A sudden death of a loved one can be devastating, especially if you learn that the death in question was is due to someone else’s negligence. If you believe a loved one’s death is wrongful, you may pursue the liable party for the resulting economic and non-economic damages through a wrongful death claim.
Before pursuing the liable party, however, you need to be certain that the death in question was indeed wrongful.
So what counts as wrongful death in California?
Per California statute, death is deemed to be wrongful if it is caused by another person’s neglect or wrongful action. Just like personal injury cases, wrongful death claims are based on negligence and are litigated in civil courts.
Examples of actions that lead to wrongful death include:
- Fatal car accidents
- Death that results from medical malpractice
- Death that results from nursing home negligence
- Death that results from slip-and-fall accidents
- Death that results from workplace accidents
Suing for wrongful death
Before heading to court to pursue damages following a loved one’s wrongful death, you need to start off by finding out if California law allows you to file a claim in the first place. That said, you can file a wrongful death claim in California if you are among the following groups of people:
- The decedent’s surviving spouse or legal partner
- The decedent’s surviving children (biological and adopted)
- The decedent’s parents
- The personal representative of the decedent’s estate
If you lost someone you love due to another person or entity’s negligence or malice, you would feel understandably devastated. And while no amount of compensation can bring them back, filing a wrongful death claim can help you get some sense of closure on the matter and recover certain damages.