The death of a loved one may shatter the present and future of those left behind. While money cannot replace the person, it may help ease a family through difficult times.
A wrongful death action in California is an option if the cause of the injuries and death can trace back to an individual’s negligence.
Who can file a wrongful death claim?
Not everyone can file a wrongful death claim. Typically, the court allows only those who depended on the deceased for support. Surviving family members who lived in the same home take priority, such as spouses and children. Parents and siblings may file a claim if the deceased was single and did not have children.
What does the plaintiff need to prove?
A wrongful death suit follows the same general course as a personal injury claim. This means that the plaintiff, or surviving family members, must show that the defendant was negligent and caused the incident that led to their loved one’s death. Even if death did not occur immediately after the event, if the injuries trace back to the incident, then it qualifies.
What are the damages awarded?
Surviving family members who prevail in a wrongful death case may receive financial awards or damages. The possibilities include the following:
- Economic damages or loss of the money the deceased would have contributed if still alive
- Burial expenses
- Loss of consortium
- Emotional pain and suffering
A wrongful death case may prove difficult to get through, especially emotionally. The assistance of a professional familiar with the law can guide surviving family members through the process.