I’m sorry to hear about the death of your loved one. Under California law, a wrongful death claim arises when a person dies because of the wrongful act or negligence of another person or business. A wrongful death claim is filed in civil court by survivors of the deceased individual or by the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate.
Under California law, only certain people are allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit in California. The people who can sue for wrongful death include the deceased person’s surviving spouse, children, or domestic partner, or a family member who would inherit the deceased person’s estate. Also, stepchildren, parents, and a “putative spouse” can sue for wrongful death if they can prove they were financially dependent on the deceased individual.
If a plaintiff is successful in his or her wrongful death claim, there are a number of types of damages that can be awarded. Financial losses are often awarded, which could include funeral and burial expenses, medical and hospital bills for the deceased person’s illness or injury, and lost income from the deceased. The surviving family members may also be able to recover money for the loss of love from the deceased person, the loss of anticipated financial support, and the value of household services.
Wrongful death claims in California must be filed within two years of death. Because time is critical in these claims, it’s important for family members who think they may have a potential wrongful death claim to speak with an attorney right away. If you are in the Los Angeles area, call me, Conal Doyle, Los Angeles personal injury attorney, at 310-385-0567. I can help. Call today to learn more or to schedule a free consultation on your case.