Wrongful Death

Personal injury trial lawyer Robert L. Meissner represents family members in wrongful death actions in Northern California and around the Sacramento area.  Contact Robert Meissner because you have rights that he, and no insurance adjuster, will advise you of.


When a person dies due to the negligence or wrongful acts of another party, the family members of the victim may bring a lawsuit on his or her behalf.  California’s wrongful death statute spells out which family members may bring a suit, and in what order of priority.  For instance, if there is no spouse, child, or living parents, then siblings, nieces or nephews, grandparents, or the deceased’s next of kin may be eligible to bring an action.


Since the plaintiff is the surviving family member and not the decedent, the damages available in a wrongful death case are meant to compensate for the damages suffered by the family member, not the damages suffered by the decedent.  Recoverable damages include:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of financial support the decedent would have provided
  • Loss of gifts the decedent would have given
  • Loss of household services
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of companionship (for a spouse-plaintiff)
  • Loss of training and guidance (for a child-plaintiff)

Sometimes a person survives an accident, so the person has a cause of action for negligence, but then the person dies before filing suit or before the suit is resolved.  In that case, surviving family members or the representative of the estate can either bring a new suit, or continue the suit on behalf of the deceased victim.  Known as a survival action, this is distinct from a wrongful death suit, and as in a regular personal injury lawsuit, is for recoverable damages that were personal to the victim.


Oftentimes, wrongful death cases and survival actions are tried as one case before the courts.  However, differences in the types of damages allowed and the statute of limitations for the two types of cases can pose procedural and substantive difficulties for the untrained attorney.  Robert L. Meissner has been handling personal injury lawsuits, including wrongful death actions, in Northern California for fourteen years.


If you have lost a loved one as the result of another’s negligence or wrongful act call our Sacramento accident lawyer at 916.863.2900 or use our online form and contact us for a free initial consultation today!