Call for a Free, Confidential Consultation 24/7

What Qualifies as a Wrongful Death Claim or Lawsuit?

When you lose a loved one unexpectedly, it can feel like your whole world is crumbling. Trying to navigate your next steps can feel totally overwhelming, and if an individual or business is responsible for the wrongful death, you may need to seek legal counsel sooner rather than later, especially to interview witnesses or secure/preserve possible evidence.

Cohn & Swartzon, a personal injury law firm based in Southern California, has litigated many wrongful death lawsuits for individuals and families. Even though it’s clear to us after an initial assessment whether or not a case has merit, we recognize that most people have not studied these issues. With that in mind, let’s discuss what a wrongful death lawsuit is and the elements that a favorable outcome requires.

What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

In California, a wrongful death claim can be made on the grounds that someone’s negligence, recklessness, or careless actions caused the untimely death of your loved one. 

According to state law, a wrongful death lawsuit must be brought within two years from the date of death unless certain important exceptions apply such as if a government or public entity was involved, which can significantly shorten the statute of limitations to only six (6) months!  Wrongful death actions are claims for compensation for the economic and non-economic damages that the deceased’s family has suffered. 

Common causes of wrongful death include:

Elements of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Specific elements are necessary to prove wrongful death in California. You will need to prove that the following four statements are true:

  1. Duty of Care: The defendant had a foreseeable duty to prevent a potential incident 
  2. Breach of Duty: The defendant failed and breached their duty of care
  3. Causation: The breach of the duty led to the incident that caused the death
  4. Damages: The death created losses for you and your other claimants

Proving these elements in a trial can be extremely complicated, and it’s all but impossible to maximize potential compensation without the right legal representation by your side.

Take Timely Action With Cohn & Swartzon

Getting legal help may be far from your mind after suffering through a wrongful death, but as we mentioned above, it’s important to explore your options in a timely manner to take legal action before the statute of limitations runs out.

Further, a wrongful death lawyer can step in to collect evidence and assist with other time-consuming steps that a wrongful death lawsuit requires.

The legal team at Cohn & Swartzon has filed and successfully litigated wrongful death lawsuits for individuals and families throughout Southern California. We are acutely aware of the suffering you are going through, and we aim to provide candid and compassionate counsel to help you secure compensation and start down the road to recovery.

“Defendants and their insurance companies often try to minimize the suffering and damages that plaintiffs are facing in these situations to reduce the amount of a potential settlement. We have experience on their side of the table, and we know what it takes to secure what our clients are entitled to in these unfortunate circumstances.”

– Saar Swartzon, Founding Partner & Personal Injury Attorney

If you have recently lost a loved one, we are very sorry for your loss. If you are considering legal action, we strongly recommend speaking with a qualified attorney as soon as possible. 

Cohn & Swartzon offers free assessments for wrongful death cases. Contact us now to get started.



This website ( constitutes “advertising” as that term is defined in California Business and Professions Code section 6157(c) and is also a “communication” as set forth by California Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 7.1.

Agreement: By using Cohn & Swartzon’s website ( and information, documents, videos and other materials contained herein, you agree you have read and will abide by the following terms and conditions of use. This website is published for informational purposes only. Cohn & Swartzon will not be held liable or accountable if you fail to read or abide by the terms contained herein. If you do not agree to these terms, discontinue use of this site immediately. Even if you bookmark a particular portion of this site and bypass this Agreement, your use of this site still binds you to the terms contained herein. Cohn & Swartzon reserves the right to change/modify these terms at any time.

1. THERE IS NO ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP CREATED BY YOUR USE OF, OR COMMUNICATION THROUGH, THIS WEBSITE. The submission of a legal inquiry, contact or email through this website, or telephone call, facsimile or other communication through telephone number(s) listed on this site will not and does not create an attorney-client relationship. No attorney-client relationship will be formed with Cohn & Swartzon or its attorneys unless there is a fully signed and dated written retainer agreement between all parties.

2. Any information provided through or via this website by anyone who is not a current, retained client of Cohn & Swartzon is NOT CONFIDENTIAL OR PRIVILEGED and Cohn & Swartzon is not under any duty to keep such information confidential or privileged. Unless and until a formal attorney client relationship exists, Cohn & Swartzon will assume that any information is not confidential and will not be held liable or accountable for the security and privacy of such information or communication.

3. The information, documents, videos and other materials contained in this website is of a general nature and is NOT INTENDED TO CONVEY OR CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE. In addition, the information, documents, videos and other materials contained in this website does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Cohn & Swartzon or its attorneys, employees or clients. There is no guarantee that the information provided is correct, complete, or current, and is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a proper, qualified attorney or law firm. You should not act or rely on any such information without first obtaining legal advice from a proper, qualified attorney or law firm. Hiring an attorney or law firm is an extremely important decision with serious ramifications that should not be based solely upon information in this website, communications or advertisements.

4. The case results portrayed in this website were dependent on the facts of each specific case and the results will differ if based upon different facts.

5. This website may contain links to other sources and website but are not intended to imply that Cohn & Swartzon is legally authorized to use or associated with any registered trademark, logo, legal or official seal, or copyrighted symbol that may be reflected in the links.

6. To the extent the State Bar Rules in your jurisdiction require Cohn & Swartzon to designate a principal office and/or a single attorney responsible for this website, Cohn & Swartzon, P.C. designates its office in Orange County, California, as its principal office. 

7. The contents of this website may constitute advertising under the applicable laws and ethical rules of some jurisdictions. If this website fails to comply with the applicable laws and ethical rules of the state from which you view this website, Cohn & Swartzon, P.C. does not wish to represent you. Unless otherwise noted, the attorneys listed on this website are not certified by the boards of legal specialization of any state or governmental agency. The attorneys listed herein are licensed to practice only in the jurisdictions listed in their biographies.

8. Use of this website is at your own risk. This website and all services, information, documents, videos and materials available on or through this site are provided solely “as is” and without any express representations or warranties of any kind. Cohn & Swartzon, P.C. expressly disclaims all statutory or implied representations, warranties, terms, and conditions with respect to the site and all services, information, documents, videos and materials available on or through the site, including the representations and warranties of satisfactory quality, merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, non-infringement, and title. Cohn & Swartzon, P.C. makes no representation or warranty that the website will be accurate, complete, up-to-date or error-free. You hereby agree that you bear all risks associated with the use of the site, including any reliance on the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, content, materials on or available through this website.

9. Cohn & Swartzon, P.C. will not be liable for any indirect, incidental, consequential, special, exemplary, or punitive damages of any kind in connection with the site, nor for any damages for loss of profits, loss of use, loss of data, loss of other intangibles, loss of security of information you have provided in connection with your use of the site, or unauthorized interception of any such information by third parties. Further, Cohn & Swartzon, P.C. will not be liable for damages of any kind resulting from your use of the website or from any information or materials on the site.

10. The verdicts and settlements listed on this site are intended to be representative of cases handled by Cohn & Swartzon, P.C.. These listings are not a guarantee or prediction of the outcome of any other claims