Everything You Need to Know About a Wrongful Death Claim
I’m Ed Smith, a Roseville wrongful death lawyer. The family members of an individual who dies because of another person’s or entity’s negligent or wrongful action may be able to obtain damages for that loss. A wrongful death claim is a lawsuit that is civil in nature, not criminal, and undertaken by a decedent’s family members. Let’s take a look at what you need to know about wrongful death lawsuits, including the time limit to file, what damages can be claimed and what happens when a wrongful death is caused by an intentional act.
Is There a Time Limit in Which to File for Wrongful Death?
Under California law, a claim for wrongful death must be placed within two years of the date of death of the loved one. If the claim is not filed within this period of time, the case is unlikely to be heard by the court and will be dismissed.
What Damages Can Be Claimed in a Wrongful Death?
The damages that are claimed in California depend on whether the death was due to negligence or a wrongful act. Amounts can differ also depending on a number of factors. Normally, the damages are divided among family members or go to an estate. An experienced wrongful death lawyer can explain in detail what specific items are recoverable. In California, the losses that may be claimed are as follows:
- Expenses for a loved one’s funeral and burial
- Income the decedent would have earned in their job if they had lived
- Household services, which are the monetary value for personal contributions the deceased made to the household
- Loss of community, moral support, guidance, love and attention
- Loss of inheritance
- Loss of benefits provided through a loved one’s job such as pension, healthcare and other work-related earnings
- Loss of consortium
What if a Wrongful Death Was Caused by an Intentional Act?
If a death was caused by an intentional act or an act such as murder, the family may be able to claim punitive damages under California Civil Code 3294. The difference is that punitive damages are not awarded for financial reimbursement but to punish the wrongdoer. This is regardless of whether the individual who caused the death was convicted of a crime.
What Family Members May Be Included in a Wrongful Death Claim?
In California, which has a high number of wrongful deaths, the following family members may file for the loss of a loved one:
- Spouse, domestic partner or putative spouse of the decedent
- The decedent’s surviving children or grandchildren of a deceased child
- Stepchildren who were supported at least 50 percent by the decedent
- Any other minors who were supported at least 50 percent by the loved one
- Parents who were dependent on the decedent for financial support
- If the decedent died without leaving any direct descendants, then any family member can file who would inherit through an estate. This may include parents, siblings, etc.
Related Article by Roseville Wrongful Death Lawyer Ed Smith
Roseville Wrongful Death Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Roseville wrongful death lawyer. When faced with the death of a loved one due to negligence or an intentional act, the surviving family members may face financial difficulties along with the stress and anguish of that loss. A seasoned wrongful death lawyer can help by explaining your options and helping to recover damages. In Roseville, call me at (916) 921-6400 for free, friendly advice. Outside the area code, use my toll-free line at (800) 404-5400.
I have been honored to serve the people of Roseville and surrounding Northern California for more than 36 years in recovering fair compensation in the many types of car accidents and serious trauma such as brain injuries.
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