Overview Of Wrongful Death In California - FOX21- Entertaining Delmarva One Click at a Time

Overview Of Wrongful Death In California


When you lose a family member in an incident where others were responsible, you may be experiencing anger and frustration in addition to your grief. A wrongful death lawsuit will allow you to seek justice and make sure that this type of incident doesn’t happen again.

What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?

Under the California wrongful death statute, every heir that is named by the law is allowed to recover monetary damages for the loss that they have personally suffered due to their loved one’s death.

Who May Bring A Wrongful Death Claim?

Only the people who are specifically named by California Code of Civil Procedure Section 337.60 are allowed to bring a wrongful death action. The surviving spouse, domestic partner, children, the children of any deceased children, or the person who would be entitled to the deceased person’s property through intestate succession are entitled to file a wrongful death action.

There are also some more complex rules about other people who may be allowed to file a wrongful death claim. If you think you may be entitled to file a wrongful death claim, you should speak to an experienced California Wrongful Death Attorney to learn about your rights.

Elements of a Wrongful Death Case

Under California law, a wrongful death suit requires the following elements:

  • A human death
  • The cause of death was caused by another’s negligence or intent to cause harm
  • The surviving family members are suffering monetary injury as a result of the death
  • A personal representative has been appointed

The victim’s death must have been caused by the wrongful act or negligence of another. The responsible party’s negligence or wrongful act must have played a substantial factor or been the probable cause of death. The liability must be proven by a “preponderance of the evidence.”

The death of an unborn child or fetus is not actionable under California wrongful death law.

Damages for wrongful death include:

  • Expenses related to medical bills for the care of the deceased right before his or her death
  • Funeral expenses and burial expenses
  • Amount of money the deceased reasonably would have earned if he or she had remained alive
  • Loss of financial support to surviving family members
  • Loss of love, companionship, affection, etc. to surviving family members

California Wrongful Death Claim Statute of Limitations

There are a few different statutes of limitations or deadlines during which you must initiate a legal action for a wrongful death claim in California.

  • Most wrongful death claims must be filed within two years of the date of injury or date of death. California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1.
  • If your claim is based on medical malpractice, you have three years from the date of injury or one year after you discovered or should have discovered the injury, whichever occurred first. California Code of Civil Procedure Section 340.5.
  • If your claim is based on government tort liability, your claim must usually be filed at the appropriate location within six months of the injury.

Finding a Lawyer

If you’re looking for a wrongful death attorney in California, you should find someone who is both highly experienced and knowledgeable in the area of wrongful death law.

If you would like to speak with an experienced California Wrongful Death law firm that has more than 30 years of experience in this area, schedule a free consultation with Alexander Law Group by clicking here.

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