California’s personal injury statute allows anyone who has suffered injuries and/or economic losses due to another party’s negligence to pursue civil action against the party responsible for their damages. While wrongful death claims are very similar to personal injury claims, California upholds several statutes that are specific to these claims, outlining who has the right to file a wrongful death claim, the requirements for doing so, and the types of compensation that can potentially be secured from a successful wrongful death claim.
In California, the deceased’s surviving spouse or the deceased’s parent, child, or domestic partner may file a wrongful death claim. If a deceased person has no such kin, a claim is still possible. Anyone with a valid claim on the deceased’s estate, anyone who can prove their financial dependency on the deceased, or anyone entitled to the contents of the deceased’s estate through intestate succession may file a wrongful death claim instead.
Damages Available from a Wrongful Death Claim
Wrongful death claims can allow plaintiffs to secure many of the same types of damages as they could claim in personal injury lawsuits. However, California’s wrongful death statutes are a bit more flexible in terms of the types of compensation a plaintiff might secure. For example, plaintiffs in a wrongful death claim can secure compensation for their deceased loved one’s damages incurred between the time of their final injury and their death. This can include the deceased’s final medical expenses and other economic losses sustained during this time.
It is also possible for a wrongful death claim to secure compensation for damages inflicted on the deceased’s estate. For example, if the deceased held investments that could not fully mature due to their death, the wrongful death claimant could receive compensation for this and similar losses. Estate losses can also include funeral and burial expenses that must be paid out of the deceased’s estate.
In addition to these compensatory damages, the plaintiffs in a wrongful death claim may also receive compensation for their own pain and suffering. California state law acknowledges the loss of affection, care, companionship, and guidance as legitimate damages in wrongful death claims. The family can also receive compensation for the income the deceased would have provided them in the future had they survived.
Facing a sudden death in the family is tragic and challenging for anyone. Facing legal proceedings while still processing your emotions is incredibly difficult without the right legal representation. When you secure legal counsel from an experienced and compassionate Huntington Beach wrongful death lawyer, you are investing in peace of mind for your family.
At Easton & Easton, we strive to provide reliable and considerate legal counsel that addresses your family’s unique needs after a wrongful death. We believe in an individualized approach to every wrongful death claim our firm represents. Contact Easton & Easton today to schedule a consultation with a Huntington Beach wrongful death attorney who can clarify your legal options.