For an uninitiated, a wrongful death lawsuit is filed when one dies due to another person or entity’s wrongful act or negligence. It is one of the civil lawsuits, brought to the court of law by survivors of the deceased or personal representative of the person. A fault is solely expressed in terms of financial damages, which the court orders the defendant to pay to the survivors of the decedent (assuming the lawsuit in question is successful).
It differs from criminal cases for homicides, which are brought by the US state, and wherein guilt is penalized with jail time, probation, as well as other methods. In fact, the family of the deceased may bring civil wrongful death claim to the court of law even in case a criminal case is already going forward.
In California, only certain individuals or parties are permitted to file wrongful death lawsuit. The statute particularly lets the below-mentioned parties bring wrongful death claim.
- Surviving spouse of the deceased individual
- The deceased person’s domestic partner
- The decedent’s surviving kids
In case there is no surviving individual in the person’s current line of descent, a wrongful death case may be brought to anybody “who would be entitled to the property of the decedent by intestate succession”, which can comprise the deceased’s parents or siblings, depending upon who is living at the time of his or her passing away.
Besides, in case they can show that they were financially dependent upon the decedent, the below-mentioned parties can bring the lawsuit in CA.
- The deceased’s “putative spouse” as well as putative spouse’s kids
- The person’s stepchildren
- The decedent’s parents
When to File a Wrongful Death Claim in California
Like a personal injury claim, a wrongful death claim in the state has to be filed inside a specific period of time, which in legalese is referred to as “statute of limitations”. The state statute necessitates the claim to be filed inside two years of the passing away date. In case the case is not filed in its civil court system inside the stipulated time period, the family will nearly certainly lose the right to do it at all.
You can consider hiring a wrongful death attorney sooner rather than later so that the professional can fight in the court on your behalf and recover as many damages as possible.