Have you lost a loved one? You may need a lawyer for a wrongful death lawsuit if your loved one’s death was due to negligence, carelessness, or recklessness. California wrongful death laws are complex and complicated; therefore, you want an attorney who has experience handling wrongful death claims. The Levinson Law Group accepts cases on a contingent fee. That means that if there is no recovery in your case you pay no fee. And in most cases, we even advance the costs. For your free consultation, call 1-760-827-1700 today. We want to help you seek justice for your loved one and for your family.
What is Wrongful Death?
California defines wrongful death as a fatality caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another party. Several situations may give rise to a wrongful death lawsuit including but not limited to:
- Negligent driving (distracted driving, speeding, drunk driving, etc.)
- Premises liability (failure to maintain safe property – i.e. slip and fall claims)
- Medical malpractice
- Intentional acts (i.e. murder and manslaughter)
- Toxic substances
- Defective products
- Work-related deaths
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
California’s wrongful death statutes provide a civil remedy for a wrongful death. Our law allows certain people (usually close family and/or heirs) to file a civil action against the person who caused the premature death of their loved one through negligent, careless, or reckless behavior and/or actions. A wrongful death lawsuit is not a criminal prosecution. If the state decides the person violated state law, the prosecutor can file criminal charges against the person who caused the death of your loved one. Your wrongful death claim is separate from any criminal court action. Regardless of the outcome of the criminal court action, you may still be entitled to damages under a wrongful death lawsuit.
Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in California?
Each state has its own wrongful death laws that limit the individuals who ae permitted to file a wrongful death claim. In each state, including in California, the surviving spouse and/or minor children of the deceased may pursue a wrongful death claim. However, California typically permits the deceased person’s heirs and the personal representative of the deceased’s probate estate to file a wrongful death claim.
Specifically, California’s wrongful death statutes permit the following individuals to file a wrongful death lawsuit:
- The surviving spouse;
- A registered domestic partner;
- The deceased’s surviving children;
- Children of a pre-deceased child of the deceased person;
- If the deceased has no surviving spouse, domestic partner, or children, other relatives such as siblings and other relatives;
- The deceased’s stepchildren if they were dependent upon the deceased for their support);
- The parents of the deceased person if the parents were dependent on the deceased for support; and,
- Any minor who resided with the deceased person for more than 180 days prior to the wrongful death and who was dependent on the deceased person for at least one-half of his or her support.
Anyone named in the decedent’s will may also receive compensation under a wrongful death claim if the personal representative for the estate files a survivorship claim. Before filing any type of claim, you should seek the advice of an experienced wrongful death attorney to determine what type of action is in your best interest and who is entitled from your family to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
What types of damages are available in a wrongful death lawsuit?
In a wrongful death lawsuit, some of the damages you may seek are financial while other damages are non-financial losses. While some other states place a cap on the amount of damages in a wrongful death claim, California wrongful death laws do not impose a cap on damages for a wrongful death award.
Compensation that you may be entitled to receive if you file a wrongful death lawsuit includes but may not be limited to:
- Financial losses such as the financial support the deceased person would have provided during his or her lifetime, gifts, benefits, and household services.
- The estate can file a claim for expenses related to the burial, cremation, and funeral. It can also claim any other expenses the estate incurred as a result of the death of your love done.
- You may also receive compensation for the loss of a loved one’s comfort, care, assistance, protection, and moral support.
- Spouses and domestic partners may receive support for the loss of enjoyment of sexual relations.
- Children may receive compensation for the loss of guidance and training.