California Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Wrongful death claims are lawsuits that aim to assist families that have had a family member pass as a consequence of another party’s intention or negligence. Here’s everything you need to know about a wrongful death lawsuit in California.

Filing a wrongful death lawsuit requires the help of an experienced attorney. In order to file a wrongful death lawsuit in California, one must first create a wrongful death claim. The lawsuit can proceed once these claims are accepted by courts. Lawsuits allow those related to the deceased party to gain economic and non-economic compensation.

Related: 7 Types and Examples of a Wrongful Death Case

How to file a wrongful death lawsuit in California

In order to file a wrongful death lawsuit in California, it is first important to hire a wrongful death attorney. Experienced attorneys that can assist in such cases can be found and contacted on the Her Lawyer website. Wrongful death claims must be handled in a timely manner, and initial claims must be filed without mistakes. Thus, hiring a wrongful death attorney can be useful in ensuring mistakes such as missing California’s statute of limitations are not made.

Next, it is important to ensure the state in which one resides considers the death to be wrongful according to tort law. For example, California considers wrongful death claims to be valid if there is evidence demonstrating that the other person’s negligence was the cause of the death. Negligence-based claims can be made if all of the following factors are found to be true:

  • The negligent party was responsible for the care of the other party
  • The negligent party breached the responsibility to care for the other party
  • The breached responsibility caused the injury of the other party
  • The breach resulted in the harmed party and the harmed party’s family suffering damages

Related: What is Tort Law? Can I Be Compensated?

Different states have varying laws regarding who can file a wrongful death claim. In California, only privileged parties are able to file. California law gives the right to file a wrongful death claim to the deceased party’s surviving domestic partner first, and to surviving children second if applicable. If not applicable, parties with legal rights towards the deceased party’s property gain the right to file a wrongful death claim.

When creating a wrongful death claim, it is important to collect evidence dealing with the incident. This evidence is important in building a strong case. Police reports, medical records, photographs from the site of injury, accident reports, eyewitness accounts, and expert testimonies can all be used as evidence.

Once an attorney has been hired and relevant evidence related to the wrongful death case has been collected, claims paperwork must be filed. This paperwork can be found in local civil courts, and attorneys can assist in completing it. Information that will be included in this paperwork includes the involved parties’ names and addresses, as well as a detailed description of the incident and the damages the plaintiff is claiming. Most cases mandate that this paperwork is filed within two years of the wrongful death. After this is completed, courts will decide if they accept or dismiss the claim. If accepted, the lawsuit will proceed.

Wrongful death lawsuit process in California

Wrongful death claims do not involve criminal prosecution, as misconduct and other factors that may have led to the death are assessed separately in court. However, wrongful death claims can be filed in conjunction with criminal charges. Essentially, these claims allow parties representing the deceased party to file lawsuits against responsible defendants.

Wrongful death claims are intended to compensate heirs for the value of support they lost but would have been entitled to if the deceased party were still alive. These are determined during the wrongful death lawsuit. Compensatory damages in California can include:

Economic damages

These are based on financial support the deceased party would have provided in the span of their lifetime if not for the incident. Further, these can include any loss of gifts or benefits that heirs may have been entitled to, the cost of funeral or burial services, and the value of household services that would have been provided by the deceased party.

Non-economic damages

These are used to compensate for the loss of non-monetary related factors associated with the deceased party, including affection, protection, moral support, society and companionship, guidance, and in some cases sexual relations.

Compensation can be received for either the deceased party’s projected life expectancy prior to the incident or the plaintiff’s remaining life expectancy starting from the time of the incident. Life expectancy is determined by the jury during the lawsuit, and they take into account information including health, occupation, lifestyle, and more. Juries are allowed to award any amount of non-economic damages they see fit.

Contact Us

If you are seeking to file a wrongful death lawsuit in California, contact us. The attorneys at Her Lawyer can help you build a strong case and receive compensation on behalf of the wronged party. Get your free consultation today!