The loss of a loved one due to the negligence of another person opens the door for you to file a wrongful death claim in court. You can secure damages and hold the other person accountable for the incident by filing a claim.
California Legislative Information explains you will need to meet the criteria to file a wrongful death claim.
Reason to file
To have a proper claim, you must show the other party caused your loved one’s death through wrongful or negligent actions.
Who can file
To file, you need to be a close relative. Generally, the person who has the first ability to file is the spouse. If there is no spouse, then the children can file. When a person has no children, the next in line are the parents and then the siblings. The rules generally follow the inheritance rules of the state.
Results of filing
If you file a wrongful death claim, you will have to go to court or reach a settlement outside of court. The other party generally will have to pay damages, which is a monetary amount. You can ask for any amount you wish, but you generally will need to prove why the court should award you the specific money you ask for.
You can often get money for lost earnings, especially if the loved one you lost was the main wage earner in your household. The court may also give you damages for loss of companionship and the pain and suffering the incident caused you.
Wrongful death cases allow you to personally hold the other party responsible. While many cases also have a criminal case, this type of case occurs in the civil system.