California Wrongful Death Claim 101

If you’ve lost a loved one due to the actions of another. It doesn’t matter whether the actions of the defendant in your case were intentional or negligent- if it wasn’t for the actions of the defendant, your family member would still be with you today. Below we discuss the ins and outs of California wrongful death laws so that you can prepare yourself for your the claims process.

Filing Within The Statute Of Limitations

First and foremost, you need to make sure that you file your claim before the statute of limitations runs out in your case. The time limit for a wrongful death claim in California is two years from the date of the decedent’s passing.

If you do not pursue your claim within the statute of limitations, you will be unable to have your case heard in court, and you will not be able to recover compensation for the damages both you and your deceased loved one endured.

Who Can Pursue A Claim?

California laws regarding who can file a wrongful death claim are very strict. The following entities may be able to pursue a claim under the appropriate circumstances:

  • The decedent’s surviving spouse, children, or domestic partner
  • The decedent’s surviving parents or siblings
  • The decedent’s stepchildren
  • The decedent’s putative spouse or children

The surviving spouse, children and/or domestic partner of the deceased will be the first parties entitled to file a claim first. If none of these parties are in the decedent’s line of descent, then anyone who might inherit the deceased’s property and assets would be able to file a claim, such as the deceased’s parents or siblings.

Also, those family members who can demonstrate financial dependance on the deceased such as the decedent’s stepchildren, putative spouse, or children of the putative spouse will also be able to pursue a wrongful death claim. The term putative refers to an assumed, but not by-law binding, marriage between the deceased and other person.

Damages That Can Be Recovered

There are two different ways that damages are categorized in a California wrongful death claim: those that the decedent suffered or would have sought in a personal injury claim, and those that the family suffered upon the death of their loved one.

The losses of the deceased might include lost wages and damage to their earning potential, medical bills accrued due to their injuries, and funeral and burial costs.

Damages that will be attributed to the surviving family members pursuing the wrongful death claim would include the loss of financial support, the loss of companionship and love, the loss of household services, and  the loss of community and guidance.

Your attorney will be able to go over all of the losses that could be considered when calculating the value of your claim to ensure no damage is unaccounted for.

Speak With A California Wrongful Death Lawyer

If you have additional questions about how to go about filing a wrongful death claim, reach out to the wrongful death lawyers of Dickson Kohan & Bablove today. Your attorney will work to secure the compensation you need to pick up the pieces of your life.

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