FAQ: Who Are The Heirs For Wrongful Death In California?
A loved one's passing can cause severe financial loss and emotional distress to the surviving family members. So, when a negligent party is responsible for the death of a loved one, family members might bring a suit to hold the liable parties accountable.
That said, which family member can file a wrongful death claim in California? Can it be anyone? What if you were the sibling of a descendant in a wrongful death claim?
Let's look at what our prescreened California wrongful death lawyers have to say about it:
Who Can File A Wrongful Death Claim In California?
Only a select group of people are permitted to claim damages following a wrongful death. The California Code of Civil Procedure states that a surviving spouse, domestic partner, and children have priority in bringing a wrongful death claim under Section 377.60.
Anyone legally entitled to the decedent's property through intestate succession may file if these parties are not present. This may, in some cases, include parents, stepchildren, or siblings. In certain situations, people financially dependent on the deceased may also be eligible to sue for damages in a wrongful death case.
So, yes. A sibling may file a wrongful death suit in California. However, they can only do so if every other heir in the intestate succession is not there to do so. Hence, siblings may not be the first priority in filing claims if the spouse is still alive.
That said, not all families are the same. If you think you might be eligible to file a case, get a Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer to assess your claim.
What Are The Damages That Can Be Recovered In Case Of Death In California?
In addition to funeral and burial expenses, heirs may be entitled to compensation for lost household services, lost household assistance, lost consortium, community, and companionship, lost parental supervision for minor children, and lost future financial support.
The victim's estate may also be entitled to compensation for economic losses—such as hospital and medical bills—incurred before the victim's passing and caused by the defendant's negligence. The damages that can apply to your case can be determined by an experienced wrongful death lawyer in California.
Can You Get Punitive Damages For Wrongful Death In California?
Family members cannot get punitive damages for wrongful death claims, with the single exception of felony homicide. So, unless you can prove that the death of your loved one was caused by a defendant's felony homicide, then punitive damages are unavailable in most wrongful death claims in California.
To get a good estimate of the damages you are eligible for, have a California wrongful death lawyer assess your case. They can calculate your damages, find necessary evidence, and represent you in settlement negotiations and lawsuits.
Is There A Time Limit To Wrongful Death Claims In California?
California has a statute of limitations that establishes the maximum amount of time a person must file a lawsuit following a wrongful death. Survivors of the decedent should file a wrongful death claim within two years from the date of their loved one's death under California Code of Civil Procedure 377.60.
You won't be able to receive compensation if you miss the deadline. There are a few exceptions to this rule, though. For example, the statute of limitations is three years from the decedent's death if the cause was medical malpractice.
Statutes of limitations are in place in every state to encourage victims to file lawsuits within a reasonable time. After too much time has passed after the event, witnesses' memories fade, and reconstructing the specifics becomes more challenging.
Hire A Prescreened Wrongful Death Attorney In California
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