Who can recover in a California wrongful death lawsuit?
In most personal injury claims, either the person who suffered an injury or their parent or guardian brings the lawsuit against the responsible party. Personal injury claims allow people to request financial compensation for property damage, medical injuries, lost wages and non-economic losses.
Wrongful death lawsuits are different than most other personal injury claims because the person who got hurt is not able to bring legal action against the person or business who caused their death. Such lawsuits are instead brought by their family members to seek compensation for their losses and the suffering their loved one endured prior to death.
Who has the right to bring a wrongful death claim under California law?
Immediate family members are usually the ones who file wrongful death claims
The closer your relationship with the deceased, the greater your chances of having the right to file a wrongful death claim under California law. The right to file a wrongful death lawsuit falls to the same people who would inherit someone’s property if they died without a last will on record.
Spouses and domestic partners are often the ones who initially file such lawsuits. They had a reasonable expectation of receiving support from their spouses for the rest of their lives and must now live without the support and income of their closest companion.
Children have the right to make a wrongful death claim, as do the children of children in certain situations. Those who don’t have a spouse, a domestic partner or descendants have other family members who can pursue justice if they die. Parents and legal guardians also have the authority to bring a wrongful death claim when negligence or criminal behavior contributes to someone’s death.
Family members deserve justice after a tragic loss
Losing a loved one unexpectedly isn’t just financially devastating. It will also impact your mental health, your social life and your extended family. Wrongful death claims brought in compliance with California law not only reduce the lifetime impact of a tragedy on your family but can also hold someone accountable for their irresponsible or illegal behavior.
Learning about wrongful death and personal injury claims can be an important step for those grieving an unexpected loss.