A wrongful death claim can be filed in California when a person’s death occurred as a result of negligence or wrongful act of another person or entity. Such a claim is considered as a civil lawsuit. In case of a wrongful death, a deceased person’s survivors can file a lawsuit in the court to claim money. If the lawsuit is successful, the court will order the defendant to pay a certain amount of money to the deceased person’s survivors.
In California, a wrongful death claim is evaluated differently from a criminal case filed for a homicide. In case of a homicide, the person who is guilty will be penalized with prison time or in other ways. According to the specifications of the laws in California, a family has the right to file a claim for wrongful death, even if a criminal case is already going on.
Who are allowed to file a claim for wrongful death?
The rules and regulations in California allow only certain people to file a lawsuit for claiming money in case of a wrongful death. According to the relevant statute, the following parties are allowed to claim for a wrongful death:
- The surviving spouse of a deceased person if any
- Domestic partner of the deceased person if any
- Surviving children of the deceased person if any
- If there is no surviving member in the line of descent of the deceased person, then such a claim can also be filed by someone who has the right to claim the deceased person’s property by intestate succession. It could be anyone like parents or siblings or someone depending on the deceased person for living.
The following parties can also file lawsuit in case of a wrongful death, if they can prove that they financially depend on the deceased person for living:
- The putative spouse or the children of the putative spouse of the deceased person.
- Parents of the deceased person
- Stepchildren of the deceased person
What losses are covered by the claim?
The claim filed in case of a wrongful death normally includes the cost associated with the funeral, medical bills for the final injuries or illness of the deceased person, the income or pay the deceased person would have earned if the person was alive etc. It can also include financial support for the deceased person’s dependents.
In case of a wrongful death, the deceased person’s dependents can claim money for their loss. There are wrongful death lawyers who are specialized in such cases and they will help you with the procedures associated with filing a lawsuit for a wrongful death.