California Wrongful Death Laws

Updated: 7 hours ago

A definitive guide to California Wrongful Death and what to do after a wrongful death incidents



Wrongful death is a tort case that enables surviving family members to obtain financial compensation for a loved one's death. If a tort or wrongdoing is to blame for an accident that leads to a victim's death, the person who committed the tort will be held liable for damages.

wrongful death lawyers in california

In California, a wrongful death is described as a legal claim that occurs when someone dies as a result of someone else's (or a group's) negligence. A wrongful death case, if successful, may be able to compensate the family for damages such as burial and funeral costs, as well as bring the answerable party to justice.


A wrongful death lawsuit is not the same as a suicide or murder trial. It isn't even a court case. Instead, it's a lawsuit filed in California's civil courts. It aims to hold a defendant civilly responsible for someone's death rather than criminally.


Whether or not the at-fault party committed a crime, the family may have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Following an intentional crime, such as murder, the family will be entitled to file a civil wrongful death suit while the suspect is awaiting a criminal trial. Your relatives will even be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit based on an unintended tort, such as carelessness.


Who Can Sue In A Wrongful Death Case In California?


If you're planning to seek justice for a loved one who died from someone else's negligence, then it is important to know the basics of a wrongful death claim. Only select survivors are allowed to file for a claim in California.


Are you any of the following?

  1. If the deceased is married at the time of death, the spouse or registered domestic partner may file a lawsuit.

  2. If the deceased's children are still alive, they could file a lawsuit. If a child has predeceased, the offspring (grandchildren) of that child will file a lawsuit.

  3. The deceased's parents could file a lawsuit if the decedent was married but had no children.

  4. If the deceased's spouse, children, or parents are no longer alive, the decedent's siblings or other dependents may file a lawsuit.

  5. The parents of a minor child who dies may file a lawsuit. If the decedent's parents have died, the decedent's siblings will file a claim.

  6. Those who may be entitled to inherit property and properties and those who were financial dependents of the decedent would have the right to file a wrongful death claim in most cases where the decedent did not draft a will.

Survivors are entitled to financial compensation for their injuries, which may include:

  1. Expenditures on health and medication

  2. The decedent's estate is valued at potential monetary contributions as well as personal service, guidance, or training.

  3. In the meantime, companionship, comfort, community, compassion, solace, and moral guidance were all lost.

  4. Punitive damages are only recoverable in "survival suits," which enable the deceased's estate to recover economic losses incurred as a result of the event that eventually caused their death, even though the deceased only lived for a brief moment after the incident that killed them.

It is important to obtain legal advice from an experienced California wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. Many factors can affect your case's outcome, and strict statutes of limitations apply to all personal injury cases.


In a wrongful death case, what is the statute of limitations?


The term of limitations in most cases is two years from the date of death. However, other factors such as the source and nature of the action that caused death, the plaintiff(s) and defendant(s)' circumstances, and other factors such as the following all play a role:


A one-year statute of limitations can extend to medical malpractice lawsuits.


A government tort lawsuit must be filed first if a complaint is being brought against a California government agency. These statements have a 180-day limitation period.


What Can You Expect from A Wrongful Death Case?


Emotional Impacts on Family Members. Emotional and psychological effects can be debilitating and lead to serious consequences. They should be evaluated by a specialist.