Losing a loved one unexpectadly is a devastating tragedy that no family is prepared for. When somebody’s negligence or recklessness takes away a mother, father, or child, the emotional toll is high. California law recognizes this loss with statutes that allow families to sue the responsible parties for taking their family member away – it’s called an action for wrongful death. Nothing can bring back the person you loved, but compensation can help your family stay on track financially after a loss. Wrongful death cases can be complicated, so it’s important to choose an experienced and reputable California wrongful death attorney. At Silva Injury Law, we’re kind to our clients and tough on our opponents – that’s why we’re one of the top California wrongful death attorneys with offices in Merced, Turlock, Modesto, and Monterey.
What Is A California Wrongful Death Case?
A California wrongful death case is an action that is brought by the survivors of a victim that died as a result of a negligent, reckless, or intentional act. In some cases there might be criminal charges brought by the State of California against the person that committed the wrongful act, but it’s not necessary to prove that a person is guilty of a crime to sue them for causing a wrongful death.
Who Can Bring A Wrongful Death Lawsuit? In California, a wrongful death claim can be brought by the following parties:
- Surviving spouse;
- Surviving domestic partner;
- Surviving offspring;
If none of the above exist, a suit can be filed by any person that would be entitled to the property of the decedent based on intestate succession. This could include parents, siblings, or cousins, and would give preference to relatives that were living with the victim before he or she was killed. The following people may be able to bring a lawsuit if they can prove that they were financially dependent on the victim:
- Common law spouse and their offspring;
Elements of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit In order to prevail in a lawsuit for wrongful death, the following elements must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence:
1.A human being died;
2. The death was caused by the negligent, reckless, or intentional act of another person:
3. The survivors suffered financial losses due to the death.
What Damages Can Be Collected For A California Wrongful Death Case? These are some of the types of damages that are available to families in wrongful death cases:
- Funeral and burial costs;
- Medical care for the deceased person after the incident that eventually caused their death;
- Lost income, including the future lost income that would likely have been generated by the person if they lived an average length life;
- The value of the household services provided by the deceased person;
- The loss of financial support and inheritance;
- The loss of love, attention, community, affection, guidance, and moral support.
If your family member did not die immediately after the incident that caused their death, you may also have a claim for the pain, suffering, and mental anguish they suffered before they died.
What Are The Deadlines For Filing a Wrong Death Lawsuit In California?
The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit in California is two years from the date of death. There are some exceptions that might allow a family to file later, but a family can lose their right to file if they don’t file in time.
California Wrongful Death Attorney
Silva Injury Law understands how painful it is to lose a loved one, and offers warmth and support in your time of need. Knowing that your case is in good hands can help you have the confidence to mourn peacefully.