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Should I File a Wrongful Death Claim or Survival Action?

By Renee Nordstrand on December 12, 2017

white flower at a memorial service

If someone’s negligence caused your loved one to die immediately after an accident, then a wrongful death claim against the responsible person is the correct cause of action to file.

If your loved one survived for a short time before death, then a survival action may be appropriate. In some situations you may file a joint claim for both wrongful death and a survival action in California.

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Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in California?

By Renee Nordstrand on December 5, 2016

In California, a wrongful death typically refers to the death of a person that is caused by the actions or negligence of another person. This is a civil lawsuit filed by one or more people who were related to the deceased and is separate from any criminal charges filed by the state against someone. The results of a criminal case can potentially strengthen a civil wrongful death suit, but they are otherwise completely separate. Family members can typically file a claim in California for a loved one.

California Code of Civil Procedure section 377.60 sets forth precisely who is allowed to file a wrongful death claim in the state. It begins by establishing that the claim may be filed by the deceased person’s spouse, domestic partner, and surviving children. This is pretty straightforward and makes sense. If someone is killed by the negligence of a driver under the influence of marijuana, a narcotic or alcohol, for example, then the deceased’s wife or husband can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver.

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Woman Killed in Head-On Crash on Highway 101 Near Goleta

By Renee Nordstrand on July 16, 2013

An Orange County woman is dead after a flatbed truck crossed the median on Highway 101 near Goleta and crashed head-on into her pickup truck. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is still investigating why the accident happened. reports that the 2008 International Durastar flatbed truck was traveling north on Highway 101 and was hauling agricultural containers for Greenheart Farms when the accident occurred. The driver of the flatbed truck claimed that the brakes on the truck locked up, which caused him to veer into the southbound lanes of Highway 101. The CHP has not confirmed that as the cause of the devastating head-on crash.

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Mother Files Lawsuit for Wrongful Death in Fatal Santa Barbara Hit-And-Run

By Renee Nordstrand on June 27, 2013

The family of a 22-year-old Santa Barbara man who was the victim in a fatal pedestrian hit-and-run accident on Highway 101 in Santa Barbara has filed a lawsuit for negligence and wrongful death against several parties.

The young man was struck and killed just after 1 a.m. on January 15 on Highway 101 near the Ortega Street footbridge.

There had been reports that the victim had been staggering along the highway — and later toxicology reports confirmed that he had a blood alcohol concentration of .256, which is three times over the limit at which a driver is considered too drunk to be behind the wheel.

The mother of the young man is suing the driver of the car who struck him, two of his family members, and the driver of a cab and the company he was employed with.

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UC Santa Barbara Student Dies in Automobile Accident, Mechanical Failure Alleged

By Renee Nordstrand on April 29, 2013

A 20-year-old UC Santa Barbara student is dead and the California Highway Patrol (CHP) is still trying to determine the cause of the fatal single-car accident that took her life on Highway 101 in the Santa Margarita area.

CHP reports that three young women were traveling from Santa Cruz toward Santa Barbara to attend a weekend music festival when, for some unknown reason, the 19-year-old driver lost control of her Mazda Protégé. The Mazda struck a bridge railing and rolled over.

The driver and another passenger were moderately injured in the crash. CHP reports that alcohol was ruled out as a factor in the accident, but there were some allegations of that mechanical failure may have had something to do with the deadly crash. A spokesman for the CHP said that it could not be corroborated yet whether mechanical failure was responsible for the accident.

The fatality victim was a San Marcos High School graduate and a resident of Santa Barbara. One San Marcos High School teacher described her as a great and creative student, and said that he was “incredibly saddened by the loss of such a gifted and extraordinary woman.”

The wrongful death automobile accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Reneé J. Nordstrand are saddened by the loss of this young Santa Barbara resident and offer condolences to her family. If mechanical failure of the automobile is at the heart of this tragedy, questions need to be asked. Was the automobile in question defective? Could this tragedy have been prevented?

If you believe you have lost a loved one due to a defective product, it is important to choose a law firm that has the financial resources and access to experts to properly conduct an independent investigation. The Law Offices of Reneé J. Nordstrand have successfully represented victims of negligence and are dedicated to seeing that your family gets the justice it deserves.

If you have questions about your legal options, call our Santa Barbara office at (805) 962-2022 or our Encino office at (818) 981-3530. Your case evaluation is free and you don’t pay unless we win your case.

Investigation Continues Into Death of Student Who Died During ‘Deltopia’

By Renee Nordstrand on April 17, 2013

Santa Barbara authorities are still investigating why an 18-year-old Cal Poly San Luis Obispo freshman was found dead in the ocean close to a popular surf spot near UC Santa Barbara. They do suspect that the young woman may have died as the result of a fall from a cliff near the ocean during the chaotic aftermath of a “Deltopia” party that had been broken up by Santa Barbara police.

“Deltopia,” was known as “Floatopia” until 2009. But then Santa Barbara officials banned the use of Isla Vista’s beaches for the unpermitted party where thousands would gather to kick off the start of the spring semester at UC Santa Barbara. The event’s name was changed to “Deltopia” after students moved the party from the beach to Del Playa Drive in Isla Vista, which is located on the bluffs above the ocean.

It’s estimated that 15,000 to 18,000 students gather in the community during the spring break party.

Police suspect that the Santa Rosa native may have fallen off a cliff during the confusion that ensued as people scattered in the dark to leave the party. Two of the victim’s friends said that they could not find her after the party when thousands of students had gathered. Authorities are saying that the co-ed’s injuries seem consistent with those that are sustained during a fall.

According to the Press Democrat, Santa Barbara County officials are contemplating what to do about the increasingly out-of-control nature of the huge un-permitted annual weekend gathering. Citing this death and several other injuries and incidents related to “Deltopia,” one Santa Barbara County supervisor said that gatherings this large where students are intoxicated “get out of control quickly.”

Are you trying to cope with the sudden and wrongful death of a loved one that was caused by another’s negligence? When the attorneys at the Law Offices of Reneé J. Nordstrand accept a wrongful death case we dedicate ourselves to pursuing fair compensation for your family during an extremely difficult time.

Take action to protect your legal rights. Call our Santa Barbara office at (805) 962-2022 or our Encino office at (818) 981-3530 to learn about your legal options. Your case evaluation is free

Santa Barbara Doctor Faces Wrongful Death Lawsuits for Overprescribing Drugs

By Renee Nordstrand on February 14, 2013

After a lengthy investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Santa Barbara Police and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, a Santa Barbara doctor was arrested last year and is facing federal charges for overprescribing pain medications.

But that could be just the beginning of the physician’s problems. The doctor, who had his medical license revoked 10 months after his arrest last year, is now facing four lawsuits — three of them for wrongful death.

The various lawsuits contend that the doctor overprescribed pain medications, which led to addiction and death. Incredibly, one suit alleges that a 24-year-old had been prescribed an average of 63 prescription pills a day in the six weeks before his death.

The doctor allegedly prescribed so many pain pills that some patients had to be taken to hospital emergency rooms shortly after visiting his office. Noozhawk reports that the doctor, who is currently out on bail and resides in Goleta, has been linked to the deaths of 11 patients. Allegedly, his activities became so over the top that some pharmacies blacklisted him and refused to fill out his prescriptions.

The lawsuits claim the doctor was negligent for his alleged zeal in prescribing pain medications. The attorney defending the doctor against the federal charges told Noozhawk that he feels his client was well within the parameters of his medical discretion when prescribing the drugs. He is not defending him in the civil litigation, but expects those cases won’t go to court until after the criminal proceedings are complete.

If you believe you’ve lost a loved, due to the negligence of another person, you have a legal right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If you have questions about your legal options, contact the Santa Barbara wrongful death lawyers at the Law Office of Reneé J. Nordstrand at (805) 962-2022 or our Encino office at (818) 981-3530. We can also be contacted online. Your case review will be free.

Unlicensed Drivers in California Have High Fatality Rates

By Renee Nordstrand on January 16, 2013

car driving down the roadway at dusk

A newly released study by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) shows that unlicensed drivers are three times more likely to cause a fatal traffic accident as those who drive legally. Although there is no hard and fast numbers as to how many unlicensed drivers there are in California, the DMV estimates that the tally runs in the millions.

Researchers for the DMV looked at fatal accident statistics for the years 1987 and 2009. They then divided those drivers into three categories: those who were licensed; those who were driving with suspended or revoked licenses; and those who never received a license.

One percent of licensed drivers were found to be the cause of fatal accidents in California, whereas about three percent of drivers who were unlicensed or driving with revoked or suspended licenses were found to be responsible for fatalities.

According to the study, there are nearly two million Californians at any given time who will have their licenses revoked or suspended. There are no reliable statistics on how many of those drivers continue to drive thereafter.

This data adds fuel to the fire of an already potent debate as to whether those driving without licenses should have their vehicles impounded by police if they are stopped for motor vehicle infractions. The DMV researchers concluded that impounding vehicles was “strongly justified … to control (illegal) drivers and to reduce crashes caused by those drivers.”

Whether driving illegally or legally, negligent, inattentive, and reckless motorists can cause automobile accidents, which lead to serious injuries and deaths on Southern California’s roads and highways. If you believe you have a wrongful death case, contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Renée J. Nordstrand for a free, no-obligation review of your case. Let our experienced team explain what your legal option might be.

Contact our Southern California Offices in Santa Barbara (805) 962-2022 or in Encino (818) 981-3530 today.

Santa Barbara Family Can’t Sue Employer in Wrongful Death Suit

By Renee Nordstrand on November 13, 2012

A Santa Barbara Superior Court judge has ruled that the family of a teenager who was struck and killed on Milpas Street cannot bring a wrongful death allegation against the employer of the 19-year-old who was driving the flatbed truck that struck him.

The 15-year-old San Marcos High School student was crossing in the crosswalk at Ortega and Milpas on Oct. 7, 2011 when the truck, which was heading southbound on Milpas, struck him. The driver allegedly had been collecting shopping carts in the local area and was speeding when the accident occurred. The teen was taken to Cottage Hospital, but later died of his injuries.

The parents sued the driver of the truck for wrongful death and negligence in the California pedestrian accident. The family was seeking compensation for funeral expenses, medical costs, loss of use of property, and loss of earning capacity. The lawsuit also stated that they had “been deprived of love, companionship, affection, society, comfort, protection, services and support of their son.”

The suit also contended that the driver, who had been driving his father’s truck, had also been operating the vehicle as part of his job, and had named the father, the California Shopping Cart Retrieval Corporation, Inc. and Scolari’s Food & Drug Company as defendants.

The incident spurred an outcry from local residents who claimed the Milpas traffic corridor lacked proper safety controls. Months later, during a crosswalk sting at the same intersection where the teen was hit, Santa Barbara police cited 28 drivers for not stopping for a decoy pedestrian in the crosswalk.

There is no word as to why the judge denied the plaintiff’s wrongful death allegation against the driver’s employer, but the ruling now leaves the driver as the lone defendant in the civil suit.

Bringing a wrongful death suit is a complex endeavor that requires the skills and experience of an experienced law firm. The wrongful death lawyers in Santa Barbara at the Law Offices of Renée J. Nordstrand can help your family recover compensation for both economic and emotional losses. If you believe you have a case, call our Santa Barbara office at (805) 962-2022 for a free, no-obligation review of your case.

Sheriff and County Settle Goleta Wrong Way Crash Suit for $4.8 Million

By Renee Nordstrand on October 31, 2012

Santa Barbara County officials, as well as the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, have agreed to pay a family a $4.8 million settlement after a wrong way crash on Highway 101 in Goleta left two people dead and two seriously injured.

The Goleta auto accident happened in Nov. 2009 when a report went out of a vehicle driving down the wrong side of the road on Highway 101. A Santa Barbara sheriff’s deputy, responding to the call, entered the highway and merged slowly into the right lane in front of two cars. According to reports, he didn’t have his siren or emergency lights on.

Unaware of what was going on, the two cars behind the sheriff pulled into the lane beside him to pass — unwittingly putting them right into the path of the speeding, wrong-way vehicle. The sheriff then hit his lights and siren. The driver of the first vehicle, thinking he was being pulled over, turned into the right lane — just barely avoiding the wrong way vehicle.

The wrong way vehicle then plowed head-on into the second car, killing two people in the front and seriously injuring two others in the back seat.

The lawsuit brought by the family alleged that the California Highway Patrol should have handled the call and that the sheriff’s deputy had violated department policy. It also claimed that the sheriff’s actions contributed to the crash.

A wrongful death lawsuit is a complex and multi-faceted undertaking that involves emotional as well as legal issues. The wrongful death attorneys in California at the Law Offices of Renée J. Nordstrand understand these nuances and will do everything in their power to pursue the compensation your family will need while recovering from a devastating loss.

If your family has suffered the wrongful death of a loved one, call our Santa Barbara office at (805) 962-2022 for a free, no-obligation review of your case.