It’s a tragedy to lose a loved one in any sort of circumstance. It can be even more difficult to lose someone as a result of the negligence of another person or entity.
The state of California has laws in place that are intended to help protect and provide justice for those who have lost a loved one in this way. The California wrongful death statute gives rights to those have lost family in a wrongful death case.
Who is eligible for such a claim and how does it work? Read on and we’ll walk you through what you need to know.
What Is Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death claim can arise out of a wide variety of different situations. Any situation in which a person has died but the responsible party is not convicted of murder or manslaughter could be viewed as a potential wrongful death case.
Many cases of medical malpractice result in wrongful death, as do situations where workers pass away due to unsafe working conditions. In looking at the details after a car accident, there are even instances where wrongful death might be considered.
In order to bring a wrongful death case forward, a plaintiff must prove that the loss of a family member has left certain individuals damaged financially and that this death was the cause of the defendant’s negligence. The standard for evidence and proof in a wrongful death case is not as high as it is in a murder case.
Who Can Bring a Claim Forward?
In order to bring a claim forward, the family of the deceased needs to have appointed a personal representative for the deceased’s estate. In California, the case must be brought forward by the deceased’s spouse, children, or the surviving and most direct family members.
The individual bringing the case forward must have been in some way financially dependent on the deceased individual.
There are some situations in which a person’s unofficial life partner might be able to step forward to make a claim. You should speak to an attorney to see if this is possible in your case.
Damages Available in a Wrongful Death Claim
What can a surviving family member sue for in a wrongful death claim? A variety of things.
Expenses related to medical bills and medical care can be considered, as well as the costs incurred by any sort of funeral or burial. The bigger compensation can come from lost wages, as a surviving member of the family can sue for the anticipated wages a person would’ve brought in if they remained alive.
Surviving family members might also be able to sue for a loss of companionship, which is a less qualitative damage that an attorney can help properly evaluate.
The California Wrongful Death Statute
If you’ve lost a family member due to the negligence of another party, it’s well worth understanding the California wrongful death statute.
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