Do You Have Grounds to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in California?

When you lose a loved one in an accident, it can feel as though you’ll never get over it. It can feel hopeless when there is nothing you can do – but there may be something you can do. Depending on the type of accident, the specifics of your relationship to the person who has lost their life, and other factors, you may have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. Keep reading to learn more and then contact us at (310) 209-1600 for a free consultation with a personal injury attorney.

Only People with Certain Relationships Qualify

First, we must determine if you have one of the types of relationships that would qualify you to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If you are a spouse, domestic partner, or child of the deceased then you are almost guaranteed to qualify if there is a case.

There are other people who can qualify but they are more complicated. For example, a grandchild may qualify if they are financially dependent on the deceased and their parents are dead, stepchildren can qualify if they counted on the victim for at least half of their emotional distress, and anyone who would be entitled to property based intestate succession.

Types of Accidents That Can Support a Wrongful Death Claim

A survivor bringing a wrongful death action claim can do so for behavior that was negligent, grossly negligent, reckless, or intentionally wrong. Some types of accidents that can stem from this type of action include car accidents, medical malpractice, slip and fall accidents, child abuse, drowning, murder, and others.

There are a few types of accidents that can qualify as wrongful death cases even when the defendant is not shown to have been negligent. For example, California has a strict liability law regarding dog bites, which means that the owner is automatically responsible for the actions of their dog, even if they had no evidence that their dog was violent. Likewise, a company that produces a defective product does not necessarily have to have been negligent.

Damages Recoverable in a Wrongful Death Case in California

If you have a valid claim for a wrongful death case, you may be eligible for both economic and noneconomic compensation. Economic damages include things like financial support the deceased would have provided if they had not died, the cost of funeral and burial, the loss of benefits the heirs could have expected to receive if the deceased had lived a natural lifespan, and the value of household damages the victim would have provided.

Noneconomic damages include things like compensation for training and guidance, society and companionship, moral support, affection, protection, and sexual relations. There is no standard formula for determining noneconomic damages – your attorney will help you determine a fair amount and work to convince the involved parties that you are owed said amount. Call Law Offices of Michael A. Kahn at (310) 209-1600 to learn more about your options.

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