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What You Should Know When Considering Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in California

California’s wrongful death law is set forth under the Code of Civil Procedure §377.60. Here, the law explains that California allows families the opportunity to seek damages when a loved one has passed away as a result of another’s wrongful actions.

By filing a wrongful death claim, the following damages may be sought: Funeral, burial, or crematory costs, Income the deceased would have earned, and Restitution for the loss of support, guidance, and companionship.

Understanding Who Has a Legal Standing to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in California

As it pertains to the Code of Civil Procedure §377.60, the following individuals can bring forth a wrongful death lawsuit: The victim’s surviving domestic partner or spouse, Children, grandchildren , when the deceased’s children have also passed away, Other dependents, such as step-children, and Others who are entitled to the victim’s assets as it pertains to the state’s laws on intestate succession.

Establishing Liability for the Victim’s Passing

A wrongful death action can be pursued based on gross negligence, negligence, recklessness, and intentional wrongful action.

A wrongful action that can cause the death of a person can include, but is not limited to: Reckless car accidents involving drunk drivers, distracted drivers, speeding, etc., Slip and fall accidents, Swimming pool accidents, Murder or manslaughter, Assault and battery, Medical malpractice Child abuse, and/or Elder abuse.

Damages Available in a Wrongful Death Claim

By filing a wrongful death claim, the victim’s survivors may be able to recover compensatory damages. These damages may include economic damages as well as non-economic damages. The damages available will depend solely on the facts of each individual case.

Economic Damages – These types of damages are tangible losses that essentially cover all out-of-pocket expenses the victim and his or her family accumulated in the aftermath of the accident. Examples of economic damages include: Medical costs, Loss of earnings and loss of future earnings, Property damage, and/or Rehabilitation.

Non-Economic Damages – These damages are far less tangible than economic losses and will therefore be subject to evaluation by a jury. Examples of non-economic losses include: Humiliation and embarrassment, Loss of quality of life, Pain and suffering, and/or Loss of companionship and consortium.

Currently, there is no set standard that is used to determine the amount of non-economic damages available in a case. Consequently, a California jury can award any amount deemed reasonable based on the provided evidence.

Following the Wrongful Death of a Loved One, Speak to a Knowledgeable Attorney

Losing a loved one can cause serious emotional trauma, but when a loved one has died as a result of another’s careless actions, this will only exacerbate an already challenging time. If you lost someone you cared for because of another’s negligence, you may be able to obtain restitution by filing a wrongful death claim. Although filing a claim will do nothing to bring your loved one back, it will help alleviate the financial burdens associated with the unexpected death. Speak to a well-versed attorney who can help you navigate the process.

The  Martinez & Schill, LLP law firm is a highly regarded practice in the field of wrongful death cases. Wrongful death action is a challenging undertaking, as it is a sensitive time for most claimants. Following an accident that resulted in the death of a loved one, consider contacting the attorneys at Martinez & Schill, LLP for a free initial evaluation.

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