The loss of your family member or domestic partner is a traumatic and unfortunate event. It is even more upsetting when the death is caused by the negligence of someone else. No amount of money can ever adequately compensate you for your loss, but you are entitled to compensation when the death is the fault of someone other person or company.
In California, a wrongful death arises when one person dies as the result of the wrongful act or negligence of another person or entity. A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit. It is brought to court directly by the survivors of the deceased person, or by the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate, and fault is expressed solely in terms of money damages, which the court orders the defendant to pay to the decedent’s survivors.
In these ways, a wrongful death claim differs from a criminal case for homicide, which is brought by the state and in which guilt is penalized with jail or prison time, probation, and other methods. A family in California may bring a civil wrongful death claim to court even if a criminal case is already going forward.
Only certain people are allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit in California. The relevant statute specifically allows the following parties to bring a wrongful death claim:
And, if they can show they were financially dependent on the deceased person, the following people can also bring a wrongful death lawsuit in California:
A number of different varieties of personal injury damages are available in a wrongful death claim in California. The specific amounts involved will depend on the facts of an individual case.
Damages are typically divided according to whether they compensate the estate for losses associated with the death, or the surviving family members for the personal losses they suffered as a result of the death. Losses that are typically attributed to the estate include:
Losses that are typically attributed to the surviving family members include:
Like personal injury claims, wrongful death claims in California must be filed within a specific time period California law requires a wrongful death claim to be filed within two years of the date of the decedent’s death. If the case is not filed in the state’s civil court system within two years, the family will almost certainly lose the right to file it at all.
The Law Office of Craig Charles will fight to ensure that you receive maximum compensation for your loss. My firm will handle all aspects of your case with caring compassion, so you can focus on caring for your family. I take all wrongful death cases on a contingency basis and this means you will never pay any money unless I win your case. Located in West Hollywood. LGBT Friendly.
If you've been seriously injured, don't hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. We understand this process may be unfamiliar or confusing, so we make a personal commitment to communicate with you in a clear and timely fashion. Call us today and we'll evaluate your case, walk you through the process — and put you on the path to recovery.