You could sue for wrongful death in California if someone caused the death of your loved one. Negligence, such as drunk driving, is a possible reason behind causing someone’s death. Intentional harm to your loved one also qualifies for raising a wrongful death lawsuit.
Proving wrongful death
California wrongful death law lists four factors that a plaintiff must prove. They must prove that the victim died, their family is suffering monetary loss because of the death and that the defendant caused the death. You must also show that a personal representative is in charge of the deceased’s estate. Wrongful death operates based on a preponderance of the evidence rather than beyond reasonable doubt.
Limitations around wrongful death lawsuits
You have up to two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit in California. Only surviving spouses, domestic partners, children and the issue of deceased children may file a wrongful death lawsuit. If you were dependent on the decedent for living, then you might be able to make a wrongful death claim. Putative spouses, children of putative spouses, stepchildren and parents could also take legal action. Minors who were living in the decedent’s house for the past 180 days and were dependent on the decedent for at least half of their living expenses could also start a lawsuit.
Damages that you could recover
California could award you several types of damages when you win a wrongful death claim. Loss of companionship and affection is a type of damage. You may also recoup funeral costs, relevant medical bills from the decedent and loss of financial support that the decedent would be providing for you if they were alive.
You must meet eligibility requirements to sue for wrongful death. If you don’t qualify, you could raise the issue with the deceased’s family to seek justice.