There are a number of reasons why people file personal injury lawsuits in our state – car accidents, truck crashes, medical malpractice, construction accidents, assault, and accidents on properties are some common examples.

However, you also can file a wrongful death lawsuit if the actions of a negligent or reckless party took the life of a loved one. California has certain rules on who can file a wrongful death lawsuit and for what reasons.

Who Can File a California Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Only certain people with close relationships to the decedent (the deceased person) can file a wrongful death lawsuit in our state. Spouses, domestic partners and children can seek compensation for their damages. 

Certain other parties, such as parents or siblings, may become eligible to file a lawsuit. For instance, parents of minors are eligible and can even receive non-economic damages for pain and suffering, which could significantly increase the value of a claim or verdict.  

California law also allows stepchildren to file cases under the right circumstances. You should speak with a California wrongful death attorney if you are unsure about your eligibility for filing a lawsuit.

What Are Possible Damages in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Damages in a wrongful death lawsuit can be similar to damages awarded by personal injury lawsuits. If you are eligible to file in California, then you may recover damages for:

  • Loss of income. If the decedent contributed economically to the family, then lost income may factor into a settlement or verdict. This includes income the family member would have been reasonably expected to make over the course of his or her life.
  • Funeral expenses. Funerals are costly for most families. Fortunately, you can recover compensation for funeral and burial expenses by filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
  • Medical and hospital expenses. If your loved one suffered a serious illness or injury before death, then it is highly probable he or she incurred medical debt. Health expenses may factor into a verdict or settlement.
  • Non-economic damages. The death of a loved one can inflict severe pain and suffering. For this reason, you may be able to recover damages for loss of guidance, companionship and affection.

There is no guarantee the insurance company will offer a fair settlement amount. You may need to file a lawsuit in court to force a fairer settlement or to obtain a jury verdict.

Do I Need to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

You should speak with an attorney about filing a wrongful death lawsuit. An attorney can help in a number of ways, including negotiating with insurance companies and working with experts to strengthen the evidence of your case. You will need to show the other party was somehow reckless or negligent, so it is important to pick an experienced attorney.

However, you should not wait to file. There is a statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits in California. Once you are beyond the statute of limitations, you will not be able to recover compensation for your damages.

About Our Fairfield Wrongful Death Lawyers

We encourage you to call us if you lost a loved one to the negligent actions of others and want to explore your legal options. Our Fairfield wrongful death lawyers can help you determine your eligibility for filing a claim or lawsuit. You may schedule a free consultation with us by dialing (707)425-0671 or by using our online case review form.