What Qualifies as a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

If your loved one dies dues to negligence, a wrongful death lawsuit is appropriate. The suit can provide much-needed financial security after your loss.

The wrongful death attorneys at Belgum, Fry & Van Allen are extremely experienced and can help you navigate your claim after your loved one’s untimely death. To receive a free case evaluation, click here.

What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit is a type of lawsuit filed after someone dies due to the negligent or intentional act(s) of another person and/or entity. These claims involve a variety of incidents ranging from car accidents to medical malpractice.

To demonstrate negligence, you must prove that the defendant(s) failed to take reasonable care to avoid the accident. For example, if your family member died after slipping on an unmarked puddle in a store aisle, the store owner might be liable for failing to maintain a safe place of business.

In some cases, you can prove intentional misconduct. For instance, if your family member is murdered, you file a wrongful deathful claim against the person who killed them. Your civil claim is separate from the criminal case.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

You can file a wrongful death lawsuit in California if you are the deceased person’s:

  • Spouse
  • Domestic partner
  • Child
  • Grandchild if the parent is deceased

If the deceased person was unmarried and childless, a wrongful death lawsuit may be brought forward by their parents. Siblings can file the claim if the parents are also deceased.

State law also allows certain family members to file a wrongful death lawsuit if they were financially dependent on the deceased. These family members include:

  • Stepchildren
  • Parents
  • Putative spouse (someone who believed they were married to the deceased but were not legally tied)
  • The putative spouse’s children

Damages In a Wrongful Death Case

A successful wrongful death lawsuit will result in the defendant paying financial damages. In California, these damages may include:

  • Medical bills
  • Funeral expenses
  • Loss of income
  • Loss of gifts
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of love and companionship
  • Loss of intimacy

A state statutory limit applies to medical malpractice damages, but there is no cap on the damages that you can receive from wrongful death suits that do not involve health care providers.

The exact amount of your wrongful death settlement will be contingent on a variety of factors, including your family member’s age and expected financial contribution if they had not died.

Your wrongful death attorney at Belgum, Fry & Van Allen can study your case and determine how to prove the defendant's legal fault after your loved one’s death.

How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim in California?

Unfortunately, you do not have an unlimited amount of time to file your suit. To meet the statute of limitations in California, you must file within two years of the death, or less than that in certain situations (including medical malpractice).

If you think your family died because of another party’s negligence or misconduct, don’t hesitate to call Belgum, Fry & Van Allen. We’re the top personal injury attorney in Los Angeles and the greater Southern California area.

To contact us or to learn more, click here.