How Can You Sue for Wrongful Death in California?

How Can You Sue for Wrongful Death in California?

Most people haven’t heard about wrongful death claims until something tragic happens in their family. Of course, the last people that a grieving family wants to talk to is a law group. However, there are many times when it is not only justified but necessary for families to seek compensation for wrongful death in California.  A wrongful death case is a civil action where you take legal steps to hold that person responsible for their role in causing a death. There may or may not be associated criminal elements. You don’t need to go through a criminal trial in order to pursue a claim for wrongful death in California. In fact, many accidents that result in a fatality don’t produce favorable outcomes in vehicular homicide cases. Car accidents aren’t the only cause that’s for families to take action and file a wrongful death claim. There are many reasons to file these types of lawsuits, but there are many nuances that come with filing these lawsuits as well. They’re not an easy case to take on and they’re not an easy case to handle, but for many families, it’s the only way to remain stable after an unexpected loss.

The Basics of Wrongful Death in California

There are basics of wrongful death in California that any person considering a wrongful death lawsuit should know. First, the death must have arisen out of recklessness, negligence, or gross negligence. These usually include car accidents, pedestrian accidents, drowning, murder, manslaughter, abuse or neglect, and assault or battery. Once you’ve established that the death itself was wrongful and that the wrongdoer is liable, you must move within a certain time limit. The statute of limitations within California for any type of wrongful death claim is two years.

Who Can Start the Wrongful Death Claim?

Every state has different expectations on who can initiate a wrongful death claim, and who should benefit from any compensation received as part of the claim. For wrongful death in California, the surviving spouse or domestic partner is placed as the highest priority person. If there is not a spouse or domestic partner, then the deceased’s children would have the opportunity to file and pursue a claim. If the victim did not have a surviving spouse or any surviving children, then it is possible that a former spouse, stepchildren, or adult parents could pursue compensation. But, what happens when someone else in the family wants to pursue a claim and the immediate family isn’t on board? If there is a cousin or distant relative coming out of the woodwork and demanding to pursue a wrongful death claim when the family just wants to move forward, they wouldn’t be able to file the claim.  If the surviving spouse does not want to file for wrongful death in California, then there is no opportunity for a wrongful death claim. There are rare situations when children can pursue legal action if the spouse is chosen otherwise. Those incidences are few and far between, so you should not have extreme concerns about someone undermining your position.

Why Would a Family Pursue Wrongful Death Compensation?

Families typically will pursue wrongful death claims because of the outstanding debt they’re left with after the unexpected loss. If the victim needed medical attention, they may have left their family with tens of thousands in medical debt. Additionally, the family may not have been prepared to handle funeral expenses and the lost income that the victim had provided for years. Wrongful death claims do allow for some unexpected compensation requests such as loss of consortium. However, wrongful death claims do not include requests for things like punitive damages.

How to Get Started with an Orange County Wrongful Death Attorney

If you’re the air or the party that makes sense to initiate a wrongful death case then contact Crockett Law Group. Our Law Offices specialize in helping victims and their families recover after traumatic accidents. Losing someone as part of an accident or a wrongful death situation is not only an unexpected shock to the family, but often comes with a shocking impact on the household income. We believe in families pursuing justice for the accident or the intended wrongful action that resulted in this untimely death. While the criminal law system has its own function and processes for handling fatalities or fatal accidents,  we’re here to look out for the remaining victims. All too often families realize that the criminal law system only seeks to establish their version of fairness in the situation, and they rarely include families in that resolution. Crockett Law Group seeks to establish the needs of your family and pursue compensation.
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