Fresno Wrongful Death Lawyer

Contact us for your free, no-obligation case consultation
  • 25 + Years of Experience

    When you hire us, you’re adding unmatched experience to your team, ensuring you get the best possible outcome.

  • 99% Win Rate

    Our firm maintains an impressive 99% win rate, even while accepting difficult cases other law firms have turned away.

  • No Upfront Fees

    We are not afraid of trial, and insurance companies know this. If it’s in your best interest, we are always trial ready.

FRESNO WRONGFUL DEATH LAWYER

A wrongful death occurs when the negligence of another person, business or government entity causes someone to lose their life. For example, if a drunk driver crashes into your spouse or parent’s vehicle and this causes a fatality, you can take legal action. California law has very specific guidelines about who is eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit, and the skilled team at The May Firm will help you determine who in your family is best suited to file a case.

If a loved one’s life has been taken away by the negligence of another, contact the best Fresno wrongful death lawyer at The May Firm today. At The May Firm, our team of Fresno wrongful death lawyers can help you to file a lawsuit to recover damages that cover various expenses, such as loss of help, past medical bills and expenses, loss of benefits, loss of income, loss of consortium and pain and suffering.

Call a Fresno wrongful death attorney at The May Firm today to schedule your free consultation.

Put an Award-Winning Legal Team to Work for You

The National Top 40 Helping others with Fresno wrongful deaths and personal injuries is what the legal team at The May Firm does best, and we are pleased that our efforts have been repeatedly noticed by our peers.

In fact, we have been named the recipient of numerous industry awards for our high caliber legal service, including an impressive win percentage and top-notch customer service. We have also amassed millions in combined damages for people much like yourself. In a recent case, a family’s wrongful death case involving a pedestrian was settled for $1.9 million.

Get Started Today with a Free Case Review

We know that the loss of a loved one is one of the most difficult things anyone can ever have deal with, and we want to remove as much of the burden of taking legal action as possible. Therefore, we offer a free, no obligation initial consultation, which includes a basic review of your case.

If you decide to move forward, we will not send you any bills unless we win your case. No recovery, no fee. We are pleased to offer our Fresno wrongful death and personal injury legal services to people throughout all of Fresno and Kern County. Our Fresno office is located on N. Palm Avenue for your convenience. Let our family help your family.

Fresno Wrongful Death Attorneys Who Care About You

Top 40 under 40 Robert May and Garrett May have built their careers around the basic principle of helping others. Our entire team understands how devastating it is to lose a loved one, especially in an accident that could have been avoided if the responsible party was not being negligent.

Many of these cases involve drunk drivers, and we know that this can be infuriating and heartbreaking. Our Fresno personal injury attorneys will always treat you with kindness, respect and compassion, and will do everything in their power to help you move through this difficult time.

Fresno Wrongful Death FAQ

What happens when one of your family members is killed in Fresno by someone else’s wrongful or negligent actions? You may bring a wrongful death claim. Bringing a lawsuit may be the last thing on your mind as you deal with the grief and loss. We understand. But wrongful death lawsuits are designed to financially support family members who have suffered a tragic blow during a trying and stressful time. Below, we provide answers to the most frequently asked questions our lawyers receive about wrongful death.

As indicated above, wrongful death occurs when someone else’s negligent, reckless, or wrongful act causes a person to die. For example, if your loved one was in a car crash caused by a driver who sped through a red light without stopping, that’s a wrongful death. Why? Because failure to obey traffic laws and prudent driving standards constitutes negligence, which is a breach of the duty of care drivers owe to others.

Wrongful death is a civil claim brought by the deceased’s family requesting financial compensation from the at-fault party, made in civil court. While the guilty party might also face criminal charges for their actions, criminal cases are brought by prosecutors in criminal court. Criminal law is in place to keep the peace and punish wrongdoing, but it doesn’t provide compensation to family members and is an entirely separate process.

The goal of wrongful death claims is to provide just compensation to surviving eligible family members for both financial and emotional costs. Family members also can seek financial recompense for financial costs the deceased’s estate may have incurred due to the fatal accident.

To bring a wrongful death claim, you must be eligible under the law. In California, the following people can bring a claim:

  • The surviving spouse;
  • The domestic partner; and/or
  • The surviving children.

If none of these parties exist, California law allows anyone entitled to the deceased’s property by succession to bring a wrongful death claim. That can include other family members, such as siblings or parents. In addition, putative spouses, their children, and any surviving stepchildren or stepparents may file a wrongful death lawsuit if they financially depended on the deceased person.

As mentioned above, wrongful death lawsuits attempt to compensate family members financially for their financial and emotional losses. The lawsuit can also request that the deceased’s estate receive compensation for the financial costs the estate paid for the deceased’s final injury.

Compensation can include:

  • Funeral and burial expenses;
  • Medical and hospital bills related to the deceased final illness or injury;
  • Lost income to the estate, including potential income the deceased could reasonably have expected to earn had they lived;
  • The value of household services to family members;
  • The loss of anticipated financial support to family members from the deceased; and
  • Loss of love, affection, moral support, community, attention, and guidance.

There is no such thing as an “average” wrongful death claim. Why? Because the costs paid by the estate or suffered by family members vary a great deal according to the circumstances.

If the deceased received medical care after the accident and before their death, for example, the compensation can include the cost of that medical care, which can sometimes cost an enormous amount depending on the treatment the deceased received. Similarly, the loss of financial support may result in substantial compensation if the deceased supported a large family, but far less if the deceased’s survivors are parents or siblings who fully or partially support themselves.
Your wrongful death attorney can guide you through your specific claim once they have reviewed the facts of your case.

Wrongful death can stem from any negligent action by a person, people, or organizations, such as an employer or business that manufactures defective products.

Some of the most common causes of wrongful death include:

  • Car accidents;
  • Ride-share accidents;
  • Motorcycle accidents;
  • Truck accidents;
  • Bicycle accidents;
  • Pedestrian accidents;
  • Train accidents;
  • Boat accidents;
  • Public transportation accidents;
  • Fires and explosions;
  • Medical malpractice;
  • Workplace-related accidents, from unsafe conditions or improper equipment;
  • Product liability (defective or dangerous products);
  • Dog attacks; and
  • Criminal activity.

While wrongful death is usually not specifically a criminal matter, people can die during criminal activity. In those cases, eligible survivors can bring a wrongful death claim for damages. This can occur whether or not prosecutors charge the responsible parties with a crime. The two cases are entirely separate.

Plaintiffs must file most civil legal claims within a specific time or the court will refuse to hear the case, and a wrongful death lawsuit is no exception. This legal deadline is known as the statute of limitations.

Wrongful death claims generally must be filed within two years of the date of death.

Nothing. While many people are, frankly, scared or uneasy about approaching an attorney about a lawsuit, because they worry it will cost a great deal—perhaps they will even have to go into debt.

There is no cause to worry on that score for a wrongful death case, however. Wrongful death lawyers generally do not charge any fees upfront for bringing a case, and they do not charge monthly or other periodic fees for working on it.

Instead, our Fresno wrongful death lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means they receive a percentage of the final settlement or claim. If there is no successful settlement or claim, you don’t owe the lawyer for any legal fees.

That’s right. If your claim is not successful in court or at an insurer’s office, you will not owe the attorney for their time.

In addition, wrongful death lawyers almost always offer a free consultation to discuss your case. At that consultation, they give you an opinion about whether your case is worth pursuing. Again, this initial consultation costs nothing.

What happens at the initial consultation with a Fresno wrongful death lawyer?

The initial consultation offered by wrongful death lawyers helps both you and the lawyer figure out whether the case is worth pursuing, and whether you and the lawyer will work well together. Many people talk to several lawyers before deciding whom they are most comfortable working with. You should feel comfortable asking questions and as though the lawyer fully explained their view of your case to you.

 

For the lawyer, the initial consultation is a chance to review the case and give initial advice on it. To that end, you should bring information to the initial consultation that will help the lawyer give you meaningful advice. They will need to know, for example, what the cause of death was and when and how the death occurred. They will also need to know who or what you believe was responsible and why.

In addition, it is helpful if they can briefly review any evidence you have. All legal cases need evidence to succeed. If your loved one was in a fatal car crash, for example, it is helpful to bring the police report from the accident. It also helps to have a record of the injuries your loved one sustained.

Additional evidence can include:

  • Crash reports (from the police), for all vehicle and pedestrian accidents;
  • Regulator reports, for truck accidents;
  • Doctor or emergency room case notes and reports;
  • Diagnostic tests, such as X-rays;
  • Pictures or videos showing the sites where the injury occurred or how injuries occurred (crash sites, work accidents, fires, and explosions);
  • Surveillance footage;
  • Eyewitness testimony and/or contact information;
  • Pictures or videos of injuries sustained; and
  • Records of conversations with officials.

It’s also a good idea to take notes on what you know to bring to the initial consultation so that you can explain to the attorney what happened, who or what caused the death, and its impact on you. You may be suffering because of the tragedy, and getting notes together can help you remember everything you want and need to discuss.

The initial consultation offered by wrongful death lawyers helps both you and the lawyer figure out whether the case is worth pursuing, and whether you and the lawyer will work well together. Many people talk to several lawyers before deciding whom they are most comfortable working with. You should feel comfortable asking questions and as though the lawyer fully explained their view of your case to you.

For the lawyer, the initial consultation is a chance to review the case and give initial advice on it. To that end, you should bring information to the initial consultation that will help the lawyer give you meaningful advice. They will need to know, for example, what the cause of death was and when and how the death occurred. They will also need to know who or what you believe was responsible and why.

In addition, it is helpful if they can briefly review any evidence you have. All legal cases need evidence to succeed. If your loved one was in a fatal car crash, for example, it is helpful to bring the police report from the accident. It also helps to have a record of the injuries your loved one sustained.

Additional evidence can include:

  • Crash reports (from the police), for all vehicle and pedestrian accidents;
  • Regulator reports, for truck accidents;
  • Doctor or emergency room case notes and reports;
  • Diagnostic tests, such as X-rays;
  • Pictures or videos showing the sites where the injury occurred or how injuries occurred (crash sites, work accidents, fires, and explosions);
  • Surveillance footage;
  • Eyewitness testimony and/or contact information;
  • Pictures or videos of injuries sustained; and
  • Records of conversations with officials.

It’s also a good idea to take notes on what you know to bring to the initial consultation so that you can explain to the attorney what happened, who or what caused the death, and its impact on you. You may be suffering because of the tragedy, and getting notes together can help you remember everything you want and need to discuss.

In some wrongful death cases, a court case is the most prudent course of action. In many others, the at-fault party’s insurance company may make an out-of-court settlement offer. This is most common in vehicle accidents (car, ride-share, bicycle, motorcycle, train, boat, and so forth), but can occur in almost any case. In either situation, you need a Fresno wrongful death lawyer.

California is a fault state for car insurance purposes, which means that injured people can approach the responsible party’s insurance company for compensation for their injuries without accessing their own insurance coverage first. Wrongful death is a type of case in which the person has died rather than simply received injuries.

Insurance companies, however, have a vested interest in minimizing their payment of claims. Why? Because they are in business to make a profit. This may seem particularly heartless in the case of a death, but it’s an unfortunate reality.

What that means in practice is that insurance companies either deny the claim or offer to pay you the rock-bottom minimum. In the latter case, you may receive far less than you and your family deserve.

They may, for example, use a technique known as “low balling.” They will offer to pay a wrongful death claim very quickly, but for a very low amount. This practice can make financially strapped family members feel relieved to receive at least some money. They may never know that they deserved much more—or that they needed it to pay their bills the wrongful death caused.

Another favorite insurance company strategy is to try to blame the deceased for the accident. It may seem hard to believe, but insurance companies will often deny that their insured caused the accident. They may say the deceased was driving recklessly and caused the accident, even if that’s completely untrue. This is one of the reasons it’s so important to have evidence.

An insurance company may also make it very hard to reach them, and they may not return emails or phone calls promptly (or ever). They are, frankly, hoping you’ll forget or become hopeless and stop pursuing your claim.

For all these reasons, it’s prudent to consult a lawyer about your case, even if you believe you can work with the insurance company on your own. Lawyers know the strategies and practices insurance companies use to lessen a payout or deny a claim completely. They can counter the false allegations and negotiate for higher payments if the initial offer is too low. They also won’t take no for an answer—and the insurance companies know it.

If an insurance claim is denied unfairly, lawyers know they can appeal—and they know how to appeal.

In fact, the very presence of a lawyer can make insurance companies more likely to settle, and settle fairly.

Why? Because lawyers can and do take insurance companies to court if the insurance companies don’t settle fairly. The judges and juries in the court system are likely to show more sympathy to grieving family members than insurance companies.

For that reason, insurance companies are usually unwilling to go to court. Your chances of settling out of court (before any court proceedings begin) increase if the insurance company knows you have a lawyer on your side who will fight a wrongful death lawsuit in court.

While negotiating for a higher claim payout, appealing a denied claim, or keeping after insurance companies are all among the services lawyers provide, there are also many others.

  • First, lawyers can help you compile evidence. If there’s any one crucial element of a successful wrongful death case, it’s evidence. Family members may be overwhelmed by the prospect of gathering evidence, but law firms do it all the time.
  • Second, lawyers work with investigative teams who can help develop evidence. They can, for example, find and interview eyewitnesses. Law firms can also work with forensic analysts who can recreate how accidents occurred (and thus find out who and what caused them).
  • Third, lawyers can help you determine and justify the right amount of compensation to seek. They can go through medical and funeral bills and estimate the amount of compensation the deceased could have expected to receive had they lived, for example.
  • Fourth, lawyers can negotiate for you during every step of the process. They have experience identifying and explaining the full extent of a family’s loss after the death of a loved one.

If you do, the May Firm is committed to pursuing justice for grieving family members in Fresno. If your loved one died from another person or company’s negligence, contact us today. The initial consultation is always free.

Start Here
BG Image
Logo

Do I Have A CASE?

Find out, it’s free
Free Case Review

No recovery, no fees!

Testimonials
May Firm

(805) 500-8335 [email protected]

2530 Professional Parkway, Suite A, Santa Maria, California, 93455

May Firm

(619) 378-1464 [email protected]

310 3rd Ave B24, Chula Vista, California, 91910

May Firm

(805) 324-6020 [email protected]

127 El Paseo, Santa Barbara, California, 93101

May Firm

(805) 242-4593 [email protected]

297 Santa Rosa Street, San Luis Obispo, California, 93405

May Firm

(559) 385-2090 [email protected]

1775 Fulton St #101, Fresno, California, 93721

May Firm

(661) 244-9712 [email protected]

5500 Ming Avenue, Suite 390, Bakersfield, California, 93309

May Firm

(562) 800-0529 [email protected]

853 Atlantic Avenue, Suite #201, Long Beach, California, 90813