Who is Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Claim in California?

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When someone loses their life because of the legal fault of another person, party, or entity, including during negligence-based vehicle collisions, intentional acts, or at work it could be considered wrongful death.

At Hanning & Sacchetto, our wrongful death attorneys in Whittier help eligible surviving family members in California pursue the negligent party for the damages they have suffered because of their loss in the form of financial compensation.

Wrongful death cases are civil lawsuits that are different from criminal cases, as we must only prove the responsible party’s liability by a preponderance of the evidence to secure the necessary damages — meaning it was more likely than not that the defendant was responsible for the decedent’s death — unlike the latter where the defendant’s guilt must be established beyond a reasonable doubt to achieve a conviction.

If you believe your loved one’s death was the result of negligence and would like to learn whether you are eligible to pursue financial recovery for your losses, you must first determine your role in the family, and whether you are eligible to file a wrongful death claim in California.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim In California?

According to California’s wrongful death statute, only eligible family members can file a wrongful death claim in our civil courts.

They include the decedents:

  • Surviving spouse or domestic partner
  • Surviving children
  • Grandchildren of any deceased child

If none of the previous direct relatives exist, the next eligible relatives are anyone who would be entitled to the property of the decedent by intestate succession, including:

  • Parents
  • Siblings

To complicate the legal and eligible family lineage is the possibility of the decedent’s additional relatives, when applicable, who was financially dependent on him or her, including:

  • A putative spouse
  • Children of the putative spouse
  • Stepchildren
  • Legal guardians

If you believe you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim in California, contact our skilled personal injury lawyers in Whittier today to discuss your case and determine what damages you may be entitled to from your loss.

What Damages Can Eligible Family Members Pursue in a California Wrongful Death Case?

Wrongful death damages may be available in both economic and/or non-economic categories.

Economic damages may include:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Financial support the decedent would have contributed to the family
  • Loss of benefits/gifts the family would have expected to receive from the decedent
  • The reasonable economic value of household services the decedent would have provided

Non-economic damages might include:

  • Loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, and moral support
  • Loss of intimacy
  • Loss of guidance

In California, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim is two years from the date of the decedent’s death.

Contact Our Whittier workers’ compensation attorneys at Hanning & Sacchetto

If you have lost a loved one because of another person or party’s negligence, contact our experienced Los Angeles County wrongful death attorneys at Hanning & Sacchetto today by calling 562-698-6446 to learn how we help you determine the facts of your case and hold the liable party responsible for you and your family’s financial recovery.