Wrongful death refers to a death that occurs due to the wrongful act of another individual or organization. It is a civil suit for monetary damages, and may be brought even if a criminal case about the incident(s) are proceeding separately. Here are four facts to know about wrongful death cases in California.

  • First, several categories of family member may bring a wrongful death suit. These include the deceased person’s surviving spouse or domestic partner, his or her surviving children, or, if there are neither in these categories, by an individual “who would be entitled to the property of the decedent by intestate succession.” This might be, for example, parents or siblings.
  • Second, several categories of persons can bring a wrongful death suit if they can show financial dependence on the deceased party. This includes the deceased person’s “putative spouse” and their children, stepchildren, and parents.
  • Third, damages can be sought for the estate, for losses related to the death. These might include medical and hospital bills for the final illness or injury; funeral and burial expenses; and lost income, including income the deceased person had the reasonable potential of earnings in the future if he or she had lived.
  • Fourth, damages can be sought for surviving family members for the loss of love, community, attention, affection, moral support, and guidance; for loss of financial support, and for the value of household services performed by the deceased.

Please contact us if you need to talk to an attorney about a wrongful death. We will fight vigilantly for your rights.


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