Losing a loved one is a devastating experience, and the pain is only amplified when their death is caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions. If you are in California, it’s essential to understand the state’s wrongful death laws and how they may affect you.
What is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death refers to a death caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another person or entity. The wrongful act could be due to a wide range of situations such as medical malpractice, car accidents, defective products, and workplace accidents, among others. Wrongful death claims seek compensation for the damages that the deceased’s family has suffered as a result of their loss.
California’s Wrongful Death Laws
Under California law, a wrongful death claim can be filed by the deceased’s surviving spouse, domestic partner, children, or other dependents. If none of these parties are available, then anyone who would be entitled to the deceased’s property under intestate succession laws can file the claim. Additionally, a personal representative of the deceased’s estate can also file the claim on behalf of the family.
The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim in California is two years from the date of the deceased’s death. It’s essential to file the claim within this timeframe; otherwise, you risk losing your right to compensation.
Damages Available in California’s Wrongful Death Claims
If you win a wrongful death lawsuit in California, you may receive various types of damages. These include:
- Economic Damages: This includes the value of financial support the deceased would have contributed to the family, the cost of the funeral and burial expenses, and the value of any benefits or gifts the family would have received from the deceased.
- Non-Economic Damages: These damages compensate for the family’s emotional pain and suffering, loss of companionship, guidance, and love, and any other intangible losses resulting from the death.
- Punitive Damages: These are intended to punish the defendant for their wrongful actions and to deter others from engaging in similar behavior.
It’s also crucial to note that California law allows for “survival actions,” which are separate from wrongful death claims. Survival actions can be filed by the deceased’s estate and seek compensation for the pain, suffering, and other damages that the deceased experienced between the time of the injury and their death. These damages could include medical expenses, lost income, and other damages that the deceased could have pursued if they had survived.
It’s also worth noting that California law follows the pure comparative negligence rule, which means that even if the deceased was partially responsible for their death, their family may still be able to recover damages. The amount of damages awarded will be reduced in proportion to the deceased’s level of fault.
Understanding California’s wrongful death laws is crucial if you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions. A wrongful death claim can help you recover compensation for the damages you have suffered, but it’s essential to act fast and seek the help of an experienced attorney. An attorney can guide you through the process, protect your legal rights, and work to secure the compensation you deserve.
At Timothy J. Ryan & Associates, we understand that losing a loved one due to someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions is a traumatic experience. Our compassionate attorneys are here to provide you with the legal support and guidance you need during this difficult time.
Our attorneys have decades of experience handling wrongful death cases in California and have helped many families obtain the compensation they deserve. We know how to navigate the legal system and fight for your legal rights to ensure that you receive fair compensation for your loss.
We also understand that every case is unique, and we tailor our approach to your specific needs and circumstances. We take the time to listen to your concerns and answer any questions you may have, so you feel informed and confident throughout the legal process.
If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. Our attorneys can assess your case and provide you with guidance on the best course of action to take. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you only pay us if we win your case.
At Timothy J. Ryan & Associates, we are committed to fighting for your legal rights and helping you receive fair compensation for your loss. Our experienced attorneys can guide you through the legal process, provide emotional support, and help you obtain the justice you deserve.