Serious car or truck accidents, sub-par medical treatment, and other devastating events can cost someone their life. It’s not just the deceased who is affected. The death affects an entire family. It could mean the loss of the only income. It could mean children lose their only parent. It could mean that parents lose their child. When someone dies in California because of the negligence of another person, the family who was left behind may have a wrongful death claim that they can pursue.
California Wrongful Death Claims Are Civil Lawsuits
Sometimes, when a person dies because of an accident, the state may file charges against the person that they believe caused the accident and the death. Sometimes, however, the state doesn’t charge the other person with a crime. Even if they do, the family doesn’t get financially compensated for their loss.
In a California wrongful death claim, you’re filing a civil lawsuit against the person that you believe acted in a way that was negligent that caused the death of your loved one. Even if the state brings criminal charges, the family of the victim may be able to file a civil wrongful death claim.
Who Can File a California Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Only certain people who were related to the victim can file a wrongful death lawsuit in California. The California wrongful death statute says you can only file a wrongful death claim if you are:
- The surviving spouse, putative spouse, or domestic partner
- Surviving children
- Step-children if they were financially dependent upon the deceased
- The parents of the deceased (although if the deceased is an adult, this may be legally limited by intestate claims unless the parents were financially dependent upon the deceased)
- If the deceased was unmarried and had no children, anyone who would be considered eligible for part of the deceased’s estate through the laws of intestate succession
There Is a Time Limit
In California, there is a time limit, or statute of limitations, for filing a wrongful death lawsuit. The lawsuit must be filed within two years of the death unless the person filing the lawsuit was a minor at the time the death occurred.
If your loved one was killed in an auto accident, pedestrian accident, or other type of accident that was not their fault, contact the experienced attorneys at Ghozland Law Firm today.