What is a Wrongful Death Claim Lawsuit?
The loss of a loved one is devastating. When the death is a result of another person’s negligence or misdeed, the pain is even more profound. While there’s little that can ease the immense sense of personal loss in such a situation, filing a wrongful death lawsuit can alleviate some of the financial burden for surviving family members.
What is a wrongful death lawsuit?
In California, a wrongful death lawsuit arises when an individual dies at the hands of another person or entity, whether by negligence or wrongful act. The claim is filed in civil court by the deceased person’s surviving family members, or by the representative of the deceased person’s estate. Rather than a prison sentence or probation, fault is expressed solely in terms of money damages paid directly to the deceased person’s survivors.
Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit?
Only certain people are permitted to file a wrongful death lawsuit in California. In relation to the deceased individual, the following parties are allowed to bring a wrongful death claim:
A living spouse
A living domestic partner
Any surviving children
If there are no surviving individuals in the deceased person’s line of descent, the party who is entitled to the deceased person’s estate may file a wrongful death lawsuit, such as parents or siblings. In California, if the deceased person had any dependents at the time of his or her death, those people can also file a wrongful death claim:
The deceased person’s “putative spouse” and children of the putative spouse
The deceased person’s stepchildren
The deceased person’s parents
There are many personal injury damages available in a wrongful death claim.
Though the specific amounts will depend on the facts of the case, surviving family members can typically collect money damages for the following:
Funeral and burial expenses
The deceased person’s pre-death pain and suffering
Medical and hospital bills incurred as a result of the deceased person’s fatal illness or injury
Loss of the deceased person’s income and expected future income
Loss of any inheritance as a result of death
Value of the services the deceased person would have provided
Loss of care, guidance, support, love and companionship the deceased person would have provided
The value of household services
Loss of consortium
What is the deadline for filing?
California's statute of limitations requires that a wrongful death lawsuit be filed within two years of the deceased person’s death. Failure to file the claim in civil court within this timeframe will almost certainly result in the family being unable to collect the financial support they need. For this reason, it’s important to contact a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal rights and potential case.
We’re here for you
At Salmu Law Firm in San Diego, we consider it a privilege to bring justice and closure to families who have experienced the devastating loss of a loved one due to negligence or misdeed. Our wrongful death attorneys have years of experience representing these individuals and would be honored to provide you with the same compassionate service. If you feel you have the basis for a wrongful death lawsuit, please call us. We’ll provide you with a free case evaluation and advise you on the next steps towards collecting retribution for your loss.