California’s wrongful death law allows surviving family members to file wrongful death claims to recover damages when a loved one has died as the result of someone’s wrongful act. The law is set forth in the statute Code of Civil Procedure 377.60.
Wrongful death claims may arise out of a variety of circumstances, including medical malpractice, occupational exposure to dangerous chemicals, and criminal activity including malice (murder). Since the standard of proof in a wrongful death claim is less stringent than it is for criminal cases, it’s not uncommon for a defendant to be acquitted of murder or manslaughter and still be found liable for wrongful death in a civil action.
Losing a family member or significant other, particularly if the death is caused by the negligent or malicious actions of another, is an emotionally challenging ordeal. After grieving your loss, you may want to explore whether you have a valid wrongful death claim against the responsible party, which can help you pay for funeral expenses, day-to-day and future financial needs. You may also be entitled to recovery of other common damages including Loss of household services, the loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, moral support.
In California, only certain people are permitted to file a wrongful death lawsuit including: the deceased person’s surviving spouse, domestic partner and surviving children. If there is no surviving person in the deceased person’s line of descent, then a wrongful death lawsuit may be brought by anyone “who would be entitled to the property of the decedent by intestate succession” including the surviving parents or siblings.
Measuring the suffering of the surviving family member is complex. There are many facts to consider when deciding whether to file a wrongful death claim. It takes specialized knowledge, courage, skill, and determination for an attorney to successfully receive the full compensation and justice on behalf of a surviving family member.
If you have lost a family member or significant other and you suspect their death was due to negligence or malice, one of the best thing to do is to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. We can help in determining the most beneficial course of action to take. Our firm offers a free case evaluation where we will provide answers to your questions and explain your legal options.
Call us at (619) 630-2680 or fill out the form below to schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our team.