Questions About Wrongful Death
I’m Ed Smith, a Lincoln Wrongful death lawyer. Wrongful death is an area of civil law covered under personal injury. It means that a family member who was dependent on the deceased person for financial and emotional support may ask to be compensated for the loss of that family member if the death was caused by negligence. Following are some questions commonly asked regarding wrongful death.
What Kind of Accidents Can Result in a Wrongful Death?
While a wrongful death can result from a deliberate or negligent act, the demise of the person may not be covered by insurance. This is why grieving families pursue financial compensation when a loved one is killed in one of the following ways:
- Motor vehicle accidents are probably the most common reason a wrongful death action is pursued. Examples of negligence when driving include speeding, texting while driving, hit-and-run and running a red light or other forms of reckless driving.
- Products liability may range from unsafe vehicles or household products to mislabeling or poor formulation of a drug.
- Medical malpractice has a wide range from an error when the pharmacist fills a prescription for a wrong diagnosis by a physician or errors made in a hospital.
- Premises liability refers to dangers in private homes or in the public sphere that result in the death of an individual and could have been averted if repairs had been made.
- Intentional acts encompass manslaughter, murder or other acts that are reckless or deliberate and result in someone’s death. Compensation may not be pursued in an intentional act unless the individual possesses enough money to pay the claim. An individual who dies as a result of another person’s self-defense cannot be compensated for a wrongful death.
If I Was Named in the Deceased Person’s Will, Can I Place a Wrongful Death Claim?
The answer to this depends on whether the individual is included in the list of those who can file in California under Code of Civil Procedure 377.60. Just because an individual is named as a beneficiary of someone’s will does not grant them the right to file for financial compensation. Those who are allowed to file a wrongful death claim are as follows:
- Spouse or registered domestic partner of the decedent
- Living children
- Living children of a deceased child
- Stepchildren who were dependent on the decedent for support
- Parents of the deceased if they depended on the decedent for support
- Any other minors who had lived with the decedent for at least 180 days and depended on the decedent for at least 50 percent of their financial support
How Is Compensation Divided in a California Claim for Wrongful Death?
While some states make separate awards to claimants, California courts generally award compensation in a lump sum. When the family members are in disagreement about how the compensation is to be distributed, the court may step in to allocate funds in a way that is reasonable and fair.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in California?
In California, the statute of limitations is two years from the death of the family member to file a lawsuit for wrongful death. After that time, the case will not be heard. If the claim is against a government vehicle or entity, the deadline for filing is six months. The government entity has 45 days in which to respond. If the answer is no or there is no response, the claimant then has two years from the date the family member was lost to file for resulting damages.
Lincoln CA Wrongful Death Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Lincoln wrongful death lawyer. Losing a loved one because of someone else’s negligence is a tragedy that should have been avoided. If your loved one was lost due to another’s negligence, I am here to offer my compassionate and friendly advice for free. Please call me anytime at (916) 921-6400 or at (800) 404-5400.
Throughout my 36 year career as an injury lawyer, I’ve helped Lincoln and Placer County residents as well as those throughout Northern California, with obtaining fair restitution for their traumatic injuries such as brain injuries and wrongful deaths.
As a California member of the Million Dollar Advocates, I belong to a trial lawyers group with one million dollar case settlements or verdicts for clients.
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You may browse a list of our past cases and their results on the Verdicts and Settlements page.
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