedent’s death;
  • The anticipated financial needs of the decedent’s spouse and minor children; and
  • The decedent’s earning capacity.

Ensuring you have the financial means necessary for your family’s future requires tough negotiations. Our Santa Rosa wrongful death attorney will advocate for you.

Noneconomic Damages

In a wrongful death case, you may also seek compensation for noneconomic damages, including:

  • Pain and suffering,
  • Emotional distress,
  • Mental anguish,
  • Loss of consortium, and
  • Loss of companionship and parental guidance. 

Our team will help you and your family receive justice and compensation for the loss of your loved one.

Wrongful Death Lawyer in Santa Rosa

At Henderson Law, we represent family members, entire families, and personal representatives in cases arising out of:

California Wrongful Death FAQs

Q: What is the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in California?

In most cases, the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in California is two years from the date of death. However, there are laws that shorten the time window for filing a claim in certain circumstances. For example, in cases of medical malpractice, the statute of limitations can be shortened to one year from the date of death, and claims against the government (i.e., for fatal collisions involving government vehicles) generally must be filed within six months of the fatal accident.

Q: Which family members are eligible to file claims in California?

Under California law, the family members who are eligible to seek compensation for a loved one’s wrongful death include:

  • Spouses and domestic partners

  • Children

  • Stepchildren, parents, and other family members who qualify as “dependents”

  • If the victim died without a surviving spouse or children, his or her heirs at law

The victim’s personal representative is also empowered to assert legal action on behalf of the family members who are eligible for compensation.

Q: How much does it cost to hire an attorney for a wrongful death claim?

With most law firms, including Henderson Law, the amount it costs to hire a Santa Rosa wrongful death lawyer for your claim depends on the amount of your financial recovery. This is because most firms handle these cases on a “contingency fee” basis. With contingency fees, you do not pay anything upfront. If your case is successful, your Santa Rosa wrongful death attorney retains a percentage of the amount recovered. If you do not recover anything (which is unusual when an experienced attorney has thoroughly vetted your case and chosen to represent you), you do not pay any legal fees.

Q: How do I know what is a fair settlement offer in my case?

When we take your case, we will conduct an analysis to determine not only how much you have already lost as a result of your loved one’s death, but how much you will lose in the future as well (i.e., loss of financial support). If we receive a settlement offer, we will help you understand (i) exactly how much you would take home, and (ii) what your chances are of securing a higher settlement or verdict. That way, you can make an informed decision about whether to accept a settlement or take your case to trial.

Speak with Santa Rosa Wrongful Death Lawyer Michael Henderson

If you would like more information about your rights with regard to filing a wrongful death claim in Northern California, contact Henderson Law in Santa Rosa, CA.

Our experienced legal practitioner also handles other types of cases, including:

To speak with attorney Michael Henderson personally about your case, please call or request a free case evaluation online today with an experienced Santa Rosa Wrongful death attorney.