When someone unexpectedly dies, it can leave a devastating toll on the surviving family members. If you have a relative who died due to negligence or a wrongful act, you might wonder if California law allows you to sue for wrongful death damages.
Fortunately, the California Code of Civil Procedure describes a variety of parties who may seek compensation in court.
Often, the parties able to litigate for wrongful death include the spouse or children of the deceased person since they had a direct legal relationship with the person who died. Domestic partners are also eligible for damages.
However, some people are putative spouses or children, meaning they do not have a legally established relationship with the decedent. Still, if a court finds these persons had a good faith relationship with the deceased, they may still seek compensation.
Parents and stepchildren
It is also possible for a parent or a stepchild to sue on the basis of wrongful death. However, they must have been financially dependent on the decedent or they might not be eligible. Additionally, legal guardians might also have a claim for compensation if there are no living parents.
Other dependent minors
Sometimes people take care of minor children who are not biological offspring or stepchildren. Still, state law establishes the right of minors who have resided with the decedent for no less than 180 days to sue for compensation due to loss of support and guidance.
The death of a person can create serious emotional and financial burdens for different kinds of people. The laws of California aim to help someone who has suffered loss find some measure of justice in the courts.