My father died in a horrific accident in February 2013. We were all devastated, and his partner of 40 years is trying to sue for wrongful death or compensation because he was her provider, but they were never married. Is she legally allowed to do this? Can a non-family sue for wrongful death? We also want to know if we have a wrongful death case as his surviving children.
The California Code of Civil Procedure provides for certain heirs to file for a wrongful death action on their own behalf for the victim’s death. Those persons are the following (CCP § 377.60):
- Surviving spouse
- Domestic partner
- Issue of deceased children
- Putative spouse
- Children of the putative spouse
However, according to caselaw, unmarried persons living together but are not registered domestic partners may not be able to qualify as a wrongful death claimant for the death of the partner [Holguin v. Flores (2004)].
To be better informed about the legal standing or qualification of a person who may file a wrongful death claim, consult with a lawyer who is an expert in personal injury cases.