Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in California?
In the state of California, a wrongful death claim is recognized when the deliberate, careless, or thoughtless actions of a person or persons lead to the untimely demise of another human being. A claim of wrongful death is essentially a particular type of personal injury claim. The main difference between the two is that the wronged party is unable to bring their own lawsuit against the negligent party for obvious reasons. California has very particular laws regarding wrongful death suits. These laws define who is and is not permitted to file a wrongful death suit as well as the time limit, referred to as the statute of limitations, by which the lawsuit must be filed. Keep reading to find out some things that you will need to know about filing a wrongful death claim in the state of California.
If you have recently lost someone you love due to the malicious or negligent actions of another person, and you are wondering if you are eligible to file a claim of wrongful death against the other party, then you need to seek the legal counsel of a California wrongful death attorney as soon as you are able.
Who is Permitted to File a Wrongful Death Suit?
The laws in California are very exact on this matter. The only people who may file a claim of wrongful death are:
- A surviving spouse, domestic partner, or child
- Parent of the deceased provided that there is no surviving child or spouse
- A personal representative of the deceased’s estate
In California, if another party is able to prove that they were financially dependent on the deceased when they died, then they may be able to file a civil wrongful death lawsuit. For instance, if the deceased had a stepchild who received financial support from them then the stepchild might be approved to file a wrongful death claim.
Types of Damages in a Wrongful Death Suit
The law in California provides for two different kinds of wrongful death losses. The first group is penalties and the second group is special damages. Special damages are those losses which were sustained by the deceased, their surviving family members, or their estate. Some instances of frequently claimed special damages that are usually awarded in California include medical expenses from the illness or injury, funeral expenses, lost wages and benefits, future lost wages and benefits (what they would have earned had they lived), property damage, loss of benefits to heirs, and loss of companionship.
Certain wrongful death lawsuits may also see the benefit of punitive damages. Punitive damages are not meant to recompense the plaintiff for any actual loss, but instead, these types of awarded damages are intended to act as a punishment for especially negligent or malicious behavior that ended in the deceased’s death. Punitive damages are a tool often employed by California courts in order to send a message about the inappropriateness of the behavior of an individual. A very small portion of wrongful death cases are ever awarded punitive damages.
.If you have lost someone you love as a result of the careless, negligent, or malicious behavior of someone else, then you need to get in touch with a qualified, experienced wrongful death attorney in California as soon as possible. Here at the Los Angeles Injury Group, we can help you fight for the compensation for the lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering on direct behalf of your loved one. Give us a call for a free consultation with an attorney at (310) 954-7248 today.