Receiving news that someone we love has suddenly passed away is always tragic. The news can be particularly difficult to process when the sudden passing was caused as a result of another’s negligence. In addition to the emotional distress, families are also left with an abundance of expenses related to the death.
Although criminal prosecution can help bring the family justice, the charges do little to alleviate the financial hardship associated with the victim’s passing. In order to seek financial restitution, the victim’s survivors can file a wrongful death lawsuit.
California’s Wrongful Death Law – An Overview
Under state law, the victim’s survivors can file a claim against any potentially responsible party to obtain restitution for their losses. Although murder is a cause of action for a wrongful death claim, lawsuits can be filed for a variety of situations. In the State of California, a wrongful death claim can be filed when a person dies as a result of the following:
- Motorcycle accident
- Car accident
- Commercial vehicle accident
- Medical error
- Defective medical device
- Pharmaceutical error
- Dog bite or attack
- Other incident caused by a malicious action or negligence
Wrongful Death Claim Eligibility Under California Law
Per California Code of Civil Procedure §377.60, only certain eligible parties can file a wrongful death claim. These may include the following:
- The surviving spouse or registered domestic partner
- Step children
- Other closely-related dependents
Available Damages in California Wrongful Death Claims
Placing a monetary value on a person’s life is a complex and difficult process that will require taking multiple factors into account. For the most part, dependents are able to file a claim to receive monetary damages to pay for the victim’s past associated medical bills, funeral expenses, and burial expenses. Other damages that may be obtained include income the victim would have earned, the loss of financial support, the loss of affection, and the loss of companionship. When it comes to damages available, the victim’s health and age at the time of his or her death will be taken into consideration. The amount awarded to the claimant will need to be supported by objective evidence.
California Statute of Limitations – Under the California Code of Civil Procedure §335, a wrongful death claim will need to be filed within two (2) years of the victim’s death. The statute of limitations can vary depending on the type of case but it is generally recommended to file the claim as soon as possible.
Have you suffered the sudden loss of a loved one? Contact the Legal Support of an attorney with the right experience.
Coping with the sudden death of a loved one is a tragic and difficult matter to endure. Aside from the heartache and grief, family members are often left with serious financial challenges. If you have lost a loved one because of another’s carelessness, it is critical to seek legal support to cover the expenses.
Attorney Albert E. Hirst has over 30 years of experience serving families obtain financial compensation following the sudden death of their loved one that was caused by another’s negligence. If you are mourning the sudden death of a loved one, do not be burdened by the financial costs. Allow yourself and your loved ones go through the grieving process without worrying about the legal issues associated with filing a claim; speak to a professional attorney with the right experience today.