Wrongful Death Claim in California

How to Handle a Wrongful Death Claim in California

California offers various legal remedies for heirs who want to file a wrongful death claim. This is a claim that they can file if they suffered economic and non-economic losses associated with the death of a loved one or family member.

A wrongful death claim in California is limited to economic damages and does not extend to punitive damages no matter how malicious the conduct that led to the death may have been. If you have a loved one who died a wrongful death, read on to learn how to handle a wrongful death claim in California.

What Are Wrongful Death Cases?

Before you can file a wrongful death claim, you need to ascertain whether your case falls under this category. Generally, a wrongful death claim is proper when a person or entity is responsible for the death of another and has no excuse for causing such death due to intentional and wrongful or negligent acts.

These acts include intentional acts such as murder, homicide, negligent driving, medical malpractice, and a homeowner’s failure to maintain safe premises.

Wrongful Death Claim in California

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Under California law, the persons entitled to file a wrongful death suit are those who are called to inherit from the deceased if he or she had no will. These include the deceased’s spouse, living children, siblings, and grandparents, among others, depending on the specific circumstances.

The deceased’s domestic partner can make a claim as long as the domestic partnership was registered. If the decedent had no children, no spouse, and no domestic partner, any other person who would be entitled to the property of the deceased if he or she did not have a will has the right to file a claim.

Filing Process

Once you have ascertained that you have grounds to sue, the next step would be to obtain official documents such as police reports, medical reports, incident reports, and financial information, such as hospital and medical bills, information on lost wages contained in tax returns, pay stubs, and the like, to support your claim for economic losses arising from the death of the loved one.

It is also important to identify other areas where compensation is available, such as damages for loss of companionship and love, moral support, loss of marital relations, guidance and training, and damages for pain,suffering, and emotional distress suffered from the loss.

Hiring a Lawyer

Most wrongful death lawsuits stand the best chance of success if ¬†handled by a wrongful death lawyer in Orange County or elsewhere in California. The next step is for you to talk to a lawyer about your claim so that you can receive a legal opinion about where you stand ¬†and how much you can claim. Your lawyer can handle the technical aspects of filing a claim and even help you consolidate other claims, such as survivorship claims, with your original case. Most importantly, your lawyer can help you counter the opposing party’s responses, especially if the other party files a demurrer or a legal challenge to your complaint.

Wrongful death lawsuits can be complicated and take a toll on both parties, so having a legal expert who can walk you through the entire process can make a big difference in your chances for success. If you feel that you have a case, a lawyer can help you file a successful claim. Get in touch with your lawyer today.