California Wrongful Death Actions
When a person is killed as the result of another party’s wrongful act or negligence, it is commonly referred to as a wrongful death. It is critical for family members to understand that California state law only allows people two years from the date of a loved one’s death to file a wrongful death claim.
If your loved one was killed as the result of another party’s wrongful act or negligence, it is in your best interest to retain legal counsel as soon as possible. The Los Angeles Injury Group assists clients in communities in and around Los Angeles with wrongful death actions. Call (310) 954-7248 to receive a free consultation.
Who Can File Wrongful Death Claims in California
Under California Code of Civil Procedure § 377.60(a), the following parties have a cause of action for wrongful death:
- The decedent’s personal representative
- The decedent’s surviving spouse
- The decedent’s domestic partner
- The decedent’s children
- Persons, including the surviving spouse or domestic partner, who would be entitled to the property of the decedent by intestate succession when there is no surviving issue of the decedent
California Code of Civil Procedure § 377.60(b) further provides that the following parties can also assert causes of action when they were dependent on the descendant:
- The decedent’s the putative spouse (a surviving spouse of a voided marriage who the court finds to have believed in good faith that the marriage was valid)
- Children of the decedent’s putative spouse
- The decedent’s stepchildren
- The decedent’s parents
Types of Damages Available in California Wrongful Death Actions
In a wrongful death lawsuit, the plaintiffs may be awarded numerous compensatory damages. The phrase compensatory damages refers to monetary awards that are intended to replace what victims have lost.
Obviously, no financial amount can be placed on the value of a person’s life. Compensatory damages can include several kinds of economic and noneconomic damages.
Economic damages (also known as special damages) refer to tangible, calculable losses for victims, such funeral and burial expenses, lost income, and other financial harm. Noneconomic damages (or general damages) can include other more subjective types of harm such as loss of consortium or mental anguish.
In certain rare cases, punitive damages may also be awarded. Punitive damages are awarded largely to punish defendants for particularly egregious conduct, and California Code § 3294 stipulates that punitive damages can only be awarded when a defendant’s guilt of oppression, fraud, or malice has been proven by clear and convincing evidence.
Find a Wrongful Death Lawyer in California
Was your loved one killed as the result of another party’s negligence or wrongful act in California? You should immediately contact the Los Angeles Injury Group.
Our firm understands that families in these types of cases need time to grieve, which is why we handle all paperwork and court appearances relating to your claim on your behalf. You can have our Los Angeles personal injury attorney review your case and discuss all of your legal options with you as soon as you call (310) 954-7248 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.