Understanding California’s Wrongful Death Law
The sudden and unexpected death of a loved one rattles an entire family to its core. Most families are bound to experience some kind of financial hardship as the result of a loved one’s death.
California state allows certain retains of descendants to obtain wrongful death benefits. Authorized parties can be entitled to various damages.
Was your loved one recently killed as the result of another party’s negligence or wrongful act? You only have two years to take legal action.
Contact the Los Angeles Injury Group today. Call (310) 954-7248 to receive a free consultation.
Parties Eligible to File Wrongful Death Claims in California
California Code of Civil Procedure § 377.60(a) establishes that the parties that have a cause of action for wrongful death include a decedent’s personal representative, a decedent’s surviving spouse, a decedent’s domestic partner, a decedent’s children, and 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.
Under California Code of Civil Procedure § 377.60(b), parties that can also assert causes of action when they were dependent on the descendant include a 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, a decedent’s stepchildren, and a decedent’s parents.
California Wrongful Death Causes
Any number of accidents could potentially result in a wrongful death. Some of the most common causes in wrongful death actions include:
Plaintiffs in wrongful death cases may receive various kinds of compensatory damages. While no amount can ever truly compensate for a loved one’s death, compensatory damages are intended to try and restore a victim to his or her state before the accident or as close as possible.
Compensatory damages may be economic (also known as special damages). These are adjusted for calculable losses for victims, such as funeral expenses, lost income, and other financial harm. Noneconomic damages (or general damages) are more subjective types of harm such as loss of consortium or mental anguish.
In some rare cases, a jury may award punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish defendants for particularly egregious conduct, and California Code § 3294 limits punitive damages to cases in which a defendant’s guilt of oppression, fraud, or malice has been proven by clear and convincing evidence.
Find a Wrongful Death Attorney in California
If your loved one was killed by another party’s negligence in California, it is in your best interest to quickly seek legal representation. Contact the Los Angeles Injury Group as soon as possible.