Losing people we love is very traumatic in our lives. We probably don’t have to tell you how it feels to suddenly be without that one individual whom you’ve loved your whole life. We deeply sympathize with your loss and know that no amount of financial compensation can bring back your loved ones. Even though money is the last thing on your mind during your grieving, you should know that death resulting from someone’s negligence or carelessness may entitle you to monetary compensation.

What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in California?

What is a wrongful death lawsuit? Under California law, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed in situations where a person suffers fatal injuries as a result of another party’s negligence, reckless behavior, or intentional act. Indeed, you may be able to seek damages through a wrongful death lawsuit whether a loved one died as a result of injuries sustained in an accident or as a result of injuries sustained in an assault or other intentional act of violence.

Any type of accident or injury that would have allowed a person to file a personal injury lawsuit (had they survived) may become a wrongful death lawsuit in California. 

Differences Between a Wrongful Death Case and a Personal Injury Claim

What are the key differences between a personal injury case and a wrongful death lawsuit? This distinction can be difficult to understand, but it is an important one since personal injury law and wrongful death law are closely related to one another.  With a personal injury lawsuit, the party who suffered an injury is the one who will need to be a named plaintiff in the lawsuit.

In other words, the injured person has to file a personal injury lawsuit. When an injury results in a person’s death, that person cannot file a personal injury lawsuit. Instead, California law recognizes the need for someone to step into the deceased person’s place to file a lawsuit and allows for a wrongful death claim. In filing a wrongful death lawsuit, the plaintiff seeks damages on behalf of the deceased as well as on behalf of the deceased’s surviving family members.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in California?

Some states only permit the personal representative of the deceased’s estate, or the executor, to file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, in California, multiple parties can be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit depending upon the circumstances of the case, including but not limited to:

  • Surviving spouse or domestic partner of the deceased;
  • Surviving children of the deceased;
  • Surviving grandchild of the deceased;
  • Surviving putative spouse of the deceased or their children;
  • Surviving stepchildren of the deceased; or
  • Surviving parents of the deceased.

Beyond the surviving spouse, domestic partner, or children or grandchildren, the above parties need to show that they were dependent financially on the deceased in order to be eligible to file a claim.

Damages in a California Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Damages in a California wrongful death lawsuit can include economic and non-economic damages, and they can include compensation for the deceased’s losses as well as for the surviving family members’ losses. Economic damages in a wrongful death lawsuit can include, for example:

  • Funeral and burial expenses for the deceased;
  • Deceased’s lost wages that would have been used to support the surviving family members;
  • Medical bills incurred by the deceased prior to death; and
  • Value of services the deceased would have provided to the surviving family members.

In addition to economic damages, a plaintiff in a wrongful death lawsuit can also seek non-economic damages, which compensate for indirect losses that can be more difficult to quantify. Examples of non-economic damages include:

  • Loss of the love, companionship, comfort, care, and more of the deceased;
  • Loss of the deceased’s affection; and
  • Loss of the deceased’s moral support and guidance.

Statute of Limitations for a California Wrongful Death Claim

How much time will you have to file a wrongful death lawsuit? Our California wrongful death attorneys know how difficult it can be to focus on a lawsuit when you are grieving the loss of a loved one, and when you are trying to determine how to move forward. Yet we want to emphasize that you will only have a small time window in which you will be eligible to file a lawsuit.

Under the California wrongful death statute of limitations, you will have two years from the date of your loved one’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. It is important to know that the clock on a wrongful death case starts ticking on the date of the death, which may not always be the same date as the accident that caused the injuries. Indeed, a person may survive for days, weeks, or even months or years following a life-threatening injury that ultimately results in death.

The clock will not start to tick until the date of death, and from that point forward you will have two years to file a lawsuit. You should know that this clock is distinct from a personal injury lawsuit statute of limitations, where the clock starts ticking on the date of the accident.

Why Do You Need an Attorney?

We are experienced attorneys who will maximize your claim in a wrongful death case. It is only natural that you feel upset about what happened to your loved ones, and we make sure that the responsible group or individual pay for their mistakes.

Wrongful death lawsuits are normally started by family members or beneficiaries of deceased persons. Such persons may be entitled to various benefits such as loss of earnings, burial expenses, any other associated expenses, loss of expected benefits, and more. Other non-economic damages may include loss of comfort, care, moral support, protection, affection, and assistance.

We Can Help

If you lost a loved one due to wrongful death in any type of accident, due to defective products or medical malpractice, you require knowledgeable lawyers on your side. Contact us for a free consultation. We can help you answer your questions and guide you in the right direction for the maximum financial compensation you deserve. There are no obligations when speaking to us until we accept your case. In fact, there are no attorney fees unless we recover on your behalf.

Obtaining a Wrongful Death Settlement

Obtaining a just wrongful death settlement does not have to be difficult. When your case is accepted by our wrongful death attorneys Fisher & Talwar, you have the upper hand in obtaining the maximum monetary compensation.

Find out what we can do for you. Call our attorneys at (213) 891-0777 for a free consultation.

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