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California Wrongful Death

CALIFORNIA WRONGFUL DEATH LAWYER

MICHAEL REHM - (800) 978-0754

FREE CONSULTATIONS

A wrongful death is a death caused by another person for reasons that are not legally justified. Murder causes a wrongful death, but California law classifies a death as wrongful even if death was not the intended result of the other person's actions.

Negligence is the leading cause of wrongful death in California. While there were almost 1,700 murders in California in 2019, more than 3,600 deaths in 2019 were caused by careless drivers. Other wrongful deaths are attributable to defective products, accidental gunshots, medical malpractice, and dangerous property conditions.

Wrongful Traffic Accident Deaths in California

Traffic accidents claimed the lives of thousands of California drivers, passengers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians in 2019. Of 3,606 California traffic fatalities:

  • 164 victims were teenagers.
  • 620 victims in passenger vehicles were not wearing a seat belt and harness.
  • 1,066 victims were involved in collisions where at least one driver was alcohol-impaired.

The counties with the highest number of traffic fatalities in 2019 were:

County

Traffic Fatalities

Los Angeles

     724

San Bernardino

     328

Riverside

     288

San Diego

     252

Orange

     179

Sacramento

     178

The smallest counties usually have the fewest traffic fatalities. In 2019, as in most years, every California county had at least one fatal traffic accident. Alpine County, with 2 fatalities, had the fewest.

Occupants of passenger cars are protected from fatal injuries by seat belts and harnesses, airbags, and crumple zones. Unfortunately, occupants have less protection in side impact (T-bone) collisions and crashes that produce rollovers. A high-speed head-on collision with a heavy vehicle, including a tractor-trailer or a dump truck, will often defeat the protections the manufacturers build into cars.

Wrongful Motorcycle Deaths in California

Almost 4% of California motorcycle accidents are fatal. Only 1% of California collisions involving only cars or light trucks result in fatal injuries.

Five hundred motorcycle riders (including passengers) died in California traffic accidents in 2019. During most years since 2015, the number of fatalities has been closer to 550.

The California counties with the highest numbers of fatal motorcycle accidents in 2019 were:

County

Fatalities 2019

   

Los Angeles

   107

San Diego

     47

San Bernardino

     42

Riverside

     40

Orange

     35

Sacramento

     26

Kern

     20

Motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of death by 37%. Unfortunately, even the best helmet cannot provide full protection against traumatic brain injuries caused by a high-speed collision. Helmets provide no protection against a broken neck or crushed lungs. Even when bikers walk away from an accident, road rash that becomes infected can cause sepsis, a widespread infection that is often fatal.

Wrongful Pedestrian Deaths in California

Pedestrians are at risk whenever they cross a street, whether or not they are in a crosswalk. Some pedestrians are killed while walking on the side of the road. Distracted and intoxicated drivers too often fail to see pedestrians until the collision occurs.

In 2019, 972 victims of fatal California traffic accidents were pedestrians. The California counties with the highest number of pedestrian accident fatalities in 2019 were:

County

Fatalities 2019

   

Los Angeles

   287

San Diego

     90

San Bernardino

     83

Riverside

     69

Sacramento

     58

Orange

     54

Santa Clara

     43

Unlike passenger vehicle occupants, pedestrians are not surrounded by a steel cage. Unlike motorcyclists or bicycle riders, pedestrians rarely wear helmets. Not surprisingly, traumatic brain injuries are a leading cause of pedestrian deaths. Blood loss, organ damage, and broken necks are also tragic outcomes of pedestrian collisions.

Wrongful Bicycle Accident Deaths in California

Fatal bicycle accidents occur throughout California. In 2019, 133 bicycle riders died in a collision with a motor vehicle.

While many California communities have tried to become bicycle-friendly, the results have been mixed. The California counties with the highest number of bicycle accident fatalities in 2019 were:

County

Fatalities 2019

   

Los Angeles

   42

Orange

   15

Kern

     9

Fresno

     8

San Diego

     8

San Joaquin

     8

Santa Clara

     7

San Bernardino

     7

Like pedestrians, bicyclists have little protection against fatal injuries. While a bicycle helmet provides moderate protection against brain injuries, a high-speed collision may defeat that protection. No helmet protects against irreparable damage to internal organs, fatal neck injuries, or death caused by internal bleeding.

California Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Any negligent act can cause a wrongful death. Leaving a loaded gun where a child can find it is careless act that invites disaster. Failing to cover or fence in a swimming pool contributes to accidental drownings of children every year.

Broken stair treads and missing handrails can cause deadly falls, particularly when victims are older. Bystanders at construction sites die when poorly maintained scaffolding collapses and when careless workers drop tools from a height.

In California, only certain relatives and estates can pursue wrongful death claims. California Wrongful Death Lawyer Michael Rehm can help loved ones seek justice when a family member's death is another person's fault. To find out how, call (800) 978-0754 for a free consultation with Attorney Rehm.

MICHAEL REHM - (800) 978-0754

FREE CONSULTATIONS

Southern California Office & Areas Served:

402 W Broadway; Suite 400 San Diego, CA 92101 Phone: (619) 787-3456 Areas Served: San Diego, Vista, Chula Vista, El Cajon, Escondido, San Marcos, Oceanside, Carlsbad, Encinitas, El Centro, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Santa Clarita, Glendale, Lancaster, Palmdale, Pomona, Torrance, Pasadena, El Monte, Downey, West Covina, Norwalk, Burbank, Anaheim, Santa Ana, Irvine, Huntington Beach, Garden Grove, Costa Mesa, Riverside, Corona, Moreno Valley, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Ventura, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles, Temecula, Bakersfield, Clovis, and everywhere in between.

Bay Area Office and Areas Served

101 Cooper Street; Suite 200 Santa Cruz, CA 95060 Phone: (831) 431-0986 Areas Served: Santa Cruz, Aptos, Capitola, Watsonville, Salinas, Monterey, Seaside, Carmel, San Francisco, Oakland, Fremont, Hayward, Berkeley, Livermore, Concord, Richmond, Walnut Creek, Antioch, San Rafael, Novato, San Jose, Morgan Hill, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Palo Alto, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Gatos, Napa, Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Fairfield, Vallejo, Vacaville, Dixon, Solano County, San Benito, Daly City, San Mateo, South San Francisco, Redwood City, Belmont, San Carlos, San Bruno, Pleasanton, Union City, San Leandro, Milpitas, Pittsburg, Danville, Rohnert Park and the entire Bay Area.

Northern California Office & Areas Served

333 University Avenue; Suite 200 Sacramento, CA 95825 Phone: (916) 233-7346 Areas Served: Sacramento, Elk Grove, Antelope, Citrus Heights, Carmichael, the friendly confines of Land Park, Folsom, Yolo, Woodland, West Sacramento, Davis, Placerville, South Lake Tahoe, Cameron Park, El Dorado Hills, Auburn, Roseville, Rocklin, Lincoln, Yuba City, Marysville, Wheatland, Colusa, San Joaquin County, Lodi, Manteca, Stockton, Tracy, Lathrop, Modesto, Turlock, Oakdale, Stanislaus County, Humboldt County, Arcata, Mckinleyville, Fortuna, Eureka, Butte County, Oroville, Paradise, Chico, Mendocino, Ukiah, Colusa, Shasta County, Redding, Calaveras, Yreka, Amador, Jackson, Lassen, Susanville, Plumas County, Quincy, Nevada County, Grass Valley, Nevada City, Truckee, Lakeport, Sonora, Madera, Crescent City, Trinity, and all of Northern California.