Under California’s wrongful death law, the family of someone killed by another’s negligent actions can seek compensation. These damages can include pre-death medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, lost income if the decedent was the family’s breadwinner, and the pain and suffering suffered by the surviving family. The statute of limitations is two years from the loved one’s death.
The grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit are clear. It must involve more than someone dying from another’s negligent or reckless actions. There must be clear evidence that the family of the decedent was impacted financially and emotionally by it. These losses must be in some way measurable.
Many wrongful death suits come about as a result of auto accidents, work-related incidents, medical errors and unlawful acts committed by criminals. As for those who file them, they can be spouses or adult children. In this state, even grandparents and other extended family members can file suit if they were financially dependent on the decedent. Before filing, the plaintiffs must open a probate estate so that they are acting on behalf of the decedent’s estate. If small children are among the surviving heirs, a guardian may need to be appointed.
Those who want to learn more about wrongful death law may want to meet with a lawyer who can evaluate the case, determine if it holds up under the state’s negligence laws, and then estimate how much they would be eligible for in damages. Plaintiffs may leave all settlement negotiations to their lawyer. If the amount offered is unacceptable, a trial might be the next step.