Wrongful death is a death that’s caused by another person’s or entity’s mistake or by the improper action of another person or entity. Such wrongful actions include:
- Medical malpractice
- Negligence such as careless or wreckless driving
- A premeditated attack such as an assault
- A death that occurs as a result of another crime taking place
- Vehicular manslaughter
- Manslaughter or murder
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim exists when a person loses their life due to the legal fault of another person or entity. While common law in the US initially did not allow for this type of lawsuit, state and federal courts have since created the right to bring a wrongful death action. Today, all US states including California have wrongful death laws.
Wrongful death claims run the gamut from simple fatal car crashes to more difficult medical malpractice cases and claims pertaining to faulty products and unsafe drugs and defective medical devices. Individuals, companies and governmental agencies can be legally held accountable for acting in a negligent manner or for the failure to act reasonably wherein an unintentional death occurs.
Who Is Allowed to File a Wrongful Death Claim?
In the state of California, a wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit that is brought to court by the survivors of the deceased person. The following parties can file a wrongful death claim:
- The surviving spouse and children of the deceased
- The domestic partner of the deceased
- The parents and siblings of the deceased
- The grandparents or lineal descendents of the deceased and/or
- Individuals who financially depended upon the deceased person at the time their death.
Who May be Sued for a Wrongful Death?
In California, wrongful death lawsuits can be brought against a wide range of individuals, companies, governmental agencies and employees. For example, in a vehicular accident that involved a faulty roadway and an intoxicated driver, a wrongful death claim can be brought against:
- The motor vehicle operator
- The builder of the faulty roadway
- A governmental agency that failed to post adequate road hazard warnings on the roadway the accident occurred
- The individual who was responsible for serving, selling or giving alcohol to the intoxicated driver or
- The owner or employee of the establishment where the alcohol was served
What Type of Compensation Can Be Claimed in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In California, a person filing a wrongful death claim is generally entitled to monetary damages for all harm suffered and likely to suffer in the future due to the victim’s death. The following monetary compensation types are generally allowed under law for a wrongful death claim:
- All past medical, hospital and other medical-related charges
- All funeral, burial and related expenses
- All past and projected future loss of earnings and support (including things like food, clothing, shelter and financial contributions)
- Loss of services – This includes things like household services following the death of a spouse or parent
- Loss of love, companionship, comfort and moral support as well as
- Any and all other appropriate damages permitted under California law.
Losing someone you love is painful but losing a loved one due to wrongful death is even more difficult. If someone’s wrongful actions resulted in the death of your loved one, our California wrongful death attorneys can help you obtain the compensation you need and deserve. We are 100% committed to representing you with the dedication, expertise and passion necessary to achieve the favorable results you deserve.