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The Wrongful Death Laws in California

May 15, 2023 | Wrongful Death

Unfair tragedies like wrongful deaths may make families feel overwhelmed and helpless. In California, wrongful death cases are governed by specific legislation that specifies the parties who may bring claims, the types of damages that may be recovered, and the deadlines for filing claims. In this post, we’ll look at California’s wrongful death laws and provide some guidance on how to handle them should the unfortunate situation occur.

Your loved one may pass away due to a variety of instances. Possible factors to consider include negligence towards your loved one (this could be from a fatal drunk driving incident) or malicious activity. Under the law of California, members of the family of the lost loved one due to these acts can receive compensation.

The Wrongful Death Laws: Who in California May File?

Medical negligence, exposure to hazardous substances at work, criminal conduct, and other situations might give rise to wrongful death lawsuits. No of the underlying facts, the plaintiff must establish the existence of the following factors below.

Only specific individuals are qualified to bring a wrongful death lawsuit in California. For example, these people consist of:

  • The surviving spouse or domestic partner of the dead.
  • The children that are still alive of the departed.
  • Parents of the deceased if there are no surviving spouse, domestic partner, or children.
  • If neither parent is alive, the deceased person’s siblings will inherit.

A personal representative of the decedent’s estate may bring a wrongful death lawsuit if none of these parties are present or available.

What Losses May Be Recovered?

California’s wrongful death claims can recover monetary and non-monetary damages. For example, the recoverable economic damages include:

Emotional distress, pain and suffering, and loss of companionship qualify under the non-economic damages that are recoverable in a wrongful death claim in California.

What is the California Wrongful Death Claim Statute of Limitations?

You must seek representation within the efficient time frame if you lost a loved one to wrongful death due to someone else’s acts. Note that the statute of limitations in California for a wrongful death claim is a two-year time frame.

In this case, it may be a good idea to consider consulting with an attorney to be able to assess and determine your rights. Medical negligence and wrongful death cases may be an exception. They can allow for up to a three-year time frame to file. It is essential to understand that if the timeframe has passed for such cases, the ability to file in the future will be less likely.

Proving California Wrongful Death Claim?

To establish a wrongful death claim in California, the plaintiff must prove four essential factors:

  • The deceased person owed the defendant a duty of care.
  • The defendant’s actions or inactions resulted in a breach of that duty of care.
  • The victim’s death was in the announcement of the defendant’s negligence.
  • The plaintiff suffered losses as a result of the dead person’s death.

A preponderance of the evidence is necessary to establish these factors, which states that the defendant’s guilt in the case must be more likely than not.

Contact Attorney Today

It’s critical to comprehend the laws that apply in wrongful death lawsuits because they can be difficult and emotionally fraught. Monetary and non-monetary damages are compensable after filing.  Note that if you find yourself in a wrongful death circumstance, it is crucial to speak with an accomplished lawyer. Nevertheless, we can help you navigate the legal system and defend your rights.

Please take a look at this link where you may be able to evaluate other cases we may assist you in. Feel free to give our office a call at 310-933-5171.