A sudden death of your loved one is shocking and upsetting. When the death results from someone else’s fault, it is normal to have questions about your legal options. For surviving family members a wrongful death lawsuit may be in order. It is impossible to replace a loved one whose death occurred due to another’s negligence.
Before you bring a suit, it is important to meet with a Long Beach wrongful death lawyer. Discuss your case and legal details, including specifics of filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Be aware, however, that only certain family members can do so.
Only Certain Parties Can Bring Forth Wrongful Death Actions in California
Each state sets its own laws regarding who can bring forth a wrongful death action. In California, only certain family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit. These parties include the decedent’s:
- Children; or
- Domestic partner.
If none of the above parties exist, there are special circumstances. Section 337.60 of California Code of Civil Procedure, allows for any person “who would be entitled to the property of the decedent by intestate succession” to bring forth a claim. In some cases, other parties may bring a claim. This includes stepchildren or parents of the deceased. The parties must prove they were dependent on the decedent.
You Must File a Suit within Two Years
There is a two-year statute of limitations on filing wrongful death lawsuits in California. This applies to all parties who may be eligible to file. If you wait longer than two years to bring forth your action, you will lose your right to the claim.
When a minor child faces injury, the child has until the age of 18 years old plus 2 years to either settle the claim or file a lawsuit for injuries. This is not true for wrongful death cases. A minor child who has standing in a wrongful death claim only has 2 years.
There is one exception to the two years. If the wrongful party is a government agency than the time frame is shorten to six months.
Are there specific types of compensation surviving family members can recover?
A person with standing to sue may recover damages from the responsible party, based upon:
● The value of the deceased’s contribution to the household, financially and otherwise;
● The losses that will result from anticipated financial support; and,
● Emotional losses, including loss of affection, moral support, and guidance.
Contact Us Today
If a family member has died to the wrongful acts of another and you believe you have the right to file a lawsuit based on the information above, contact The Beliz Law Firm for a free consultation. Our Long Beach wrongful death lawyers are available by phone 24 hours a day.