Under the California Code of Civil Procedure‘s Wrongful Death Statute, families can recover damages when a loved one’s death is caused by someone else’s wrongful act or negligence. Damages can include both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those that help compensate your family for its financial losses, from medical bills and funeral expenses to lost income. Non-economic damages are those that attempt to compensate your family for the loss of a loved one’s companionship, care, and love.
In California, punitive damages are not recoverable for wrongful death. As a result, wrongful death claims are frequently brought in conjunction with a “survival action.” A survival action allows a personal representative or family member to assume the decedent’s legal rights on behalf of their estate. In other worse, your loved one’s estate can recover the damages the decedent would have recovered if they had lived. A survival action can recover punitive damages or penalties but not damages for pain and suffering.
Can You Sue for Wrongful Death?
Under California law, the following family members can sue for wrongful death:
- Domestic partners
- Grandchildren if the deceased’s children are no longer living
- Others who were dependent on the deceased for financial support. This may include stepchildren and parents.
- Anyone else who would be entitled to the decedent’s property under California law or intestate succession.
Actions that may give rise to a wrongful death claim include negligence, gross negligence, recklessness, or intentional acts. This might include assault and battery, car accidents, child or elder abuse or neglect, drowning, murder or manslaughter, medical malpractice, dog attacks, or defective products.
Let Us Fight for Your Family
While no amount of money can ever truly compensate for the loss of someone you love, it is important to act quickly to secure your family’s financial future. Under California law, wrongful death actions must be brought within: (1) two years of the date of the injury or (2) six months after death. Our experienced professionals and skilled founding personal injury attorney can help. Schedule a consultation with The Ward Firm in Sacramento by calling us at 916-443-2474 or send us an email using our contact form.