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Navigating loss: A guide to California wrongful death claims

On Behalf of | Mar 26, 2024 | Wrongful Death

The sudden death of a loved one due to another’s negligence is devastating. Seeking financial compensation may not be your immediate concern, but what about later?

Holding the responsible party accountable in a wrongful death claim can provide unexpected closure. It can also address financial hardships that often arise after losing a loved one.

Elements of a California wrongful death claim

Legal action involving wrongful death can be complicated. As a direct survivor, you must prove several essential elements, including:

  • That someone died – established via death certificate
  • The death occurred due to a wrongful act by the defendant (negligence, recklessness or intentional act)
  • You or your family suffered damages because of the death (loss of income, pre-death medical expenses, loss of consortium, etc.)
  • A representative has been appointed to manage the decedent’s estate and the claim

Numbers two and three are the most potentially problematic in a wrongful death claim as they are typically the hardest to prove.

Evidence is often the key to success

Evidence can be the hinge point in your case. In car crashes and other accidents, police and accident scene investigation reports may become crucial. These documents may provide a detailed picture of what happened and can potentially help to establish fault and negligence.

In medical malpractice claims, the evidentiary focus shifts to medical records. Detailed documentation from the hospital and treating physician may help prove negligence led to the death. Statements or testimony from expert witnesses (doctors, etc.) may add weight to your case.

A legal representative can guide you through your wrongful death claim, gather evidence and represent you in court, if necessary. Their assistance can significantly increase your chances of securing fair compensation and justice for your loved one.